Basbousa is a famous middle-eastern Semolina Cake (Rava Cake) that is soaked in a lemony sugar syrup.

Basbousa Eggless Semolina Cake in Lemony Syrup from Egypt
Basbousa | Eggless Semolina Cake in Lemony Syrup from Egypt

I have been meaning to make this Eggless Basbousa for a while now. In fact, every since I made its cousin, the Turkish Revani, many year ago However, it got this month’s A to Z Challenge where we need to cook with an ingredient whose English name begins with S to get me out of my lethargy. I was to make another dish with Sesame but am so pressed for time that I settled in making this easy Semolina Cake.

The best way to describe Basbousa in Indian terms is as an eggless Rava Cake. What I like about this cake is that it is easy to make and needs no special techniques. It is something a beginner can try as well because essentially all we do is mix all ingredients together. In addition, all ingredients are easily found in Indian homes, so you can make this cake on a whim as well.

If you want to try some different type of bakes, do try my recipes for:

Basbousa | Eggless Rava Cake
Basbousa | Eggless Rava Cake

How to Make Basbousa: Eggless Middle-Eastern Semolina Cake Soaked in Lemony Sugar Syrup

Tips:

  • You can use melted ghee instead of butter. The result is just as good.
  • Whichever method you use to melt the butter, be careful not to overdo it. Just melt the butter till it is liquid.
  • Do not skimp on the syrup. Use the amount recommended as it gives the Basbousa its distinctive flavour and we need that much syrup to drench the whole cake.
  • The cake must be hot and the syrup at room temperature when you pour the syrup onto the cake. So make the syrup as the cake is baking and let the syrup cool.
  • The Basbousa can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days. However, if you want to keep it longer, do not use coconut to garnish and refrigerate the cake. Add the coconut garnish to the warmed cake just before serving.   
  1. The Prep
    1. Preheat the oven to 175 C.
    2. Lightly grease a 8″ baking dish with some butter.
  2. Method 1 – Melt the Butter Using a Double Boiler Method
    Caution
    : Just keep the vessel with the butter on the vessel with the water till the butter melts. If you leave the butter on heat for too long, it will start becoming ghee and your cake will have the aroma of ghee.
    1. Take two vessels, one to boil water and another which sits comfortably on the mouth of the first vessel.
    2. Fill the first vessel to 1/3 capacity with water.
    3. To the second vessel, add 1/3 cup butter and set aside.
    4. Over medium flame, bring the water in the first vessel to a boil.
    5. When the water starts boiling, turn off the heat.
    6. Place the vessel with the butter on top of the first vessel and stir the butter till it melts.
    7. Remove the vessel with the butter from the vessel with the boiling water and set aside. 
  3. Method 2 – Melt the Butter Using a Microwave
    1. Microwave the butter for a few seconds till it melts.
    2. Take out and set aside.
  4. Making the Basbousa Batter
    1. To a large enough mixing bowl, add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup yogurt, and mix well.
    2. Next, add 2 cups semolina (rava) and 1 tsp baking powder, and mix well.
    3. Add 1/3 cup milk and mix well.
    4. Now add the melted butter and mix well. You really need to mix well to ensure all the butter is well-incorporated. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes of dedicated stirring till you don’t see any butter on the surface.

    5. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes so that the semolina absorbs the liquid and softens.
  5. Baking the Basbousa
    1. Pour the cake batter into the greased 8″ cake pan.
    2. Bake at 175 C for about 35 to 40 minutes. I surface will turn a light golden brown. Stick a tooth pick or skewer to check whether the Basbousa has baked through. 
    3. Remove from the oven.
  6. Making the Sugar Syrup (Do this while the cake is baking)
    1. To a heavy bottomed vessel, add 1.5 cups water and 1.5 cups sugar.
    2. Over medium heat, bring the mix to a boil till the sugar melts.
    3. Take off the heat and add 1 tbsp lemon juice.
    4. Mix well and set aside to cool.
  7. The Final Steps
    1. Remove the cake from the oven but do not demould it.
    2. Pour the cooled sugar syrup over the hot cake. It is important that the cake is straight out of the oven and hot when you add the syrup so that the cake will absorb the syrup.

    3. Set the cake aside for about 30 to 45 minus so that it absorbs all the syrup.
    4. When the syrup is absorbed, remove the cake from the mould.
    5. Garnish with 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut, 2 tsp slivered pistachios, and 2 tsp slivered almonds.
  8. Enjoy a slice of Basbousa with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
  9. Store in an air-tight tin. This cake stays fresh for a couple of days. If you intend to keep it longer, refrigerate the cake and then warm it just before serving. If you intend to do this, do not garnish in advance because the coconut will turn rancid.  

Recipe for Basbousa

Basbousa: The Traditional Middle-Eastern Semolina Cake (Eggless Rava Cake)

Aruna
Many countries in the middle-east have their own version of a Semolina Cake and this is the recipe for Basbousa, an eggless Semolina Cake from Egypt. What makes this cake special is that it is soaked in a lemony sugar syrup that makes this cake very moist and a delight.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Time for the Syrup to Soak 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 338 kcal
Equipment
  • Oven
  • Mixing Bowl (1.5 ltr capacity)
  • Bowl to melt butter (0.5 litre capacity)
  • Heavy-bottomed Vessel (1 litre capacity)
  • Spatula
  • 8 or 9" Baking Tin
Ingredients
  
For the Cake
  • 2 Cups Semolina or Rava
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/3 cup Unsalted Butter (You can use ghee as well)
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
For Syrup
  • 1.5 Cups Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups Water
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
For Garnish
  • 2 tbsp Grated Coconut
  • 2 tsp Slivered Almonds
  • 2 tsp Slivered Pistachios
Instructions
 
The Prep
  • Preheat the oven to 175 C.
  • Lightly grease a 8″ or 9″ baking dish with some butter.
Melt the Butter: Method 1 – Using a Double Boiler Method
  • Take two vessels, one to boil water and another which sits comfortably on the mouth of the first vessel.
  • To the second vessel, add 1/3 cup butter and set aside.
  • Fill the first vessel to 1/3 capacity with water.
  • Over medium flame, bring the water in the first vessel to a boil.
  • When the water starts boiling, turn off the heat.
  • Place the vessel with the butter on top of the first vessel and stir the butter till it melts.
  • Remove the vessel with the butter from the vessel with the boiling water and set aside.
Melt the Butter: Method 2 – Using a Microwave
  • Microwave the butter for a few seconds till it melts.
  • Take out and set aside.
Making the Basbousa Batter
  • To a large enough mixing bowl, add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup yogurt, and mix well.
  • To the yigurt-sugar mix, add 2 cups semolina (rava), 1/3 cup milk, 1 tsp baking powder, and mix well.
  • Add the melted butter and mix well till the butter is well-incorporated and you don’t see any butter floating on the surface.
  • Let the batter rest for 15 minutes so that the semolina absorbs the liquid and softens.
Baking the Basbousa
  • Pour the cake batter into the greased 8″ cake pan.
  • Bake at 175 C for about 35 to 40 minutes. The surface will turn a light golden brown. Stick a tooth pick or skewer to check whether the Basbousa has baked through.
  • Remove from the oven.
Making the Sugar Syrup (Do this while the cake is baking)
  • To a heavy bottomed vessel, add 1.5 cups water and 1.5 cups sugar.
  • Over medium heat, bring the mix to a boil till the sugar melts.
  • Take off the heat and add 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • Mix well and set aside to cool.
The Final Steps
  • Remove the cake from the oven but do not demould it.
  • Pour the cooled sugar syrup over the hot cake. It is important that the cake is straight out of the oven and hot when you add the syrup so that the cake will absorb the syrup.
  • Set the cake aside to absorb all the syrup.
  • When the syrup is absorbed, remove it from pan.
  • Garnish with 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut, 2 tsp slivered pistachios, and 2 tsp slivered almonds.
  • Enjoy a slice of Basbousa with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
  • Store in an air-tight tin.
Notes
  • This cake stays fresh for a couple of days.
  • If you intend to keep it longer, refrigerate the cake and then warm it just before serving.
  • If you intend to refrigerate the cake, do not garnish in advance because the coconut will turn rancid. Garnish just before serving. 
Nutrition Facts
Basbousa: The Traditional Middle-Eastern Semolina Cake (Eggless Rava Cake)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 338 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 51mg2%
Potassium 110mg3%
Carbohydrates 64g21%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 43g48%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 189IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Armenian Nutmeg Cake, Basbousa, Eggless Basbousa, Eggless Cake, Eggless Rava Cake, Rava Cake, Revani, Semolina Cake
Tried this recipe?Do let me know how you liked it @aahaaram or tag #aahaaram!

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