Thursday, 30 December 2010

Basboussa بسبوسة (Moist Semolina Cake)

I can still remember the first time I made Basboussa as it was my first cake at the age of 8. At that time I used my mum's recipe and I, like everyone in the family called it 'Gateau de Semoule' meaning semolina cake in French. My recipe's name evolved to Basboussa at the same time it evolved with the use of yoghurt and coconut thanks to my Lebanese friends here in Aberdeen. One of my colleagues in work likes it very much and calls it the 'Halal Rhum Baba ' because it has a similar texture without the addition of Alcohol.
I searched for the origin of the word Basboussa itself without success, so let me know if you happen to know about it. What I know is that it is known under different names (Hareessa, Mamounia, Kalb elouz and Revani) in the Arab world, Turkey and Greece.
There are so many versions of Basboussa, there is a least one per family. Some prefer it light and refreshing with yoghurt and light syrup and others prefer it loaded with ghee (clarified butter) honey and nuts. I even tried it recently with a creamy filling.
I enjoy a bite from the heavy ones but I prefer the lighter version which I am giving you today

Ingredients: makes 40 pieces

4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 cups fine semolina
1 tbsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon


2 mugs caster sugar
2 mugs water
1 lemon

  1. In a pan dissolve the sugar in the water to make the syrup. Boil on medium heat for 8mn. Then add the juice and rind of the lemon.
2.      Mix eggs, sugar, yoghurt, oil, lemon zest and coconut. Whisk the mixture for 1mn, and then add semolina and baking powder. Leave to rest for 15mn.
3.      Empty mixture into a rectangular deep baking tray and bake for about 25mn in a preheated oven (180°C) until you get a golden colour.
4.       As soon as you get the cake out of the oven, pour syrup over the cake (discard the lemon rinds) keep pouring gradually until you feel the cake stopped absorbing the syrup. Dust with desiccated coconut.


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