December 26, 2021   Read time 1 min
Egyptian desserts often consist of a cake or pastry and syrup (looking at you, baklawa and kunafa), and basbousa is the same idea; in this dish, the addition of yogurt mellows out the sweetness, yielding a cake that’s super-satisfying but still light enough that you’ll have room for seconds.


  • Cake
  • 125 grams (½ cup plus 1 tablespoon) melted ghee, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 250 grams (about 1½ cups) semolina flour
  • 198 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250 grams (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) plain whole-milk yogurt, plus more for serving
  • Whole roasted almonds, for decorating (optional)
  • Syrup

  • 198 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 227 grams (1 cup) water
  • 21 grams (1½ tablespoons) lemon juice (from about ½ a lemon)


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a 7x11-inch baking dish (or an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan) with some of the extra melted ghee.
  2. Combine the semolina, sugar, baking powder, yogurt, and ghee in a bowl and mix with a spoon or your hands until combined into a wet cookie-dough-like texture.
  3. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish, flattening it out into an even height with a flexible spatula if need be. Cut into about 18 squares or diamonds. (You can cut more or fewer to your desired size; this won’t affect the baking.) If using almonds, lightly press one into the center of each square.
  4. If using a 7x11-inch pan, bake for 35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. (If you're using an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, the baking time will increase. Continue baking until golden brown.)
  5. When the cake has 15 minutes left to bake, make the syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, add the lemon juice, stir, and turn off the heat.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the hot syrup evenly over the surface. Using a knife, cut the shapes again if they need a touch up. Cover with foil and set aside so the cake can absorb the syrup and cool completely, at least 25 minutes or up to overnight.
  7. Serve the cake plain, or with an additional dollop of yogurt.

Write your comment