This semolina cake recipe is inspired by the Arabic cuisine. There is a similar Greek cake, Revani, but I will stick to the name 'Basbousa' because that's how I tasted it first and found the recipe from our friends Felah and Geea. As simple as it is to make, this semolina cake is extraordinarily tender and good. Notice there is some sugar syrup but the cake is unexpectedly fresh. It won't let you stop eating and it's not too sweet at all.
Normally, it's made from Arabic semolina, which is finer than the Romanian one. I didn't have it at first and I made the cake with our semolina. Then I found Arabic semolina, but I still liked it better with the Romanian one, so you don't have to look for special ingredients.
If you don't have other flavours, use vanilla essence and lemon juice. It will be wonderful and tender. Notice that I put saffron, it's optional, but if you want to get as close as possible to the original recipe, you can put it in the syrup.
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In a saucepan, pour 2-3 glasses of water and 400g of sugar (or 2 glasses).
Mix well, place over heat and bring to the boil.
In the recipe, I used water filtered in a Brita jug from Kitchenshop.
When the syrup comes to the boil, stir to dissolve the sugar very well.
Add the juice from half a lemon.
Add 1 teaspoon of flower water (no more), if you have.
And a few saffron threads, if you have any.
Mix the syrup well again and turn off the heat. Let cool a bit.
Meanwhile, we prepare the cake.
In a larger bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar.
Continue to beat and gradually incorporate the oil.
Pour in the buttermilk, add vanilla and rose essence (if you have).
Then put all the dry ingredients - flour, semolina, coconut and baking powder.
Mix well with a whisk until the batter is smooth, without lumps.
Brush a deep oven tray with oil, here I have a glass dish - 20x30cm.
Pour batter into the pan and smooth out evenly.
Arrange the almonds at equal distance on top.
You can replace with cashews or walnuts.
Place the cake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 35-40 minutes, until well browned.
Remove from the oven and, while it's still hot, cut into even pieces.
Immediately pour the syrup over the hot cake.
Now allow it to soak and cool completely for 4-5 hours.
Although it's syrupy, it's also fluffy and slightly moist and it's quite fresh from the lemon juice.
And if you also used the flavors I told you about, it will be an authentic Basbousa :)
Anyway, it's delicious and I recommend it.
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