Semolina flour gives this cake an exotic taste. Soaking the cake in orange-honey syrup satisfies the sweet tooth and thinly sliced almonds pleases the eye. We served slices with sparkling water mixed with the remaining orange-honey syrup.
This sumptuous cake was a fitting dessert for a Middle East dinner we prepared in our home in the Alaska bush.
Middle Eastern Basbousa
For the Syrup:
2 cups plus 3 tbsp white sugar
1½ cups water
2 tbsp orange juice (or lemon juice)
1 tsp honey
For the Cake:
2 cups semolina
1 cup white sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
2 medium eggs
Preparing the syrup:
- In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and water. Add the orange juice and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Add the honey and reduce the heat.
- Keep heating for 8-10 minutes until the mixture thickens and has a syrup-like consistency. Set aside to cool.
Preparing the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture into the butter and egg mixture. Stir the milk and mix thoroughly until you get an even batter.
- Pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top of the mixture.
- Using a butter knife, section the batter into small squares or diamonds.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle the syrup on top of the cake. Let cool for 20 minutes and serve.
Recipe adapted from amideastfeast.com.