Who’s feeling festive today? Now, don’t let the beauty of this popular classic Middle Eastern cake fool you. It’s actually super easy to make. What if I told you it’s a one bowl “dump” cake kinda recipe?
You know that’s my favorite type of recipe. You basically pour all the ingredients (both dry and wet) into a bowl and stir with a spoon, pour into baking dish and that’s basically it.
I’ve made cake at least a 100 times over the years and to be quite honest there’s no perfect way of making it. This cake is very popular all over the Middle East and every country makes it slightly different. For example, In Syria and Palestine they make the recipe with yogurt and coconut while in Egypt it’s called Haressa and only water is used. Some other places around the Mid-East also add eggs to make it more of a cake rather than bars.
I make it I make a few changes and try different this but this is my favorite way of making it. I use yogurt or sour cream because it give the cake a creamy flavor that’s irresistible.
Basbousa Aka Harissa (Coconut Yogurt Semolina Cake)
- 2 cups coarse semolina
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup butter melted (aka 1 stick)
- 1 ⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup plain yogurt or Sour Cream
- 1 ⁄3 cup whole Roasted or blanched almonds to garnish or 1/3 pistachios or cashews
- For The Syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon rosewater not rose extract, OPTIONAL
- 1 teaspoons lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 9x9 or 8x8 square pan or a 9'' round pie dish with butter or olive oil and set aside.
Mix the semolina, coconut, sugar, baking soda, and the butter in a large bowl. Use your hands to incorporate the butter with the other ingredients until mixed well. Add the yogurt and continue mixing with your hands until fully combined.The mixture should be fairly thick and easy to press with hands (not thin like cake or brownie batter)
press the mix down onto square baking dish or round pie pan.The cake mix should be about 1 inch thick.Cut a diamond or square design in the cake with a butter knife. Place an almond or any other type of nut you have on hand onto each pre-cut square.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 min to 40 mins until it's a bronze brown color. If no color forms on the top turn on broiler for 1-2 minutes until the top is golden/bronze. Cut the Cake again along the pre-cut lines and pour cold syrup on top while its hot so it can absorb all through.
FOR THE SYRUP:
While the cake is baking, Mix all the ingredients for the syrup and place in saucepan on high until it boils. Boil for 10 minutes or until the syrup coats the back of a spoon.