Semolina Cake with Date filling – Basbousa bil Tamr

Basbousa is a traditional Arab semolina cake popular in the Middle East. There are many different ways to prepare basbousa according to region and country; this Libyan version includes coconut in the cake mixture and date-paste sandwiched between two layers of semolina. It’s an easily made dessert, and is perfect served with Kahwa (Arabic Coffee)



What you need:

  • 2 cups semolina
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup sugar (you can reduce the amount to 1/2 cup if you want it less sweet)
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 T spoon baking powder
  • 1 T spoon cinnamon
  • 500g date-paste cut into thin slices



  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Water
  • ¼ tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Rose water


Here’s how:

Prepare the syrup, by adding all the ingredients together, bring to boil, cook on low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

  1. Mix all the liquid ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients.
  2. Spread half the batter into a buttered baking pan.
  3. Arrange date paste slices on top carefully, then add the remaining basbousa mix and spread.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven, 200°C degrees until golden in colour.
  5. Pour the syrup on top of the hot basbousa then bake for another 5 minutes.

Cool completely before serving.

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