45 min.
Basbousa is a classic cake that pairs well with practically any kind of iftar menu. The combination of the buttery, nutty semolina cake and the thick cream filling makes for a delightful dessert that appeals to dessert lovers of all ages. With our recipe for basbousa, preparing the tender cake served with nuts and rose water syrup is simple.


4 portions

Semolina mixture:

Cream mixture:

Simple syrup:



  • Semolina mixture:

  • Cream mixture:

  • Simple syrup:

  • Assemble the dish:


Decorative cakes baked in tins and pans with patterns can sometimes be difficult to unmould. To make this process easy and ensure you get a beautiful Basbousa with cream that has an even and nice surface for both cream and semolina cake, grease the baking mould with butter, cooking spray, shortening, or coconut oil. Use your hands to make sure every nook and cranny has been properly greased. If you make sure to get everything well-greased, the baked Basbousa will slide right out when you turn it upside-down.

Questions about basbousa

With our quick and easy basbousa recipe with coconut and cream, making a delightful dessert to serve friends and family for iftar is simple. To learn more about the classic Ramadan dessert, keep reading below.
What is basbousa?

Sometimes also known as harissa dessert, this Arabian classic is a popular semolina cake with a soft cream filling. The sweet and buttery cake is usually made with shredded coconut, almonds, and cream and drizzled with sugar syrup flavoured with aromatic ingredients like rose water or orange blossom water. Enjoyed at weddings, iftar parties, and Eid celebrations alike, this sweet cake is soft and moist and has a wonderfully creamy filling as well as crunchy toppings.

How to make basbousa?

A homemade basbousa with cream, coconut, and rose water syrup is a wonderful addition to any dessert selection. To make it, start by preparing the semolina batter with coconut, then the cream filling. Then layer the two mixtures in a greased baking tin – first semolina batter, then cream filling, and then a final layer of batter. As you bake the cake, make the homemade sugar syrup, and prepare the crunchy toppings. Drizzle the warm cake with rose water syrup and sprinkle it with chestnuts, shredded coconut, slices of almonds, and ground pistachios. Serve it either warm, cold, or at room temperature with a hot beverage.

What does basbousa taste like?

A basbousa recipe with yogurt, semolina, and coconut allows you to make a deliciously soft cake that has a sweet and buttery flavour profile with nutty undertones. Drizzled with a sugar syrup made with aromatic rose water and zesty lemon juice, it becomes even moister with a fragrant, floral quality. With its crunchy toppings – almond, pistachio, and chestnut – it is a well-rounded cake with many different tastes and textures.

How to store basbousa?

To allow the semolina cake to retain its moisture, store it in an airtight container. After it has cooled, transfer it to the container and place it somewhere dark and cool, and enjoy the rest of the dessert within 2 days. You can also refrigerate it; in that case, it will last up to 5 days, but make sure to let it soften and acclimate before serving it.

Other recipes you will love

Arabian basbousa with cream filling

Basbousa is an incredibly soft and moist cake. Made with semolina and shredded coconut, it has a sweet, nutty, and almost buttery flavour with a little bit of texture to contrast the silky filling. The soft semolina cake, creamy filling, and crunchy toppings come together to create an interesting and decadent pistachio basbousa dessert with plenty of different textures, and a generous shower of sugar syrup ensures its moist and tender texture.

Classic flavours from semolina, coconut, and yogurt

Prepared with the lovely ingredients of a traditional basbousa recipe, this semolina cake is delectable. The yogurt helps ensure a tender crumb and serves to introduce a bit of acidity and freshness to prevent it from becoming overly sweet. The yogurt also allows for the nutty flavours of the semolina and shredded coconut to shine through and create the cake's signature buttery taste that goes perfectly with the cream filling.

Serve an easy basbousa dessert for guests

A cream basbousa with yogurt topped with coconut, almonds, and pistachios makes for a wonderfully sweet dessert. Enjoy it with tea or coffee to round off your evening meal. This coconut basbousa with cream makes for a lovely gift to bring to any iftar party you may be invited to. Simply place it on a platter, wrap it in cellophane once it has cooled, and adorn it with ribbon or a bow to turn it into a decorative and tasty hostess gift.

Are you looking for other creamy iftar desserts? We suggest having a look at our recipes for balah al sham, caramel vermicelli, and fruit salad with whipped cream as well. Made with a natural-flavoured thick cream, all these different desserts are delectably creamy and tasty.

Add your own touch

The sweet, nutty semolina flavour of this cream-filled basbousa may be brightened by the addition of orange flower water. Orange flower water has a unique bitterness and delicate citrussy flavour that may be used to lighten the flavours of the cream filling or added to the homemade syrup as its lightly floral notes also pair well with those of the rose water syrup.

If you would instead like to play up the basbousa semolina cake’s sweetness by introducing more fruity flavours, a layer of homemade date spread between the cream and pastry will be a tasty addition. The dates' chewy texture and almost caramelised taste are sure to bring something wonderful to this classic iftar dessert.

Tasty. Yummy. Good!

Breakfast inspiration

Easy breakfast recipes to make mornings good.
Read more