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Toasted Semolina Cake with Orange Blossom Syrup

The most tedious part of this simple dessert is placing a whole almond on the center of each diamond on the cake.

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    Serve with a dollop of rich plain yogurt, and garnish with pomegranate.

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    A whole almond is placed in the center of each diamond shape, scored onto the cake before baking.

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    You can use Orange Blossom Water or Rose Water for the syrup drizzled over this cake. Both are traditional, the choice is up to you.

This festive dessert can be found at the Palestinian table and throughout the Arab World. It goes by various names, including Revani, Hareesa, Nammoura and Basbousa (which means “just a kiss” in Arabic). The base is toasted semolina, a type of wheat, coarsely ground. You can easily make a gluten-free version by substituting coarse cornmeal for the semolina.

Toasted Semolina Cake with Orange Blossom Syrup

Yield: Serves 12


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
  • Optional: Rose or orange blossom water to taste
  • 2 Cups Semolina
  • 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 tablespoon tahini


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. For the preparation of syrup: boil water and sugar until slightly thickened and syrupy, add the lemon juice and let boil an additional two minutes. Cool. Add rose or orange water if desired.
  3. For the preparation of the cake, in a bowl mix the butter, semolina, coconut flour and sugar until well blended.
  4. In another bowl, mix yogurt and baking powder together and leave 10 minutes until yoghurt is double sized.
  5. Add the yogurt mixture and baking powder to the mixture of semolina and mix by hand again until homogeneous components.
  6. Brush the bottom and sides of a baking tray with tahini, spread out the dough mixture evenly and level the surface and then divide into portions by cutting into diamonds with a knife.
  7. Place almonds in the center of each diamond and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and pour the syrup. Place diamond portions onto a serving dish and top with a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of spices

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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