Photo (taken by yours truly) of Coconut Semolina Cake from my cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair.
This cake is one of my hubby’s favorites, and along with Knafeh bil Jiben (a Middle Eastern sweet cheese pastry), it is something he always seeks out to sample. The cake is made with semolina so it has a very unique, rustic texture. Similar to cornmeal, semolina absorbs a lot of moisture so the cake itself is very dry, and then a simple sugar syrup that’s scented with rose water and/or orange blossom water is poured onto the hot cake once it’s removed from the oven. It results in a sticky-sweet, moist, dense, and very rich cake.A couple years ago when Mike and I were in Damascus, we came across a pastry shop owner who was making a very unique version of this cake. His cake had a layer of cream baked inside the cake! (You can see his version here in this post…scroll down, it’s the second to last picture from the bottom.) The shop owner claimed to be the only one making it this way in Damascus, so of course he didn’t want to share his recipe or method, lol! While I don’t know if he was in fact the only one making it this way, I can speak to the fact that his version was delicious (the cream really rounds out the flavor well). And, I think I have a pretty good idea of how to make it with a layer of cream so I might do a little experimenting soon, wink, wink.
Called Harissa in Arabic, you might also hear this cake referred to as Basbousa or Namoura, depending on where you are or who you’re talking to.
This is the final recipe from A Mid-East Feast; the full recipe for my Coconut Semolina Cake can be found here on Brandy’s site. And check out the fabulous group of bloggers who are participating in this event (a huge thank-you to all of you!):
Rachel – Baked by Rachel
Megan – What Megan’s Making
Natasha – Five Star Foodie
Heather – Girlichef
Joanne – Eats Well With Others
Gina – Running to the Kitchen
Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Amanda – Fake Ginger
Brandy – Nutmeg Nanny
Be sure to head over to their blogs again next week because they are all giving away a copy of my cookbook!