Coconut Semolina Cake {A Mid-East Feast}

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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!

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  1. says

    I’m always looking for better ways of using cornmeal…and this one certainly has success written all over it. I also like Brandy’s idea of using orange blossom ;o)
    Great baking ingredients make for a lovely cake formula. Well done Faith.

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  2. says

    This looks and sounds SO delicious, Faith!! I’m so glad to be back reading your blog again. I’ve been very sick for over 6 weeks and it’s been a dickens of a time. :-) I love that you have so many people supporting your book!! XO

    • says

      Oh, Krista, I hope you’re feeling better soon, my sweet friend! Thank you so much for your kind words; as always, you brought a huge smile to my face. xo

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