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Semolina Coconut & Lemon Syrup Cake

Vegan Semolina Cake with Lemon Syrup (Basbousa)

  • Author: Maša Ofei
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cool Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Makes 20 slices


This vegan semolina cake is moist, lemony and syrupy, just the way it should be! It’s dense and not too sweet making it easy to keep on eating.


Lemon sugar syrup:

  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Semolina cake:

  • 2 cups fine semolina
  • ½ cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup plant milk (I used organic soy milk)
  • 1 cup plain coconut yoghurt
  • 20 half walnut pieces


  1. To make the syrup: Add the sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, and 1½ cups / 375ml water to a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, giving the pan an occasional stir making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Take off heat and set it aside to cool.
  4. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius (375 degrees Fahrenheit). Line a 24cm x 24cm (9.45 inch x 9.45 inch) baking pan with parchment paper. Or a dish that is similar in size. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, add in the semolina and butter. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until you get a crumb-like consistency.
  6. Add the baking powder, bicarb soda, sugar, coconut, and lemon zest mixing well until combined.
  7. Now stir in the lemon juice, milk, and coconut yoghurt. It will make a nice light consistency.
  8. Transfer the batter to the baking pan and spread it out evenly. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Score the batter into 1-inch (2½ cm) squares with a sharp knife. Every few cuts, dip the knife in hot water and dry it off before continuing to score the batter. It should make around 20 squares if you’re using the same size dish as me.
  10. Place 1 walnut in the centre of each square and press down slightly.
  11. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Check by sticking a skewer or knife in the centre. It should come out clean. If it’s still wet, bake a little longer.
  12. Once it’s out of the oven, cut the cake along the lines you scored. Slowly pour the cooled syrup onto the hot cake.
  13. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 2 hours to cool and absorb the syrup before serving.
  • Diet: Vegan

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