How to Make Basboosa Cake Batter

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 31,441
    Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to make Basboosa cake batter.

    Amy Riolo: Hi! I am Amy Riolo. Today, we are making Egyptian recipes. Now I am going to show you how to make Semolina Cake with Honey Syrup. To make the cake better itself, what we are going to do is start by adding our dry ingredients. The first dry ingredient is a cup and a half of semolina. Semolina is a flour product, it is made from wheat, but it's different from regular wheat because it's taken from a different part of the wheat berry. Now these are the actual wheat berries. As you look at them, you can see what they look like. Semolina comes from the third layer inside of the wheat berry. What they do to make it is they strip away the bran into the germ layers on the wheat and then they get to that third layer which is the semolina. That's why it has the yellow color.

    The next layer inward is the layer that we use to make white all purpose flour. So it is definitely a wheat product and you can find it in health stores, and in organic markets, and also in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean markets.

    Now I am going to add a cup of unbleached all purpose flour, this is just regular flour that you get at the store. I am going to add a teaspoon of baking powder and we will add in our sugar. We will just stir the dry ingredients all together.

    Basboosa is the name of this dessert in Egypt and it's very popular. If you have ever watched any of the great old 1950s movies from Egypt that are still in black and white, they are very, very popular. They will have actual Basboosa merchants setup outside of the movie theaters. If people would go into watch a movie, they would stop and pick up some Basboosa. So it's kind of like popcorn and candy type of a thing in old time Egypt. Nowadays, people use a lot of mixes to make it, very few people still make it from scratch, but it's super simple to make from scratch. I really like it because it's a traditional recipe. It's very hard even to find bakeries making it from scratch anymore. So you will see this is a very homey version, this is a great tasting, different option for you. Some people put vanilla and coconut in the Basboosa. If you would like to do that, you can go right ahead and do it, but in this recipe, we are not. Now I am going to add clean full fat yogurt. This gives us a lot of richness and really moisture into this cake. So it's going to taste wonderful. I am just going to stir it around.

    They have a saying when they used to sell the Basboosa, which is Come and taste the Basboosa, it's sweeter than a brides kiss. Because the word for bride in Arabic is Arousa. So Basboosa and Arousa rhyme and that's how they used to sell so much of it. It is very, very sweet and it's a quick dessert to make.

    Now I am going to add our butter. This is just room temperature butter, unsalted. It's of a cup, so that's about a regular stick and a half. I am going to stir that right in. You can also do this with a KitchenAid, if you would like, or a food processor, but it's so simple and it doesn't take very long at all. So I am just going to do it this way.

    Now in Alexandria, Egypt they called Basboosa, Harissa. So sometimes, it goes by a different name and that's a good thing to know, if you are going into different bakeries and ordering it. It's the quintessential Egyptian dessert and its often served with black tea, that has been made with loose leaf tea and sweetened with sugar, either 1, 2 or 3 teaspoons of sugar.

    So now that everything is getting incorporated, I am just going to continue to stir it in. So now that we have our bater all mixed together, we are going to go ahead and spread it into our pan. This is a very low cake, it doesn't really rise very much. It just gives us enough of base to absorb our syrup and so it becomes very moist and wonderful when you eat it. I am just going to use my spatula to spread it along the bottom of the pan and you just want to cover. Now I am going to take our blenched almonds, I am just going to space these apart. What I am doing is pressing these into the batter and these are going to be a guideline for where our squares are going to be when we cut them. You can do larger or smaller squares depending upon your personal taste. So now we have placed all of our almonds on the Basboosa. I have my oven preheated to 350 degrees. We are going to place our Basboosa in the oven and bake it for 30-40 minutes or until it's nice and golden brown on top. As soon as it's golden, we will remove it from the oven. In the next clip, we will show you how to cut it and pour our honey syrup over the top.