Lebanese Semolina Cake

Also known as Basboussa and Namoura, there are many versions of this Middle–Eastern cake, and they are all different. This one is light, citrusy and delicious — and gluten-free.

For the cake:

4 eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
85ml orange juice
55g coarsely ground almonds
85g semolina (fine cornmeal)

For the syrup

Juice of one orange
114g granulated sugar
140ml water
1 teasp lemon juice

To decorate:

Toasted flaked almonds
Sifted icing sugar


Preheat oven to 180C
Grease and line an oblong cake tin 10”x7”
Beat egg yolks with the sugar and orange zest until pale yellow
Mix in the orange juice, semolina and almonds
Cover and leave for 30 minutes
Whisk the egg whites until just stiff and fold into the cake mixture
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes
Meanwhile, make the syrup:
Pare the orange zest
Juice the orange and make up to 140ml with water
Put zest, sugar, water and lemon and orange juices into a pan and heat gently
Simmer for five minutes
Pour the still warm syrup over the warm cake and allow to cool in the tin before cutting
Cut into eight squares and decorate with flaked almonds and a dusting of icing sugar