What Is Basbousa And What Does It Taste Like?

If you ever find yourself bored of the same old cake recipes you always make, why not take a chance and try something new? Take basbousa, for instance. This sweet cake is a traditional treat of Ramadan, the holiest month for those of the Muslim faith (via Vox). It is traditionally made from semolina, giving it a slightly more coarse texture than your typical sponge cake, and then soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with lemon or orange blossom water to lend it extra sweetness, according to Memo. The result is a tender, crumbly cake with delicate sweetness, perfect for serving to guests or enjoying with family after the daily fast has ended.

Some variations of basbousa include dried coconut or nuts for even more texture, or a layer of cream in the center of the cake for added richness. If this sounds like the dessert for you, you're in luck. CBC says that Basbousa can be made all in one bowl (plus a pot for simmering the syrup), and can even be tweaked to be vegan-friendly!

How to make basbousa at home

Basbousa is a perfect last-minute dessert, and it's simple enough to make with kids. All you have to do is combine the cake ingredients in a bowl (no sifting required!), pour it into a greased baking sheet and bake it, turning the oven on broil for the last few minutes to give the top a lovely golden color (via Tasting Table). 

As the cake bakes, combine the sugar syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil over high heat. There's no need for candy thermometers, just let the mixture bubble until everything is dissolved, then turn the heat down and keep the syrup warm until the cake is finished baking. Pour the syrup over the cake, let it cool, slice into squares, top with a blanched almond or some more unsweetened coconut, and serve!

The whole recipe takes about five minutes of prep time and 30 to 35 minutes of cook time, making this one of the quickest and easiest cake recipes you'll ever make. Plus, as delicious and indulgent as the resulting basbousa is, it's light enough that a slice or two won't weigh you down, making it the ideal treat for iftar (via Arab News).