The sweet smell of basboosa reminds me of coming home from school in Syria, where my mother would be waiting with this delicious cake.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (65 votes)

It takes me back to happy days in my country, sharing it with neighbours, friends and cousins.  We laughed and enjoyed the good times, with no idea that one day we would be scattered across the world, praying to see one another again. I bake this cake now to take me back there.



  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • ½ cup corn or vegetable oil 
  • ½ cup full cream milk
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 cup caster sugar 
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest 


  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rosewater


  • 20-40 pistachios, shells removed
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease or line a baking tray with deep sides. 

2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, oil and milk. 

3. Mix the flour and baking powder together and pour through a sieve into the bowl with the wet mixture. Add the sugar, desiccated coconut, semolina and finally the lemon zest and mix until well combined. 

4. Put the mixture into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

5. While the cake is baking, mix together the syrup ingredients over a medium to high heat until boiling. Put aside to cool and thicken. 

6. Remove the cake when ready and spread the syrup on top. Use as much as is to your taste. 

7. Scatter the pistachios and remaining desiccated coconut on top and serve. 


To find out more and purchase a copy of Share a Meal, Share a Story: Celebrating Refugee Stories head to the Refugee Council of Australia website here.

World Refugee Week is June 14-20, 2020. Share a Meal, Share a Story is a community fundraising initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia. We are encouraging people to get together, share a delicious meal and share stories that help build empathy and understanding of refugee experiences. In light of COVID-19, you can host your event either in-person or online. You could host a Zoom where you share a story from our website and each eat a meal in your own homes!