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Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake

Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake aka Basbousa

This Middle Eastern inspired honey & walnut yogurt semolina cake is dense but deliciously nutty. It’s soaked in a sweet citrus and rose honey syrup and is even nicer when served with a good dollop of clotted cream. The cake’s not only flavoursome, but very simple to make.

Honey Yogurt

Before Christmas, I was sent vouchers to buy some Greek Gods yogurt to try. However, it was a few weeks before I was able to get to a store that sells them. As it turned out, this was no bad thing. I had masses of Christmas baking to do.

Greek Gods yogurt is all about the honey. There is something about thick creamy yogurt and honey which speaks to me of the Middle East. It’s a thick Greek style yogurt and is quite delicious as a dessert in its own right. There’s no mistaking the honey flavour which comes through quite strongly. I find this very pleasant. The yogurt is a little too sweet for me to eat on my morning muesli; I prefer plain yogurt for this purpose. On reading the ingredients I noticed there is added sugar as well as honey. Does it really need both? Served with fruit or with puddings instead of cream, however, it would work splendidly. The texture is quite firm, almost solid but smooth and creamy too. It reminded me of the yogurts I used to eat in Switzerland, which were quite different to those then found in the UK.

The Greek Gods range is available at Sainsbury’s stores nationwide and retails at £1.99 for a 450g pot and 99p for a 175g one.

I chose a 450g pot of their honey yogurt, a 175g pot of honey and vanilla and a 175g pot of honey and walnut.  Any of these yogurts, including the honey and clementine which I didn’t buy, would work well I thought in a yogurt semolina cake recipe. However, it was the honey and walnut version that particularly grabbed my attention and it whispered seductively: basbousa.


When I lived in Egypt many years ago, one of my favourite sweet treats was basbousa. This is a syrupy cake made with semolina and honey. In the sweet shop I particularly favoured, it was served with something that was suspiciously like clotted cream. My Arabic was never good enough to find out exactly what it was, but that’s my bet and I do know something about clotted cream.

Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake aka Basbousa

I’ve tried on a number of occasions to recreate the wonder that was basbousa, but I’ve never managed it. This could of course be false memory syndrome and nostalgia getting in the way. Whatever the reason, I now have a particular fondness for yogurt semolina cakes. I made one recently as part of a 60th birthday celebration and it proved to be popular. If you’re interested, here’s a more authentic version of basbousa.

Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake

Traditionally, basbousa is made without eggs and is quite a dense cake. So I thought I’d do things slightly different and try to make a lighter textured version. That meant I included eggs and a little flour. I also decided to use white chocolate, which I’ve found works really well in cakes. Because of this, I reduced the amount of butter and sugar accordingly. Nuts are generally used for decoration and are not included in the actual bake. But inspired by the Greek Gods honey and walnut yogurt, I thought walnuts would marry well with the flavours of honey, lemon and rose.

Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake - aka Basbousa

And I was right, the walnut yogurt worked brilliantly in this semolina cake. The result was a substantial yet light cake which was moist with a slightly chewy texture. Not surprisingly  it tasted of honey and walnuts. Any self respecting Greek god would be delighted to tuck into this on Mount Olympus. We had to make do with Bodmin Moor, but there are compensations; we ate our honey & walnut yogurt semolina cake with clotted cream. Proper Job.

This is my tribute to Egyptian basbousa.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this honey & walnut yogurt semolina cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

If you’d like further inspiration from my Flavours of the Middle East series, I have quite a few recipes to browse through.

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Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake – The Recipe

Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake aka Basbousa
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Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake

A dense but delicious nutty cake made with semolina and yogurt which is then soaked in a sweet citrus and rose honey syrup. It is very simple to make.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: basbousa, cake, honey, rose, semolina, yoghurt
Servings: 12 slices


  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g white chocolate
  • 200 g semolina
  • 50 g wholemeal flour
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175 g Greek yogurt (walnut & honey flavour)
  • 120 g 120g caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • juice and grated rind lemon
  • 1 tbsp rose water


  • Melt the butter and white chocolate in a pan over low heat.
  • Grind the walnuts roughly (I used a coffee grinder).
  • Sift the semolina, flour and bicarb into a bowl then stir in the walnuts.
  • Make a well in the middle and break in the eggs. Stir from the centre a little. Add the yogurt and stir a little further towards the edges. Add the butter and stir until all incorporated.
  • Grate in the lemon zest and stir once more.
  • Turn into a greased or lined 8" sq, cake pan and bake at 180C for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile dissolve the sugar in the water in a pan over a low heat. Then add the honey and lemon juice and simmer for about 10 minutes when the syrup should have thickened and reduced. Remove from the heat and add the rosewater.
  • Pour slowly over the hot cake making sure all is covered. It will seem like a lot of liquid, but the cake will absorb it all. Leave until cold, then turn out of the tin and cut into squares or diamonds.


This honey & walnut yogurt semolina cake is my Y for Yogurt entry to Alpha Bakes. This is hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes.

I was sent some vouchers to buy Greek Gods yogurt. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations which help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging. There was no requirement to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are my own.



    26th January 2014 at 8:23 am

    Choclette I Iove your experiments! I don’t think I would use that sort of yoghurt if as you say it has extra sugar in, but I suppose in a cake you just reduce the other sugar that you add if you were using one of these products? I like your product reviews as they make the best of what you are reviewing but also point out their limitations. What grade of semolina do you use in these cakes, coarse or fine? Or maybe it doesn’t matter and what one should just use what one has to hand?

  2. Johanna GGG

    26th January 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Walnuts, semolina and yoghurt in cakes sounds excellent. I think I have baked with semolina but not often enough. Glad you were able to recreate a little piece of your time in Egypt – what an interesting place to live (though challenging too esp if you didn’t speak the language well)

  3. Katie

    26th January 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Sounds delicious. I love the sound of the yoghurt, I like mine thick and spoonable. Will keep a look out for it

  4. The Caked Crusader

    26th January 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Lovely looking cake and I love all the flavours in it! Worked well with your heart slice cake tin too

  5. Deena Kakaya

    27th January 2014 at 12:20 am

    I love semolina cake and I love yoghurt cake, never had them both together! Will have to now x

  6. Alison

    27th January 2014 at 9:00 am

    We used to get semolina at school and it was really scary, cold and gooey. This looks lovely though and is a great use for it

  7. Rosemary

    27th January 2014 at 11:15 am

    Fantastic looking and sounding recipe. I have passed this page under Pork Belly’s nose as a subtle hint…:)

  8. Katharine

    27th January 2014 at 1:01 pm

    A wonderful looking and sounding cake! Dense, nutty and sticky – sounds heavenly. Perfect for a cold January day.

  9. thelittleloaf

    27th January 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I love baking with yoghurt and honey and walnuts are my favourite things to pair with it. I know what you mean about the added sugar in the yoghurt though, is it really necessary? lovely looking cake.

  10. ManjiriK

    27th January 2014 at 5:38 pm

    never tried a cake with semolina , love how you have written this piece to get in some bist fo ur stay in Egypt and local cuisine. Like the name of this brand too – Greek Gods!

  11. fiona maclean

    27th January 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake (with chocolate!) sounds fab to me! I wonder how many recipes you can add chocolate to!

  12. Lou, Eat Your Veg

    27th January 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Sounds like a delicious cake Choclette, I love using yoghurt in a bake, adds a wonderful moistness. I so need to experiment more with semolina in cakes, such a lovely texture 🙂

  13. Heidi Roberts

    27th January 2014 at 8:52 pm

    I tried the Greek Gods yoghurt and absolutely love it. I bet it made your cake absolutely lovely.

  14. Sylvia F.

    27th January 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Looks delicious! I have to buy more semolina soon 😉

  15. Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry

    28th January 2014 at 11:06 am

    Good quality yoghurt really hits the spot right? I would love to try a cake with semolina in it.

  16. Karen S Booth

    28th January 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Quite simple a stunning combination of flavours and such a lovely looking cake too! I LOVE Greek yoghurt and especially when added to baking.

  17. GG

    28th January 2014 at 2:13 pm

    This cake sounds really interesting and very yummy. it’s so full of wonderful complimentary flavours, a must to make. GG

  18. manu

    28th January 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Hi, I’d like to introduce you to my SWAP.
    If you love to join in, please take a look to my blog.
    Hope to hear from you soon

  19. The Kitchenmaid

    28th January 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Gorgeous! I love those sorts of cakes, which I loosely (and probably incorrectly) think of as being Middle Eastern-ish. I have tried using semolina in a polenta cake before and it worked well. The syrup sounds lovely too!

  20. Alida

    28th January 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Beautiful combination semolina, honey and yogurt. This cake must have been really delicious. I have never tried this yogurt. Certainly greek yogurt has such a beautiful flavour. I only buy natural or greek yogurt, not keen on the ones with sugar and flavourings added. Good review Choclette!

  21. belleau kitchen

    29th January 2014 at 12:04 pm

    this is such a pretty cake and full of my favourite ingredients… I can NOT get my heart cake to cook properly without burning so I may follow this recipe and see how it comes out!… gorgeous pics x

  22. Baking Addict

    29th January 2014 at 9:21 pm

    This is such a clever idea. I love the flavour combinations and the cute heart shaped slice 🙂 I am bookmarking this to try. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

  23. Jacqueline Meldrum

    31st January 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I love Greek yoghurt with honey. So lush and tasty. Such a good idea to use the flavours in a cake and walnuts are the perfect nuts to team with these flavours. Yum!

  24. prwilson

    13th February 2014 at 12:41 am

    That looks really tasty.


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