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.
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.
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.
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.
Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake – The Recipe
Honey & Walnut Yogurt Semolina Cake
- 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.
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.