Coconut Cake (Basbousa)

Coconut Cake (Basbousa)
Coconut Cake (Basbousa)

I always wanted to bake a coconut cake. Now that is one thing that our Kerala ancestors never thought of I guess although coconut halwa is a popular sweet in Northern India. While growing up in Mumbai, I had once tasted  a delicious coconut cake at a Goan friend’s house.  The cake was made of semolina instead of the regular flour and over the years I would often be reminded of that beautiful texture and the incredible sweet combination of the coconut, semolina and the sugar. I never got a chance to actually try baking one until very recently.  A dear friend of mine who now lives in the Middle East shared with me the recipe of Basbousa, which is a Middle eastern syrupy cake made of semolina and instantly I was once again reminded of the erstwhile coconut cake that I had years ago!. Well, guess what, she told me that coconut is also added in Basbousa sometimes as a variation of basbousa resulting in a delicious and decadent cake. That was it…I could not wait until the weekend to try the recipe!  It came out great and was incredibly yummy and finger-licking delicious!  I additionally did a frosting with whipped cream and sweetened coconut flakes on top which made it outright irresistible! I also added rose flavor to the syrup instead of the traditional lemon. Oh writing this recipe makes me so sad since I don’t have anymore of it left in the fridge now having devoured the last bite a few days ago.! Got to make another one soon! Here’s the recipe for you:

You will need an 8 inch dia round cake pan for baking.
This recipe will make about 12-14 servings
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semolina (cream of wheat or rava)
1 cup freshly grated coconut (or unsweetened coconut flakes)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
For sugar syrup 
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp rose essence or rose water

For Frosting:
1 1/2 cup heavy Whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar (optional)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes


Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F. Grease the baking pan and place parchment paper over it and grease the parchment paper too. Set aside.

1. Take a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and sugar and cream them together using a hand mixer. Then add the eggs  and vanilla and continue to beat for another 2-3 minutes until creamy.




2. In a separate plate, combine the semolina (rava), baking powder, baking soda and the salt. Add this slowly to the butter and sugar mixture and also add the milk and the coconut and continue to mix with the hand mixer until well-mixed.(Mixture will be still gritty because of the semolina and the coconut)




3. Bake in the oven at 350 deg F for  about 35 to 40 mins until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate and taking the parchment paper off. Pour the prepared hot syrup(see recipe below) on top.  Let cool for at least an hour.


4. Take a medium size bowl and beat the whipped cream and the icing sugar (if adding) until it becomes thickened and fluffy – about 4-5 minutes.  Cover the top and sides of the cake with the frosting. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top of the frosting.


IMG_3071Coconut Cake

Recipe for syrup:

While the cake is baking, make syrup by boiling the water in a small pot and adding the sugar to it.  Stir well and let boil for about 4-5 minutes on low until all the sugar dissolves and a syrupy consistency is obtained. Let cool for about 15 minutes and then add the rose essence or rose water and mix.

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  1. Oh gosh, this looks wonderful – I think I would polish off the lot!! Thanks so much for linking up with #recipeoftheweek. I’ve pinned and tweeted this post and hope to see you linking up again soon! 😀 x

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