Desserts, Middle Eastern Recipes

Basbousa Bil Qishta (Semolina Cake With Cream)

To enhance its visual appeal, basbousa bil qishta is garnished with pistachios, shredded coconuts and a rose

Ramadan nights or any sahra (Arabic word for evening gatherings) need one star dessert. I have the ideal Basbousa Bil Qishta dessert recipe for your sahrat. It’s a traditional Middle Eastern cake, made of oh-so-moist semolina, stuffed with decadent cream, drenched in sugar syrup, and topped with flavorful nuts.

As we all know, the holy month of Ramadan is approaching, and I’m sure you’re already making a food menu in preparation. Well, this can be added to the dessert section and is sure to be a crowed-pleaser!

My easy-to-make recipe version of ashta filled basbousa is the queen of sweet desserts. Its two spongy layers filled with sweet cream take this dessert to the next level and will make your Ramadan nights even more special.


A uniquely delicious basbousa bil Qishta filled with sweet cream and topped with coconut and pistachios.
The best option for Ramadan gatherings.


History of Basbousa

 The origins of Basbousa date back to the revani cake of Turkish cuisine. It is a classic cake from the days of the Ottoman Empire. Over the years, it gained enormous popularity in the Middle East, and it appears to be the number one dessert in Egypt.

Its name is derived from the Arabic verb “bas” meaning “to blend,” given that it is prepared by blending flour with margarine or butter. The semolina cake, Basbousa, is often prepared unstuffed or with no filling. Basbousa bil qishta, or cream-filled/ashta-filled basbousa elevates this cake and makes it a bit more sophisticated.

In its popularity all over the Middle East, its name differs from one country to another; but no matter what you call it, this soft and fragrant Basbousa Bil Qishta will melt in your mouth and have you dreaming about it day and night!


What You’ll Need to Make Basbousa Bil Qishta

Here are the ingredients you need on hand for a soft and moist Basbousa Bil Qishta.

Coarse semolina

Unsweetened coconut

Sugar

Baking powder

Large eggs

Neutral oil

Yogurt

Table cream

Vanilla

Plain yogurt

Tahini: for the pan

For the Qishta Cream

Milk

Cornstarch

Orange blossom

Sugar


A square-shape piece of Basbousa with a lovely texture and smooth cream.
Spongy layers filled with a sweet cream.

Steps to Prep

To get a perfect Basbousa with Ashta, all you need to do is to follow these step-by-step instructions:

To start, prepare the syrup. Click here for the full simple syrup recipe.

Then, mix together the semolina, coconut, sugar, and baking powder.

In another bowl, mix together the oil, eggs, table cream, yogurt, and vanilla. 

Next, whisk well, then add them on top of the dry mixture, and mix until well combined.

Now, brush your 9×13 pan with the tahini, and make sure to brush the sides as well.

After that, add half of your batter and spread evenly, then bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

For the Qishta:

As it’s baking, make the Qishta by mixing the cold milk, cornstarch, sugar, and flavoring in a pot. But, make sure to dissolve the cornstarch well before turning on the stove.

Once mixed, move to medium-high heat and whisk until thickened. You don’t want it too thick but also not watery. It should feel thicker.

What to Do After the Qishta is Done?

Once the tray comes out of the oven, add the qishta on top immediately, and make sure to spread it evenly.

Now, let it sit for 5 minutes before carefully adding the remaining batter on top. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the batter before spreading it, so it goes on easier.

Next, bake in the oven once again for 20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes until it gets a golden brown color.

Lastly, drizzle about 1 cup of syrup on-top and let it completely cool before cutting.

Enjoy 😍


A piece of the authentic basbousa bil qishta, cut in square shape, and filled with luscious cream.
How would you even stop at one piece?!

What You Need to Know About Semolina

Semolina is one of those words that may sound fancy and complex as an ingredient. Say it enough times when talking about cooking or baking and everyone in your social circle will think you are a professional chef 😂.

But, let’s first define Semolina. It is actually just a sort of flour made from a species of wheat called “durum” wheat, and it comes in two different varieties: coarse Semolina and fine Semolina.

Next to all-purpose flour, semolina is likely to be available in your neighborhood grocery store. It is a touch coarser and maybe a bit darker and more golden in color than regular flour, which is the main difference you might be able to see. You may also find it named “Farina” which can be used in place of coarse semolina.


Two spongy layers of semolina with plenty of cream inside. Sprinkled with white coconut and little pieces of pistachio.
Heavenly cream filling!

Serving Basbousa Bil Qishta (Ashta-filled Basbousa)


A fresh creamy basbousa with two spongy layers topped with colorful nuts.
If you are a sweet-tooth person, this recipe is definitely for you!

Pro Tips For The Most Delicious Basbousa Bil Qishta

If you use a smaller pan, the basbousa batter will be thicker. However, if you use a larger pan, the basbousa batter, and the qishta will be spread thinner.

Instead of table cream, you can use ¼ cup of yogurt.

I recommend preparing it a day in advance and allowing it to rest overnight before serving. This allows for the basbousa, semolina cake, to absorb the simply syrup better and helps create that crumbly texture.

As a final touch, you may sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top. Rosebuds or other chopped nuts work well too.


Soft and fragrant semolina cake sweetend with orange zest and sugar syrup, stuffed with white cream and topped with nuts.
Bring Basbousa to your next event.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How thick should I make the Qihsta?

The Qishta (Ashta), also known as “clotted cream,” must be poured evenly, and be thick enough to maintain its shape when baked. To prevent the Qishta from setting too rapidly, turn off the heat a few seconds after it begins to thicken and have the semolina dough mixture ready. The longer it cools, the thicker it becomes.

Which is better to use, fine or coarse semolina?

Both can be used. But now that I’ve used both, I can say with certainty that coarse semolina is better for this recipe. It will result in a crumblier cake and is now freely accessible in most stores.

Can I prepare Ashta Cream in advance and then bake Basbousa Cake?

Unfortunately, you can’t save time by making Ashta Cream a day in advance. It needs to be warm and pourable to set correctly in the basbousa.

How to store leftover Basbousa Bil Qishta?

Basbousa can be kept in the fridge for up to three days if it is well-covered with a lid.


A sweet dish of Semolina cake filled with sweet cream and sprinkled with flavored nuts.
A taste you will be addicted to!

Must-Try recipes:

Mafroukeh Truffles

Mushabak Halabi (Middle Eastern Churros)

Qatayef Recipe

Layali Lubnan (Lebanese Nights Dessert)

Easy No Bake Knafeh Cups

Aish El Saraya Dessert

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Halawat el Jibn (Sweet Cheese Rolls)

Baklava Cheesecake Bars

Date-Filled Brioche Buns



Basbousa bil Qishta is a middle eastern dessert consists of a semolina base, soaked with simple syrup and a layer of cream

Basbousa Bil Qishta (Semolina Cake with Cream)

Fatimah
A soft and fragrant Basbousa Bil Qishta that's made of Semolina and sweetened with sugar syrup. Its spongy layers filled with luscious cream takes this recipe to another level. It pairs perfectly with your cup of tea after a long day.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chill Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Egyptian, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Palestinian, turkish
Servings 10 people
Calories 158 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup coarse Semolina
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup neutral oil
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1 can table cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons tahini for the pan

For the Qishta:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the syrup.
  • Mix together the semolina, coconut, sugar and baking powder.
  • In another bowl, mix together the oil, eggs, table cream, yogurt and vanilla.
  • Whisk well, then add them on top of the dry mixture, and mix until well combined.
  • Brush your 9×13 pan with the tahini, and make sure to brush the sides as well.
  • Add half of your batter and spread evenly, then bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

For the Qishta:

  • As it's baking, make the Qishta by mixing the cold milk, cornstarch, sugar and flavoring in a pot. But, make sure to dissolve the cornstarch well before turning on the stove.
  • Once mixed, move to medium heat and whisk until thickened. You don't want it too thick but also not watery. It should feel thicker.

To Assemble:

  • Once the tray come out of the oven, add the Qishta on top immediately, and make sure to spread it evenly.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes before carefully adding the remaining batter on top. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the batter before spreading, so it goes on easier.
  • Bake it in the oven once again for 20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes until it gets a golden brown color.
  • Drizzle about 1 cup of syrup on-top and let it completely cool before cutting.

Notes

  • If you use a smaller pan, the Basbousa part will be thicker. If you use a larger pan, the Basbousa and the Qishta will be thinner. 
  • You can substitute 1/4 cup yogurt for table cream.
  • It is best to prepare it the day before and let it sit overnight before serving.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 4gFat: 7gFiber: 1g
Keyword Basbousa bi Ashta, basbousa bil Qishta, Semolina cake with cream
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

26 thoughts on “Basbousa Bil Qishta (Semolina Cake With Cream)

  1. Haneen Awadalla says:

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this!! Adding this recipe to the list for next week, and I’m so excited. All of your recipes are so clear and so easy to follow. Thank you so much for all your hard work!

  2. Mariam says:

    Excited to try this recipe, was wondering if there is a substitute for table cream? Thanks!

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hi! add 1/4 cup of yogurt instead!

  3. Sandra Darwish says:

    Instead of kishta can I use cheese? If so, what cheese would you recommend?

    1. Fatimah says:

      You mean in the middle? or the batter?

  4. Filiz Yüksel says:

    5 stars
    Hi, what you mean with coconut? Im sorry, I’m not a native speaker.

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hello, unsweetened shredded coconut

  5. Noor Awadalla says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe two days ago and it was so easy to follow, the steps are very clear, and the taste is phenomenal! I will be saving this recipe to make for future family gatherings. I’m going to give everyone a warning that this dessert is highly addictive and you are not only going to have one slice! Highly recommend this recipe try it!

  6. Khadija says:

    5 stars
    I made this TWICE now and its honestly better evwrytime im not sure how. The directions are so clear, and the recipe is spot on. Thank you!!

  7. Nicole says:

    5 stars
    Easy to make, everybody loved it!
    Thanks for sharing ❤

  8. Nancy says:

    Hi what exactly is table cream ? Heavy cream ?

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hi, its cream in a can. Can be found at any grocery store, either in Mexican food section or International section.

  9. Ayat Almanfi says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much turned out amazing was a beauty

  10. Batoul says:

    5 stars
    I made this! When I say my family left nothing…it was all gone. Definitely requested for this month of Ramadan🌙

  11. Sam says:

    5 stars
    First time making it and it was Perfect after iftar!! My fiancé loved it 😍

  12. Candice says:

    5 stars
    What can I say about this recipe other than it’s AMAZING !!!!!! It’s the most delicious flavor so soft and melt in your mouthy creamy… now one of my fav arabi desserts and for sure this is the best recipe I’ve ever come across for it. If you don’t try this, you’re missing out. Whole family loved it.

  13. Tasleema Quayyum says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! Very impressive dessert which was thoroughly enjoyed! Will be sure to make again!

  14. Serena says:

    5 stars
    This recipe has been a hit every time I’ve made it! Delicious and one of my new faves!

  15. Atikah Khan says:

    5 stars
    I made this today & it was soo amazing & so yummy! I couldn’t wait to eat it so didn’t leave it overnight but it’s already so good. The only thing I omitted was the tahini at the bottom because I didn’t have it, but i don’t think it made that much of a difference in the flavor. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  16. Jamie Norris says:

    5 stars
    Delicious
    Will definitely be making this again

  17. Desserts says:

    What can we use as a coconut substitute? Or if we ommit coconut entirely what should we add more of?

    1. Fatimah says:

      If you omit it, you dont have to replace it with anything 🙂

  18. Noor Issa says:

    Hey, I’m wondering if I would be able to make this in muffin tins? Like as basbousa cups for individual serving.

    1. Fatimah says:

      you can, i believe bake time would differ a bit

  19. Hal says:

    Can I use small ground semolina instead of course?

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hello! It might change the texture/ moisture content.

5 from 13 votes

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