While it might be easily mistaken for its semolina counterpart Basbousa, this lovely coconut cake known as Basseema is also of Egyptian origin. An easy one-bowl recipe from The Big Sweet Tooth, Basseema is indeed “rich and best enjoyed in small bites”. Soaked in sugar syrup, the cake has a tender crumb which readily takes up the taste of condensed milk and rose water to create a memorable combination of flavors without detracting from the main ingredient, coconut. While I made my first Basseema with desiccated coconut, I hope to give it another try with freshly grated coconut as I always seem to have loads of leftover coconut in the fridge.



For the Coconut Cake

2 cups desiccated coconut

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk powder

3 tablespoons custard powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup caster sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the Sugar Syrup

3/4 cup caster sugar

3/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon rose water

1/2 tin condensed milk


  • For the syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook for around 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Remove from heat, whisk in condensed milk and rose water. Allow to come to room temperature.

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix all ingredients for the cake in a large bowl until well combined.

  • Grease a large glass pan and pour the batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the sides are cooked.

  • Remove cake and immediately pour syrup over hot cake. Sprinkle it with more desiccated coconut.

  • Leave the cake undisturbed for 1-2 hours or overnight till all the syrup is all soaked up by the cake.

  • Once the syrup is well absorbed and the cake surface appears dry, cut cake into squares and serve.

Egyptian Coconut Cake