Namoura is a middle eastern cake that at first glance doesn't seem like it would work, what with the lack of eggs and leavening.  But it does and the result is delicious.  This recipe is also for those who think they can't bake.  If you can tie your shoes, you can make this cake.


There are many recipes for this cake, for mine I have used the recipe from May Bsisu's The Arab Table.  But rather than her large short cake, I do it in a smaller pan for a thicker cake and I use less soaking syrup.  Middle easterners LOVE their sweets dripping in syrup.

makes one nine-inch cake
2 tbsp tahini
3 cups semolina flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup finely ground unsweetened coconut (known as macaroon or desiccated coconut)
1 cup milk
8 oz butter
1 tbsp orange blossom water
1-1/4 cup simple syrup (or as much as 2 cups if you must)
Toasted sliced almonds 

Coat a nine-inch round cake pan with the tahini and set aside.

In a bowl, stir the semolina, sugar and coconut together.  In a small saucepan gently heat the milk and butter until warm and melted.  Pour the liquids over the dry and stir until well incorporated.  Stir in the orange blossom water.  Pour the batter into pan and smooth the top evenly.  Bake at 400º for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350º and continue baking until the cake is done (it will be deeply golden and darker brown around the edge).  Remove the cake from oven and poke holes all over it with a skewer or toothpick.  Pour the simple syrup evenly over the cake and allow it to absorb as it cools completely.

Serve the cake at room temperature scattered with toasted sliced almonds

An apricot sauce or compote goes well with this cake, as would orange segments.  It is also good just plain with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

If you don't know how to make simple syrup, it is simply equal parts sugar and water (technically, by weight) brought just to a boil and allowed to cool.  Make a good quantity as it lasts forever in the fridge and you can use it for your iced tea, etc.