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    Anissa Helou’s nammurah (semolina cake)

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    Anissa Helou’s nammurah (semolina cake)

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus resting
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour, plus resting

    Serves: 10-12


    300g semolina

    350g caster sugar

    90g unsalted butter, softened

    300ml natural yogurt 

    ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

    1 tsp tahini, for greasing

    about 30g blanched almonds

    1 tsp lemon juice

    few drops rose water

    1 tbsp orange blossom water



    1 Put the semolina, 50g sugar and butter in a bowl and work together with your hands until blended. Add the yogurt and bicarbonate of soda and mix well until you have a firm batter.

    2 Grease a 23cm square cake tin with the tahini, then tip in the batter and spread evenly, flattening it gently with the back of a spoon. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rest at room temperature for 3 hours.

    3 Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Cut the uncooked cake, in the tin, into 4.5cm squares and press an almond in the middle of each piece. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

    4 Meanwhile, make the syrup. Heat the remaining 300g sugar, lemon juice and 120ml water in a pan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and bubble for 3 minutes, then stir in the rose and orange blossom waters and bubble for a few seconds more; set aside. 

    5 Pour the warm syrup over the hot cake and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the syrup to absorb. Recut into squares; serve. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Kitchen magazine. myWaitrose members can download the Waitrose Kitchen app edition for FREE. Find out more.


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