Turmeric Plus Semolina Equals Sfouf Cake!

Turmeric Plus Semolina Equals Sfouf Cake!

If you’re looking for the perfect treat for your next celebration, look no further than the delicious sfouf cake from Lebanon!

What is Sfouf Cake?

First of all, how do you say it? Sfouf is pronounced sfoof, with the oo like cool. The word means “lines” and describes how the cake is cut or the pine nuts or almonds arranged on top.

The traditional party cake for fun events in Lebanon is light and not too sweet. Unlike traditional cakes, this treat uses no eggs and no butter.

It’s made from semolina flour and turmeric plus tahini for the cake pan..

Let’s take a look at these three ingredients.

semolina flour in a wooden bowl

Semolina flour is typically used to make pasta or couscous. It’s the course part of durum wheat and comes out during the middle part of milling the wheat. Semolina is what makes pasta so sturdy. Regular flour is added to lighten up the texture of the sfouf.

turmeric root and powder

Turmeric is a spice made from the root of the plant. It’s used in all kinds of Middle Eastern and Asian cooking and gives the cake that deep golden color.

tahini paste

Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds. It’s used to make hummus and other delicious recipes. For sfouf, you use it to coat your cake pan to keep the cake from sticking.

The neat thing about sfouf is all the possible variations! You can add rose water or lemon zest or almond flavoring or carob molasses to make a different flavor every time.

Sfouf isn’t a typical super-sweet dessert. It’s more like a snack cake that tastes fantastic with a cup of tea.

ceylon tea

In fact, tea is also a major part of not only Lebanese celebrations but everyday life.

A popular tea in Lebanon is Ceylon tea which is grown on the island of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon.)

This black tea has a rich, aromatic flavor all by itself, but many people add cinnamon or rose water to make it even more delicious.

Other Lebanese Desserts

Of course, Lebanon offers a wide variety of desserts to finish off a meal. Here are just a few to try after you enjoy some amazing Lebanese shwarma!

Ma'amoul cookies and Layali Lubnan pudding

Ma’amoul is a shortbread cookie flavored with nuts and dates and rolled in sugar often eaten during Eid al-Fitr.

Layali Lubnan (Lebanese nights) is cold pudding made with semolina flour and pine nuts, perfect for a hot summer night. Add in bananas for even more yum.

awamat and meghli

Awamat are like donut holes, fried and coated in honey and cinnamon.

Meghli is a version of rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and anise and sprinkled with pine nuts and coconut. It’s typically served to celebrate when a baby is born.

Kanafe dessert from Lebanon

Kanafe is a dessert made with shredded phylo dough soaked in sweet syrup and layered with ashta cream and topped with nuts.

If all of these pictures are making you hungry, we have a bonus recipe for you.

You can find dozens of sfouf cake recipes online with multiple variations, but we’ve included a simple recipe for you to try and even included some variation suggestions for when you get adventurous.

Except for milk or yogurt, this recipe is vegan, and you can use a milk substitute to make it fully vegan!

sfouf cake

Bonus Recipe

Lebanese Sfouf Cake

Dry ingredients

1 ½ cups semolina flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

A pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon turmeric powder


Wet ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk or plain yogurt

½ cup vegetable oil

Other Ingredients

1-2 teaspoons tahini to coat the pan

Pine nuts or almonds to decorate the top

Optional flavorings: orange blossom water, rose water, aniseed, carob molasses, or lemon zest. Experiment to find your favorite!


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the semolina flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and turmeric powder.

Stir together the sugar, milk, and oil until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine until the batter is smooth.

Coat the pan with tahini and pour in the batter. Top with the pine nuts or almonds.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until the nuts are golden brown.

Cool the cake completely on a wire rack and cut into diamond shapes.

Sfouf is a light, airy cake, so store leftovers (if there are any!) in an airtight container up to a week.


We’d love to hear how your sfouf turned out and any variations you tried!

You can enjoy your cake with tea and your yummy dishes from the Lebanon box at eat2explore!


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