Semolina Cake with Vermicelli

semolina cake with vermicelli in a baking dish with crushed pistachios on top

Hi everyone! I am back with a dessert recipe for you! This is a semolina cake that is soaked in a milk mixture and topped with vermicelli. It is called basbooset sha3reeyeh in Arabic which literally translates to semolina cake with vermicelli. I have never heard of this dessert until my parents came to visit last week. My mom told me she made a dessert that my dad really enjoyed because it wasn’t too sweet and that she wanted to teach me how to make it. She knows that I too prefer desserts that aren’t too sweet. Of course, I was so excited to learn!

While watching my mom prepare this cake, it always felt like a hybrid of a traditional Middle Eastern semolina cake, Khash Khash cake, and Tres Leches cake. Literally an all in one cake. Basbouseh is a traditional Middle Eastern semolina cake and this recipe resonates with that as both coconut and semolina are used. In this dessert, however, instead of soaking the cake in simple syrup to give it sweetness; we will add a milk mixture of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. This offers moistness, sweetness, and that resemblance to tres leches.

So, it was my first time trying this cake as my mom just introduced it to me and verdict was I enjoyed it! I am not a dessert person. I typically have a bite or two of a dessert; and my craving is satisfied. It isn’t something I necessarily crave but I enjoyed how light, moist, and not overly sweet it was. The vermicelli topping was interesting as it offered some nice texture but I think the cake would even be great without it!

Semolina cake with vermicelli

This semolina cake with vermicelli topping is a cross between a tres leches and authentic Middle Eastern semolina cake!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Arabic, Middle Eastern
Keyword: easy cake recipe, milk cake, semolina cake, semolina cake with vermicelli
Servings: 20 pieces
Author: Heifa


  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla flavoring
  • 1 tsp White Vinegsr
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 cup Milk powder
  • 7.6 oz Can of Table Cream
  • 2 cups Fine Semolina
  • 1/2 cup Fine coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder


  • 5 oz Roasted Vermivelli
  • 1/4 cup Pistachios crushed, garnish
  • 1/4 cup Fine coconut flakes garnish

Milk Mixture

  • 12 oz Evaporated Milk
  • 14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk


  • To a kitchenaid or mixing bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and vinegar. Mix. Then, add the vegetable oil and sugar. Mix again.
  • Then, add the milk powder and table cream. Mix.
  • At this point, add the coconut, baking powder, and semolina.
  • Brush a 9×11 deep baking dish with some vegetable oil then add the cake batter to the pan and spread it out evenly.
  • In the food processor, turn the toasted vermicelli into crumbs and top the cake off with it to where you cannot see the batter anymore.
  • Bake for 30 minutes on 375 F.
  • In the meantime, in a small pot; mix together the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Let this warm up together for 5-10 minutes.
  • Once the cake is out of the oven, soak the cake in the milk mixture evenly. The cake will absorb it.
  • Once slightly cooled, cut into squares or diamonds. Garnish with pistachios and coconut flakes. Enjoy warm or room temperature.


This keeps well room temperature for a week in an airtight container.

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  1. This recipe was something new to me but i was happy to try it! I loved the outcome . I personally love three milk cake and it reminded me of it so this was something me and my family enjoyed.

  2. This was delicious!!!!! Perfectly sweet and honestly so easy. For anyone who has everything except eggs, I subbed the eggs for applesauce and it worked. I’m sure the eggs would make it even better. Thank you for an amazing recipe!

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