Safra - Tripolitanian Semolina Cake. Photography: Shutterstock
Safra - Tripolitanian Semolina Cake. Photography: Shutterstock

Safra – Tripolitanian Semolina Cake

Safra is a vegan semolina cake usually served alongside sweet black tea that is cooked with cloves and roasted peanuts

Safra is a semolina cake that originated in the cuisine of Libyan Jewry. It is crispier and thinner than its counterparts in Moroccan cuisine (basbousa) and Balkan cuisine (tishpishti) and has a strong taste of rose water

Ingredients for Safra - Tripolitanian Semolina Cake

  • 1.1 lbs (500 grams) semolina
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract high-quality
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) baking powder
  • ½ cup orange juice freshly squeezed
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract or orgeat syrup
  • ½ cup blanched almonds

For the syrup:

  • 1½ cups Sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater


Prepare the Batter:

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 355F degrees (180C) and line a medium-sized pyrex baking dish with parchment paper.

  • 2. Pour oil into a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except peeled almonds. Mix well until a homogenous mixture is obtained.

  • 3. Transfer the batter to the pan. Flatten the surface of the cake with a knife or offset spatula and create a pattern of rhombuses on the surface of the cake, by incising longitudinal stripes and diagonal stripes across. Place an almond in the middle of each rhombus.

  • 4. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden.

Prepare the Syrup and Glaze:

  • 5. Pour water into a small pot and add sugar and rose water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

  • 6. Remove the cake from the oven. Pour the hot syrup over the hot cake. Allow the sauce to soak into the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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