Happy Easter everyone! Easter is usually a baking season so I decided to share with you a classical old fashioned coconut cake recipe.

This is Rawany or semolina cake or basbousa cake; it has many names. It is simply a sponge cake baked until puffed up high then drizzled with sugar syrup & sprinkled with shredded coconut.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, don’t go for this cake as it is not for the faint hearted. It is soaked in sugar syrup so it is sweeter than regular cakes.

I know 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla sounds too much but god without this big amount of vanilla, the cake tastes soooo eggy. I threw not less than 5 cakes so I know what I am talking about hahhaha.

Second, I know that 1 1/2 cups sugar syrup sounds too much but this cake is VERY VERY dry & tasteless without the syrup so don’t reduce the amount please.


  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the Cake:

  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup semolina دقيق السميد الناعم
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt

For the Sugar Syrup: (check notes below)

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water

For the Topping:

  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Mini Easter chocolate eggs


  • Prepare the syrup: Put the sugar & water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. You can stir a couple of times (not too much) to help the sugar dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil, let it boil for a minute then turn off heat. Set aside to cool a bit.
  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 30 cm baking pan with oil then sprinkle with little semolina. Invert the tray & tap on it to get rid of the extra semolina. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, sift the flour, semolina, baking powder & salt together. Set aside.
  • Add the eggs, sugar & vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the WHISK attachment, whisk the mixture on HIGH speed for about 10 minutes or until the mixture quadruples (4X) in volume, becomes extremely pale in color, thick & frothy. When you raise the whisk, the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon).
  • Reduce the speed to low & add the dry ingredients, spoon by spoon (add the spoons quickly, don’t wait long between additions). Turn off the mixer. Using a spatula, fold the mixture very GENTLY to make sure there are no flour pockets. You have to be gentle in order not to deflate the batter.
  • Pour the batter in the greased pan & bake on the middle rack in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the cake is totally puffed & a tooth pick insterted in the center comes out clean.
  • Take the cake out of the oven. While still hot, run a knife a couple of times around the cake & invert on a plate. Drizzle with the warm sugar syrup. Make sure to drizzle the syrup evenly all over the cake.
  • Let the cake cool completely then sprinkle with coconut & serve.
  • Optional: To make the coconut nest, simply fry 3-4 tbsp coconut flakes in 2 tbsp oil until golden. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. When cool enough to handle, use the coconut to make nests on top of the cake & fill with mini chocolate eggs.


  • This huge amount of vanilla is necessary to overcome the eggy taste.
  • This huge amount of sugar syrup is necessary because without it, the cake is dry and bland.
  • You can flavor the sugar syrup with cinnamon, orange zest or vanilla extract.
  • Don’t open the oven before 20 minutes so that the cake doesn’t deflate.
  • The cake will deflate a bit as it cools. This is normal.

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