Lebanese Sfouf

Lebanese sfouf is made with semolina.  A healthy and delicious cake that’s packed with flavor and nutrients. Turmeric, the key ingredient in this cake is a spice that’s widely used in China and India. Turmeric is the root of the Curcuma Longa plant. It is used as an anti-inflammatory agent for various illnesses such as headaches, toothaches, and even chest pain. Anise is an anti-oxidant that contains vitamins such as, iron, calcium, manganese and niacin, to name a few. It is used by many who suffer from heart burn as a tea substitute for it’s aromatic and soothing effect.

Skill level: Easy
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Lebanese Sfouf
Yields 25
Traditional “Lebanese” Cake
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 2 cups semolina (see note #1 below)
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 1 cup melted unsalted butter (see note #2 below)
  5. 1 3/4 cups water
  6. 2 tablespoons whole anise seeds (see note #3 below)
  7. 1/4 teaspoon anise powder (optional)
  8. 2 teaspoons turmeric
  9. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  10. 2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
  11. 1 tablespoon pine nuts, or 1 tablespoon ground pistachios for garnish (optional)
  1. Grease 13 x 9 inch baking pan either with cooking spray or tahini. The traditional method is to use tahini, but the cooking spray works just as well, and that’s what I use.
  2. Heat oven to 350°.
  3. In a small saucepan melt the butter on low heat.
  4. In a bowl combine the fine semolina, sugar, flour, melted butter, prepared anise water, turmeric, anise powder and baking powder. Mix with a large spoon. You don’t need a mixer for this cake, since it does not contain eggs.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with pine nuts, or pistachios. You can leave it plain too.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Another way to know if your cake is done is when the edges of the cake are golden brown and the surface is very light golden brown.
♣ Notes
  1. 1. Semolina is yellowish in color and has a finer texture than farina. It is widely used in Mediterranean cuisines and available in most supermarkets and specialty stores.
  2. 2. You can use unsalted butter or cooking oil. Both will work just as well. But, make sure that if you melt the butter, that it is not hot when added to the batter. Always remember that the melted butter should be room temperature when added to your mixture. This applies to all the recipes I post. Remember that temperature is crucial to the success of your dish. So when you see that most of the butter has melted in the pan, turn the heat off and let the remaining butter melt on it own.
  3. 3. In a small pan bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons whole anise seeds and leave to brew. You will only need 1 1/2 cups for the cake. Use a sieve to measure 1 1/2 cups of the anise water for the recipe. Leave to cool. Remember that it shouldn’t be hot.
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