When I hear the name Namoura, it evokes so many childhood memories in my mind that I get extremely nostalgic. Namoura is a very dense, sweet cake made of semolina flour, or otherwise known in the United States, Cream of Wheat. Semolina comes in two different types of coarseness. The best one used for this cake is the finest ground but if you cannot find it, the coarse grind would work as well.
This cake is called Namoura, but it is also called “Maal Beirut” and “Basboussa” in different parts of the world. It does not need to be refrigerated and can keep for about 10 days in an airtight container.
I make two different versions of this cake (regular and gluten-free) since it is a favorite for one of my daughters who cannot have any gluten. I substitute the cream of wheat (semolina) in the recipe for cream of rice, and no one can tell the difference.
4 cups semolina
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons rosewater
4 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
2 tablespoons rosewater
In a 9x12 rectangle pan, pour the tahini and spread on the entire surface.
In a bowl, mix the semolina, yogurt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and the rosewater. Mix well with a wooden spoon until well combined. Pour half the batter in the prepared pan, sprinkle the cinnamon on top and top the cinnamon with the remainder of the batter.
Let it rest on the counter for one hour.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden.
Meanwhile, cook the simple sugar by combining the sugar and the water until boiling. Add the lemon juice and the flavored waters and turn off the heat. Let it cool.
Let the cake cool entirely in its pan. Cut into squares or diamonds. Pour the simple syrup on top and let it absorb. Decorate each square with an almond and serve.