Sfouf is an easy Lebanese semolina cake with turmeric that is a gorgeous bright yellow color. This Lebanese cake is soft, quite tender and slightly crumbly. The semolina contributes to this cake's unique texture, giving it a slightly pleasant graininess. The exterior is crunchy and the interior is moist.
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What is Sfouf?
Sfouf is a popular sweet eggless yellow Lebanese cake made with semolina and is flavored with anise and turmeric which gives it its distinctive golden yellow color.
The Arabic word “sfouf” translates to English as “rows” or “parallel lines”, which refers to the way this cake is cut as it generally rises flat and is cut in parallel lines.
It also references how the pine nuts (or nuts) can be lined up to fit per cut piece.
However, in this recipe, the pine nuts/sesame are sprinkled on top in a casual fashion and I've used a round cake tin to bake it in rather than a square one.
How To Pronounce Sfouf?
The Arabic word "sfouf" or "sfoof" is easy to pronounce, it is said using two syllables sah·foof.
What Does Sfouf Taste Like?
Sfouf is something special in the flavor department. This Lebanese cake has a tahini lining that adds a subtle nutty touch. Then, you've got a mild sweetness with a hint of anise, kind of like a gentle licorice flavor.
But what really sets it apart is the turmeric, giving it a cool earthy spiciness. It's like a flavor combo that's comfy and unique all at once.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Only requires 5 minutes of preparation prior to baking
- This cheerful vegan yellow cake is an impressive bright color
- Very tasty and perfectly pairs with your favorite cup of coffee or tea.
- This is a vegan sfouf recipe - a dairy-free, eggless cake!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Notes on some of the ingredients, the full list of ingredients and their measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Semolina either coarse or fine semolina flour can be used. A 50:50 ratio of each can also be used. All will work well in this sfouf recipe.
All purpose flour should be fluffed, scooped and leveled when measuring out.
Raw sugar aka turbinado sugar is what I tend to use in this cake. Traditionally it is made with white sugar.
Water or plant-based milk is used as the liquid. I tend to use almond milk.
Neutral oil is best, use any type of nonheavy oil such as vegetable oil. I do tend to avoid coconut oil as it will alter the flavoring. I have in this recipe reduced the amount of oil, I found this amount was the lowest amount that I could use whilst still allowing for a moist cake with minimal cracking.
Turmeric powder is a key flavoring and how this vegan turmeric cake gets its coloring. It's a commonly used spice in the Middle East, you can find it in other Lebanese desserts too.
Anise seed powder is another key flavoring, it is a lovely subtle fragrant licorice flavor. This can be left out if you do not have it. Or you can steep some anise seeds in some boiling water instead of plain water. You can purchase some organic ground anise seeds here (affiliate link).
Pine nuts or sesame seeds or any type of raw nuts are sprinkled on top of the cake batter before baking and turn golden once this cake is baked, adding a lovely nutty flavor.
Tahini is used to grease the cake tin which helps the cake to not stick. Works perfectly every time!
I also like to add a pinch of salt to enhance all the flavors and sweetness.
Optional flavors - you can use orange blossom water or rose water rather than anise if you prefer, just add a teaspoon.
How To Make Sfouf
Mix The Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients (all purpose flour, semolina, turmeric powder, anise powder, baking powder, salt and sugar. Combine well ensuring the turmeric and anise powders are evenly dispersed throughout the flours.
Add The Wet Ingredients
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the vegetable oil and water (or milk). Gently whisk until a thick batter has formed and everything is incorporated, do not overmix.
Pour the batter and Bake
Grease a 23cm x 23cm (9x9”) cake tin/pan (affiliate link) with tahini paste. Pour the batter into the cake pan and sprinkle the pine nuts or sesame seeds on top of the batter.
Bake in a preheated 180C (356F) oven for 30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow sfouf cake to rest until cool, cut into pieces and serve with a cup of tea or coffee. Usually, this cake is cut up into diamond shapes.
Do not use a smaller cake pan as the center of the cake will not rise as fast as the edges or will rise too high which will result in deep cracks in the cake.
Allow the cake to fully cool down to room temperature before transferring and cutting.
Once the sfouf cake has completely cooled to room temperature, either store it complete or cut up in an air-ight container for up to one week at room temperature or 10 days in the fridge. Be sure though to make sure it is covered to avoid the cake drying out.
Other Vegan Baked Treats
Another Lebanese semolina cake is namoura.
Try this light golden flaky filo pastry stuffed with walnuts called Baklawa (Lebanese Baklava)
If you're digging vegan Lebanese desserts but don't want to bake, then you need to try my creamy Haytaliyeh - Vegan Lebanese Milk Pudding.
I've put together a little list of fancy kitchen serving ware/tools for serving Lebanese coffee which goes well with this cake. I called it Lebanese kitchen tools.
Did you make this? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment below with a ★★★★★ rating or tag @plantbasedfolk on social media.
Sfouf Lebanese Turmeric Semolina Cake (Vegan)
- 1½ cups All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Semolina see notes
- 1 cup Raw sugar turbinado sugar
- ½ tablespoon Ground turmeric
- ¼ tablespoon Ground anise
- ½ tbs Baking powder
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 cup Dairy-Free milk or water see notes
- ½ cup Neutral oil vegetable or canola
- ⅛ cup Tahini
- 1 tablespoon Sesame seeds or handful of pine nuts
Combine Dry Ingredients
- In a mixing bowl, add semolina, all purpose flour, salt, turmeric, anise, baking powder, sugar and combine well ensuring the turmeric and anise powders are evenly dispersed throughout.½ cup Semolina, 1½ cups All Purpose Flour, 1 cup Raw sugar, ½ tablespoon Ground turmeric, ¼ tablespoon Ground anise, ½ tbs Baking powder
Add Wet Ingredients
- Make a well in the center, add the dairy free milk or water and oil and whisk until a batter has formed.1 cup Dairy-Free milk or water, ½ cup Neutral oil
- Grease a 23cm x 23cm (9"x9”) cake tin with tahini paste. Pour the batter into the tin, gently tap it a few times to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle either pine nuts or sesame seeds or both on top. Bake in a preheated 180C (356F) oven for 30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow sfouf cake to rest until cool, cut into pieces and serve.⅛ cup Tahini, 1 tablespoon Sesame seeds
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
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