Sfouf صفوف

Sfouf is a delicious yellow cake originated to Lebanon but is also famous and made in other Levantine countries such as Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. The word Sfouf means “rows” and the reason this sweetness is called so is because it is ultimately cut into rows of uniformly shaped squares. You can practically say that Sfouf is “Arabic Cake” full of distinctive Arabian aroma and taste. It doesn’t need eggs and so it doesn’t require the hassle of beating. All what making Sfouf requires is mixing all the ingredients in a single bowl, pour the mixture in a baking pan, decorate with halved almonds or pine nuts, and bake it.

This eggless semolina cake has a fantastic yellow color and a mildly sweet grainy taste. It literally melts in your mouth with an irresistible flavor that carries hints of turmeric and aniseed, and a relic of tahini paste. Sfouf is perfect as a dessert or even as a snack.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yields 16 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cups (12 oz) semolina
  • 2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (1 lb) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground aniseed
  • 1/4 cup almonds, halved
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Grease a 8*12 inch pan with the tahini, and preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl combine the semolina, flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla powder, salt, turmeric powder, ground aniseed, oil, and milk. Whisk until well incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased pan, sprinkle the almonds on the surface or arrange them in any order you please.
  4. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes until it is golden brown.
  5. Take out of the oven and let cool completely. Do not remove it from the pan while it is hot. Then cut it into 16 pieces. Enjoy the delicious, spongy yellow Sfouf!

Hints:

  • Another method to make this is to melt the sugar with 2 cups of water separately on the stove and then add the molten sugar to the mixture of the dry ingredients; however, 4 tablespoons of powder milk should be used instead of the liquid milk.
  • Pine nuts may be used instead of almonds.
  • Insert a wooden skewer in the middle of the Sfouf to see if it is cooked. If it comes out with some batter on it, then the Sfouf is not done.
  • You can store it in the refrigerator just fine for a few days.
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