Mixed Berries Basboussa Recipe

Top this traditional Arabic sweet cake with fresh seasonal fruits.

A traditional Arabic sweet cake gets a fresh twist with the addition of berries on top.

Mixed Berries Basboussa

A traditional Arabic sweet cake gets a fresh twist with the addition of berries on top. 

Photo by: Image courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Image courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Doha

A traditional Arabic sweet cake gets a fresh twist with the addition of berries on top. 

When local farmers began bringing big boxes of fresh berries to Christopher Jordan, executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Doha, he looked for new ways to showcase them in his pastries.

Jordan makes a beautiful basboussa, or Arabic sweet cake soaked in simple syrup. Though it's usually topped with almonds or walnuts, Jordan —inspired by the Four Seasons' Local Flavors campaign featuring foods found within a 100-mile radius of the property—decided to make the most of his berry bounty by adding them on top. 

"Basboussa is readily available in many shops, but adding fresh berries is very uncommon," he says. "I found that the brightness of the berries complements the depth and richness of the basboussa."

If your backyard is bursting with berries—or if, like us, you're unable to resist those dirt-cheap berry baskets full of fresh fruit at the farmer's market—it's time to bake up a basboussa.

Mixed Berries Basboussa

Serves 5

  • 2 1/3 cups melted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups + 1 tablespoon semolina flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 eggs, gently beaten
  • 2/3 cup hot syrup (see recipe)
  • 1 1/3 cups strawberries, green cut off and cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/3 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/3 cups raspberries

Combine melted butter and powdered sugar together. In a separate bowl, combine semolina flour and baking powder. Slowly add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are completely moistened.

Add the eggs last and mix to combine. Spread the mixture into a greased baking pan and evenly distribute the berries over the top to completely cover the mixture.

Brush the berries with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until the cake is baked through. When the basboussa is hot out of the oven, drizzle 2/3 of the hot syrup over it to completely soak. Let the basboussa come to room temperature, then cut it into small squares and serve with remaining syrup on the side.


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 ½ cups water

Combine the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.

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