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Insight Editions
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

Basbousa is traditionally known to be a dense and creamy cake. I have seen it all over the world. In this recipe, you can use either cassava flour or semolina. The sisters who run the bakery in the Birnin Azzaria market, Kylee and Ayla, would make this cake and serve squares of it in their store. On special occasions, such as the birth of a child or a wedding, I like to serve this dessert. I have tested it with the semolina flour and with our native cassava flour and have gotten the same rich cake results.


  • 1 tablespoon nonstick baking spray
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups cassava or fine semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon rose water (or orange blossom water)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2/3 cup pistachios, chopped


For the cake:


Preheat the oven to 350 F.


With the pan spray, grease an 8- by 10-inch baking pan.


In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, milk, cream and vanilla.


In a separate large bowl, mix the cassava flour, coconut and baking powder.


Combine the egg mixture, melted butter and flour until evenly incorporated.


Pour batter into the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top.

For the syrup:

In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the rose water and lemon juice.

To assemble:

Pour the syrup over the baked cake and sprinkle chopped pistachios evenly on top.

Reprinted with permission from "Marvel’s Black Panther: The Official Wakanda Cookbook" by Nyanyika Banda. Insight Editions, 2022.