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Cooking time

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 40 minutes Letting the batter rest for 30 mins

Skill level



Serves 20

An exotic Middle-Eastern dessert sure to satisfy even the most passionate sweettooth! This is basically an egg-free and fat-free semolina cake drenched in sugar syrup. Although seemingly very simple, a perfect Shambali does require a number of important tips. And this recipe here is bound to provide a most pleasing and satisfying outcome.

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  • 180 gr strained yoghurt
  • 180 gr caster sugar
  • 150 gr semolina
  • 110 gr a.p. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses (grape or mulberry)
  • 1 tsp butter to grease cake tin
  • Blanched almonds (about 20-24 pieces or as needed)


  • 360 gr caster sugar
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. To make the syrup: Place 400 ml of water and all of the sugar into a pot and boil gently over medium-low heat for 10 mns. Add the lemon juice and continue boiling for a further 5 mns. Now add remaining 100 ml of water, mix and take pan off the heat. Set aside to cool.

  2. To make the cake: Combine sugar and yoghurt (strained or Greek style yoghurt) and mix with a hand whisk.

  3. Combine all dry ingredients in separate bowl then add in 3 part to the yoghurt mixture, blending well after each addition.

  4. Grease an oven-proof glass tray or brownie pan of ca.32x20 cm (8” x 12”). Add 1 tbsp molasses and spread all over the base and side of your tray.

  5. Add the batter and smooth out the surface using an offset spatula dipped in water. Now use a sharp knife to make your markings, as to how you will slice your cake. Keep the servings rather small and aim for about 20 to 24 servings. Place an almond in the middle of each slice.

  6. Leave the batter to rest for 30 mns before placing in a cold oven set to 160 C (320 F). Bake for about 35-40 mns or until you obtain a nice golden brown crust.

  7. Once baked, set aside until totally cooled then cut along the markings you previously made. Ladle the syrup, which by now should be thoroughly cooled, all over the cake and wait at least 2 to 3 hours before serving.

  8. Tips: You can add a small amount of orange blossom water or rose water to your syrup if you like these flavors. A piece of “kaymak” (clotted cream) or whipped cream can complement a piece of shambali perfectly.

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