Sfouf (Turmeric Cake)

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Sfouf is a Middle Eastern semolina turmeric cake, made with simple ingredients, no eggs and no butter. It's vegan-friendly, light and simply delightful!

  • Author: Yumna Jawad
  • Posted:

Sfouf (Turmeric Cake)

How fun is this cake name? Sfouf! *Too fun*

Sfouf is an arabic word that means lines and it’s used here to describe the way this cake is cut into lines. The cake itself is a semolina-turmeric oil-based yellow cake. It’s a simple plain cake with mild flavors and not at all sweet – the perfect light dessert or snack to go with your cup of coffee!


It’s a super simple recipe that uses basic baking ingredients, but includes three distinct ingredients:

  1. Turmeric: The turmeric essentially gives the cake a rich yellow color, a sweet and distinct taste, and the added antioxidant benefits. Just one tablespoon of turmeric mixed with the dry ingredients goes a long way.
  2. Semolina: This is a coarse purified wheat that’s usually used to make pasta. The semolina is used in this cake along with flour to add a nutty texture, compared to just using flour alone.
  3. Tahini: This is a paste made from sesame seeds and I use it in this sfouf recipe to coat the pan, instead of oil or butter. It’s so widely available in all stores these days, but if you can’t find it, you can coat the oil with oil or butter instead. It just adds to the richness of the recipe.

How to Make Sfouf

I learned this sfouf recipe from my mom and my mother-in-law. Both essentially make it the same way, but my mom likes to add rose water to the wet ingredients to give it a fresh aromatic flavor.

YOu only need a few ingredients to make sfouf. The best part is that it’s egg-free and butter-free. And it’s almost vegan, except for the use of 1 cup of milk. You can easily substitute that milk with water to make this recipe fully vegan.

To start, I coat the pan with tahini (pardon my dried up tahini here…I reaching the bottom of the jar).

Then I mix the dry ingredients. This includes the turmeric and you can see here the color is fairly light before cooking.

Then comes the wet ingredients. Mix until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the batter into a pan and sprinkle with raw pine nuts.

Then I bake the sfouf in the oven for about 30 minutes. I use the pine nuts as a clue to tell me when it’s ready. You want them golden, but not brown.

Grab that cup of coffee folks, because it’s sfouf time! You can cut them into squares, rectangles or diamonds – 9 or 12 pieces. The end result is a beautifully colored simple turmeric cake that I grew up eating. It’s one of the most popular Lebanese cakes, and I love how simple it is to make!

If you’re obsessed with anything turmeric like I am, try my golden milk latte – it’s basically liquid gold in a cup #justsayin

I hope you love this healthy-ish feelgood Sfouf Turmeric Cake recipe. If you make it, please leave me a comment telling me how you like it, or use hashtag #feelgoodfoodie on Instagram so I can see your recreations.

5 from 2 votes
Sfouf is a Middle Eastern semolina turmeric cake, made with simple ingredients, no eggs and no butter. It's vegan-friendly, light and simply delightful!
Sfouf (Turmeric Cake)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Sfouf is a Middle Eastern semolina turmeric cake, made with simple ingredients, no eggs and no butter. It's vegan-friendly, light and simply delightful!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Turmeric cake, Vegan Cake
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 351 kcal
Author: Yumna Jawad
  • 1-2 tablespoons tahini to grease the pan can be replaced with oil
  • 1 1/2 cup coarse semolina or fine, or mixture of both
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • Handful of pine nuts or almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and grease a 9" baking pan with the tahini sesame oil or other oil.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (semolina, flour, turmeric and baking powder) together in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients (canola oil, milk and cane sugar) in another small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved in the mixture.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients until batter is smooth and bright yellow. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the pine nuts all over.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the pine nuts are golden.
  6. Cool on a wire rack and cut into 16 squares or diamond shapes.
Recipe Notes


  • Substitutes:
    • For tahini, you can substitute oil or butter
    • For the coarse semolina, you can also use fine semolina, but don’t use flour instead of semolina because it will not yield the right results
    • For the pine nuts, you can use almonds. Silvered almonds work well and make sure they are raw since they will be getting roasted in the oven.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 7 days at room temperature or about 10 days in the fridge.
  • Sourcing: You can find some of the Middle-Eastern specific items like the semolina and tahini at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients.
Nutrition Facts
Sfouf (Turmeric Cake)
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 351 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Potassium 189mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 50g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 23g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 0.9%
Vitamin C 0.2%
Calcium 6.8%
Iron 11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Semolina Turmeric Cake. Sfouf is a Middle Eastern semolina turmeric cake, made with simple ingredients, no eggs and no butter. It's vegan-friendly, light and simply delightful! | Vegan Cake | Vegan Dessert | Turmeric Recipes | Dairy Free Recipe | #cake #vegan #dairyfree #turmeric #feelgoodfoodie


  • Reply
    Dugdale McVey
    July 29, 2018 at 7:22 am

    This looks great, and I plan to try it as soon as I can get out to the store to buy semolina flour.

    I think there is an error in your nutritional values: you show that each slice contains 1.5 gm of sugar. However: the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, which is the equivalent of 16 tbsp; which means that each serving would include 1 Tbsp. And, 1 tbsp of sugar is about 15 gm, not 1.5 gm. Perhaps a decimal point slipped in during the recording of the info?

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      July 30, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Hi there, you’re so right…the sugar was actually left off the nutrition information by accident! Thank so much for pointing it out and I just updated it so it’s now correct.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Is there a way to use gf flour? Chickpea flour or cornmeal to make it gf

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      June 15, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Unfortunately semolina is not gluten-free and it’s an important part of the recipe. However, I would love to see you try it with a gluten free flour and let me know how it works!!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Followed your recipe and got to enjoy the best coffee companion: Sfouf
    Can’t stop eating it. Delicious

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