Lebanese Sfouf Cake

Servings: 30 2- to 3-inch pieces
Recipe by: Maureen Abood

You can adjust the flavorings some if you need to; i.e., leave out the anise if that’s not a crowd-pleaser there. Sfouf will keep for a good week in an airtight container. Find excellent tahini here and the very best pine nuts you can buy here, at Maureen Abood Market.



  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour (fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground aniseed
  • 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt, or laban
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position. Coat the bottom of a 9-inch square (or round) cake pan with the tahini.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, turmeric, and aniseed. 

  3. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla until the sugar dissolves (it won’t entirely), then add the oil and whisk vigorously until combined.

  4. Whisk the liquid mixture into the dry mixture until everything is well-combined.

  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top. To end up with a nut in the center of lozenge/diamond-shaped pieces of cake, place the nuts about 2 inches apart in rows, but set the nut pointing toward the corners of the pan (diagonally). It also helps to score the top of the batter in diamonds so you can see where to place the nuts in the center of each diamond. To do this, make five scores straight across and seven scores diagonally, the same way we cut baklawa. Or, scatter the nuts evenly over the top of the batter.

  6. Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Then, turn on the broiler and carefully brown the top of the cake, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Cut into diamonds and serve.