Kid-friendly Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup + Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drink Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup + Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drinks

Family Meal Plan: Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup + Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drink

Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup + Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drinks

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by iprachenko/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
50 minutes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup

Namoura is a light and delicious Lebanese cake that is often included in Ramadan celebrations. In a best-of-both-words kind of way, namoura is crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • Fresh:
  • 1 orange
  • Pantry:
  • 1 1/2 C white sugar
  • 2 1/2 C semolina flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub fine cornmeal)**
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 3 T tahini **(for SESAME ALLERGY sub sunflower seed butter, like Sunbutter)**
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 C vegetable oil
  • salt
  • turmeric (optional)
  • Dairy:
  • 2 3/4 C yogurt, vanilla or plain **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub soy yogurt)**

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • brush :

    to apply a liquid, like melted butter or marinade, to a pan or a food.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Small saucepan
  • Zester (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Wooden spoon
  • Oven
  • 9x13 baking dish
  • Pastry brush
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk


Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup

  • 1 orange, zested (use half of zest for syrup and half for cake—save orange for drink)
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 1/2 C semolina flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub fine cornmeal)**
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 3 T tahini **(for SESAME ALLERGY sub sunflower seed butter, like SunButter)**
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 C vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 C yogurt, vanilla or plain **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub soy yogurt)**
  • 1 pinch of salt

Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drinks

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 1/2 C yogurt, vanilla or plain **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub soy yogurt)**
  • 1/2 C sticky orange syrup (see recipe)
  • 1 C ice
  • 1 C cold water
  • 1 big pinch of turmeric, for color (optional)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute cornmeal for the semolina flour and gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour in the Cake.
  • Sesame: Substitute sunflower seed butter, like SunButter, for the tahini in the Cake.
  • Dairy: Substitute soy yogurt for the yogurt in the Cake.

Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drinks

  • Dairy: Substitute soy yogurt for the yogurt in the Drink.


Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup

wash + zest

Wash 1 orange and zest the peel (for the syrup and cake).

syrup: combine + simmer + stir

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and half the orange zest in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent boiling over.

remove + cool

Once the syrup has simmered, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool.

transfer + refrigerate

After 10 minutes, the syrup will be cool enough to transfer into a liquid measuring cup. Store the syrup in the refrigerator until the Sweet Semolina Namoura Yogurt Cake is out of the oven.

cake: preheat + measure + whisk

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Measure and whisk together the 2 1/2 cups semolina flour, 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 pinch of salt. Once all of those ingredients are well mixed, add 3/4 cup oil, 1 1/4 cups yogurt, and about 1 teaspoon of the orange zest. Stir to combine.

brush + pour + spread

Brush 3 tablespoons of tahini on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (or any baking dish you have). Then, once the tahini has been spread out, pour the namoura batter into the dish. The batter should be thick at this point, so it will need to be spread out to fit the shape of the dish. Use a spatula to spread the batter all around in the dish until you have a thin layer of batter.

cut shapes + bake

Before the cake batter goes into the oven, cut shapes into the batter. Squares and triangles are the two most common ways to shape namoura. Next, place the shaped batter in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown all over.

remove + cool + pour

Remove the cake from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the Sticky Orange Syrup over the top of the Namoura and allow it to soak into the cake while it cools for about 15 more minutes.

slice + serve

Now, slice the cake into pieces to serve!

Lebanese Limona Yogurt Drinks

combine + blend

Combine 1 peeled orange, 1 1/2 cups yogurt, 1/2 cup sticky orange syrup (see recipe), 1 cup of ice, 1 cup of cold water, and 1 big pinch of turmeric, if using, in a blender. Use as much of the orange as possible for a dreamy, creamsicle flavor. Blend until super smooth!

taste + serve

Taste the drink before serving to make sure it has a strong orange flavor. You can always add more sugar, yogurt, or orange to make the flavor perfect!

Surprise Ingredient: Semolina!

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Photo by Rodica Vasiliev/

Hi! I'm Semolina!

"I'm what is left after you mill durum wheat! But I'm not left behind! I am used to add texture and flavor to all sorts of yummy recipes. You will find semolina in savory dishes like pasta, couscous, and soup; and in sweet dishes like puddings and cakes. Bakers sometimes add semolina to bread and pizza pans to keep bread and pizza from sticking!"

  • Semolina flour is milled from Durum wheat, and "durum" means "hard" in Latin. When durum wheat is milled, rollers crack the wheat's endosperm into coarse semolina grains. The milling process includes grinding, sifting, and purifying the wheat to a customer's specifications. Most semolina is used to make pasta, and granulation requirements vary, although coarse grains are preferred.
  • If you want to make your own homemade pasta, you can find packaged semolina in grocery stores and recipes online and in cookbooks! 
  • Farina is similar to semolina but is milled from softer common wheat. It is used to make hot cereals or porridge, like Cream of Wheat.  
  • For people with celiac disease or gluten allergies, it is essential to note that semolina flour has a high gluten content. Cornmeal is a gluten-free replacement for semolina that works in many recipes. 
  • Semolina is high in protein and dietary fiber and has moderate amounts of the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, and folate. 
  • The word "semolina" comes from the late 18th century Italian "semolino," a diminutive of "semola" (bran), which is from the Latin "simila" (flour).

What is Namoura?

Photo by Anastasia_Panait/
  • Namoura is a dense, egg-free cake from Lebanon made with semolina flour and yogurt and soaked in sweet sugar syrup. It is often cut into diamond shapes. Namoura batter is traditionally mixed with two clean hands. 
  • In Egypt, a similar cake is called Basbousa, and in Greece and Turkey, a variation using eggs is called Ravani cake.

Let's Learn About Lebanon!

Photo by Photo by Nate Hovee from Pexels
  • Lebanon, officially the Republic of Lebanon, a country in Western Asia, borders Syria, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea. 
  • The Lebanese government is a Unitary Confessionalist Parliamentary Republic with a president, prime minister, and parliament. Political power is distributed among the country's various religious or confessional communities. 
  • Almost 5.6 million people live in Lebanon, and its total land area is 4,036 square miles. In comparison, the US state of Connecticut is 4,849 square miles and has 2 million fewer residents.
  • The capital of Lebanon is Beirut, and it is also the largest city in the country.
  • The official language of Lebanon is Arabic, but there is also a sizable French-speaking population due to Lebanon's history with France. In addition, people speak Arabic, French, English, and Armenian. 
  • Lebanon's history goes back at least 7,000 years. One of the world's oldest, continuously lived-in cities is Byblos, Lebanon. There is evidence that it has been inhabited since at least 5,000 BCE.  
  • Around 3200 BCE, it became the home of the Phoenicians, who prospered there until about 539 BCE. The Romans conquered Lebanon in 64 BCE. The Roman Temple of Bacchus, built in the 2nd century CE, still stands to this day.
  • In its history, Lebanon was conquered and occupied by other empires, including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and finally, the French, before achieving independence in 1943. This history created a very diverse population, and the government observes both Christian and Muslim holidays. 
  • Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate, which means dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, Lebanon also has a mountain range home to six ski resorts. You can actually ski in the morning and then swim in the Mediterranean Sea on the same day if you want to!
  • The tree on the country's flag is a Lebanon cedar, which used to cover most of the country's landscape. Over time, trees have suffered in Lebanon due to logging and forest fires, which are common during the long dry summers. Work is being done to add more trees. 
  • Education is important in Lebanon. The country is home to 41 universities and consistently ranks high in overall education, especially science and math.
  • Lebanese cuisine is not spicy yet is rich in flavor from a blend of fresh seasonings like parsley and mint and fruits, vegetables, grains, and seeds. Garlic, lemon, and olive oil are commonly used in dishes, and hummus and flatbread, like pita, are almost always included with each meal.
  • One of Lebanon's national dishes is "kibbeh," a meat pie made with spiced ground meat (often lamb) and bulgur (cracked wheat).
  • Chicken, lamb, or beef "shawarma" is another popular dish, prepared by marinating the meat and stacking slices on a slow-moving rotisserie skewer. As the outside layers roast, they are shaved off and often used in sandwiches and pita. It is also served with rice and tomatoes or pickled turnips. Shawarma is typically served with a garlic sauce.

What is it like to be a kid in Lebanon? 

  • Lebanese children speak Arabic. The family unit is important in Lebanon, and families are close-knit. Young people may have their grandparents living in the same household with them. 
  • About 60 percent of the students in Lebanon attend private schools. Kids learn Arabic, English, and French in school. 
  • In addition to the summer school holiday, some of the holidays that kids celebrate are Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.  
  • A child there may play soccer or basketball, or they might snow ski, swim, or surf. 
  • Kids eat various foods, including one that you may have tried, "hummus," a dip made with chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Another is "baklava," a phyllo dough pastry filled with nuts and honey or syrup. Others may be unfamiliar to you, such as "tabbouleh," a salad made with tomatoes, onions, bulgur, parsley, and mint.

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the orange stop at the top of the hill?

Because it ran out of juice!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the cake go to the doctor? 

Because it was feeling crumby.

THYME for a Laugh

"Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Orange who?" 

"Orange you going to answer the door?"

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the students eat their homework? 

Because the teacher said that it was a piece of cake.

The Yolk's On You

Why do oranges wear suntan lotion? 

Because they peel.

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