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No bake oriental semolina cake (aka Halva)

No bake, no butter, no eggs, no dairy in this recipe. Requiring only one pan, this semolina cake has a pudding-like consistency, is extra moist and delicious!
Course Dessert, Sweet
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword cake, halva, no-bake, semolina, vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 -10


  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil (I use half olive oil and half sunflower oil)
  • 2 cups semolina (coarsely ground, or half coarse and half fine)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (you can substitute all white sugar)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Lightly oil an 8 cup bundt pan, or another mold of your preference.
  2. Make the syrup: Place in a pot the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.
  3. In the meantime, in a large, deep pot heat the oil and semolina. Cook in medium high or high heat, stirring constantly until it gets deeper in color and starts to smell nutty. Take off the heat.
  4. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves from the syrup and add the vanilla.

    Carefully – because it will bubble a lot and may pop – add the syrup in the pot with the semolina mixture.

    Return to heat, reduce to medium and stir until the mixture thickens. It should be like a thick cake batter, but with coarse granules

  5. Spoon the batter in the mold and press it to fill every gap.

    Let it cool for 30 minutes and invert it onto a plate. It will need a few taps to come off the mold.

  6. Serve plain or with some fruits preserved in thick sugar syrup.