Safra - Traditional Libyan Semolina and Date Cake W/Syrup

Total Time
1hr 10mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 55 mins

Safra is a traditional cake from Libya. It is rich & aromatic with the flavours of cloves, cinnaomn & dates. To finish this delicious cake you drench it in syrup & leave it to soak for around 6 hours... then you can enjoy! Time to make doesn't include the syrup soaking time! Safra is eaten throughout the year but is very commonly eaten during Ramadan in Libya.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Put the oil and dates in a heavy skillet and cook over low heat, stirring continuously, for about 20 minutes, or until a thick paste has formed.
  2. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and cloves. Cool the paste. Mix cake ingredients except the almonds or cloves together into a thick batter.
  3. Put half of the batter into a cake tin 12 x 12 in., or 12 x 16 inches Put in the date filling, pressing it into the corners of the tin so that it covers the batter. Pour in the balance of the batter and smooth out the surface.
  4. Lightly score the top of the cake in 2- inches diamond shapes or square pieces. Put 1 blanched almond in the center of each diamond or press 1 whole clove into each piece, with the stem down. (clove is prettier but yor not going to eat it!).
  5. Put the cake tin into the center of the oven so that it bakes evenly, and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Put all syrup ingredients into a pan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. When the cake is removed from the oven, pour the hot syrup over the top and allow it to be absorbed.
  7. Let the cake stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours before eating.
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