Hilbeh (Fenugreek Cake)
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Prep time 30mins
Cook time 20mins

Recipe Card

For the Simple Syrup


  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Cake


  • 3 cups semolina
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups reserved fenugreek water
  • 2 -2 1/2 cups simple syrup

Make the Simple Syrup


  • Step 1

    Make your simple syrup a few hours ahead of time. Pour the water into the pot first then the sugar. This will keep the sugar from getting on the sides of the pan and causing it to crystalize later. Bring it to a gentle boil and then you can stir if needed. Add the lemon juice and simmer for ten minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Make the Cake

  • Step 1

    Place the fenugreek seeds in a small saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of water and cook until tender. They are bitter, so beware when you tase for doneness. Set aside to cool slightly.

  • Step 2

    Preheat the oven to 500 F. Mix the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Set aside to bloom.

  • Step 3

    Mix the semolina and flour together. Add the two oils and mix until evenly distributed. Strain the fenugreek and add to the semolina mixture. Set the water from the fenugreek aside, because you’ll need it later.

  • Step 4

    Add the yeast mixture and knead the dough together. You want a soft pliable dough. Add from the fenugreek water as needed to achieve a play dough texture dough. You want it to be soft enough to spread but still hold together.

  • Step 5

    Get your half sheet pan ready. Spread the dough onto the ungreased sheet pan. Evenly press the dough into the pan so you fill the entire pan and it’s an even thickness all around. Score and cut your hilbeh into 7 long strips. Next make diagonal lines to get nice little diamond shaped pieces. Set aside the pan for 15-30 minutes to allow the hilbeh to rise.

  • Step 6

    Once your hilbeh rises, bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Once it’s golden brown remove from the oven. Immediately pour the room temperature simple syrup on it. Lift the pan and tilt to evenly distribute it. Enjoy!