Samali: Indulge in the Sweet Elegance of Traditional Greek Semolina Cake with Extra Syrup

 Samali (Σάμαλι in Greek) is the name of a cake that is made from semolina and yogurt. Samali is a traditional dessert that is popular in various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. 

It is a sweet, syrupy cake that is made with semolina flour, sugar, and yogurt, and it is often flavored with orange zest. Once this cake is ready, a rich syrup is poured over it. For this reason, samali falls under the category of "syropiasta" desserts. Syropiasta means "in syrup". The syrup infuses the cake with moisture and sweetness, giving it a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Unlike ravani, another famous syropiasto dessert, you do not need flour and eggs to make samali. This recipe requires the following ingredients: semolina (fine and coarse), sugar, yogurt, baking soda, lemon juice, orange zest, butter, vanilla extract, almonds, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick.

This samali recipe takes 20 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to bake. It has a two-hour waiting time. 


Samali - Ingredients

  • 350 g of semolina, fine 
  • 150 g of semolina, coarse
  • 200 g of sugar
  • 700 g of Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Lemon juice, from ½ of a lemon  
  • 20 g of baking powder
  • 4 tbsps. of orange zest
  • 4 tbsps. of butter, melted
  • 1 vanilla extract
  • Almonds, whitened and divided in half

For Samali Syrup

  • 750 g of sugar
  • 500 g of water
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 1 vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Samali - How to Make

  1. Start this authentic samali recipe by taking a bowl and adding both types of semolina with sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and orange zest. Mix the ingredients well. 
  2. In a big glass of water add the baking soda to the lemon juice. Take another bowl and add the yogurt. Add the lemon juice to the yogurt and mix well.
  3. Add the yogurt mixture into the semolina mixture bowl.
  4. With the help of a mixer, mix the ingredients well until you get a homogeneous moisture mix making sure that it is firm enough.
  5. Grease well a 30-32 cm baking pan and with the help of a spatula evenly spread the mixture.
  6. Cover the pan with a plastic membrane and place it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  7. Take the baking pan from the refrigerator and cut the samali with a knife, into pieces.
  8. Decorate with almonds.
  9. Bake the samali at 180°C for about 45 minutes until the surface of the samali gets a nice golden color. 
  10. Take a pot and add all the syrup ingredients. Boil for around 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the samali from the oven and evenly pour the syrup with the help of a spoon.
  12. Allow the cake to absorb well the syrup before serving. 
Samali is served as a dessert or sweet treat with tea or coffee or even ice cream. It is a beloved dessert throughout Greece and the Mediterranean, and its popularity has spread to other parts of the world as well.  Enjoy!