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Samali (Σάμαλι)

A semolina cake flavoured with syrup and mastic (mastiha) and soaked with a sweet syrup
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: greek cake, Mia Kouppa cake, Mia Kouppa dessert, Samali, Semolina, Semolina cake, Siropiasta, Syrup-soaked cake
Servings: 1 cake
Author: Mia Kouppa


For the cake

  • 2 cups coarse semolina (or 350 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups Greek yogourt, plain (or 330 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups superfine sugar (or 300 grams) see Note
  • 1/2 tsp ground masticha (mastic powder)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (or 60 ml)
  • 1 tbsp grated orange rind
  • vegetable oil for lightly coating baking pan
  • slivered almonds for decoration

For the syrup

  • 1 1/2 cup water (or 375 ml)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or 200 grams)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (or 60 ml)
  • orange peel, white pith removed


For the syrup

  • Combine all of the syrup ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside, covered.

For the cake

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the semolina, baking powder, baking soda, and mix until well combined. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a plastic spatula incorporate the rest of the ingredients and mix well until everything is well combined.
  • Lightly grease a 8 x 10 inch rectangular baking pan and pour in the batter ensuring even distribution.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 2 hours or until the cake appears dry (the liquid has been absorbed).
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a sharp knife to score your samali into your serving pieces. Top each piece with a slivered almond.
  • Bake, uncovered, in the middle rack of your oven for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and immediately pour on the cooled syrup, being sure to distribute it evenly.
  • Allow to rest for approximately 30 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!


You can purchase superfine sugar but it is not always easy to find.  Alternatively, place granulated white sugar in a blender and blend for a few seconds until your sugar is a very fine texture.
If you only find pieces of mastic (this is ideal) and need to grind it yourself, a mortar and pestle works very well.