Semolina Turmeric Cake (Sfouf)

Sfouf is a traditional Lebanese desserts, and going by its ingredients, an Ayurvedic one too! A moist cake characterized by its turmeric color, it is made by mixing semolina, flour, oil, sugar, aniseed — and turmeric — together in a bowl, pouring the batter in a cake pan, and garnishing with slices of blanched almonds before baking (I used pine nuts for a more earthy taste). It's light, just the right amount of sweet, and packed with nutrients to feel good about. 



  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 TB aniseed
  • 2 cups fine semolina flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 TB Spiced Golden Milk, or simple turmeric powder
  • 1 TB finely ground aniseed (you can use a spice grinder)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 TB Tahini (sesame paste)
  • Blanched Almonds, halved (for decoration – you can substitute with pine nuts or 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds)


  • Boil water then add the aniseed and let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain tea and put aside to cool a little bit.
  • Preheat oven to 355ºF
  • In a large bowl, mix the fine semolina, flour, turmeric powder, ground aniseed, and baking powder.
  • Add the sugar to the tea until dissolved.
  • Add oil and tea/sugar mixture to the dry ingredients, then mix well. The batter will be slightly thick.
  • Cover the bottom and sides of an 11 inch round pan (or a rectangular pan) with Tahini.
  • Decorate with blanched almonds, pine nuts or sesame seeds
  • Bake for 40 min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the pan for 30 min then invert on a wire rack.
  • Cut into square or diamond shapes and enjoy!


The cake is traditionally cut into squares or diamond shapes in the baking pan, that’s why it is called Sfouf, meaning “Rows” in Arabic. 

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.