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Middle Eastern Kodafa Honey Cake

Kodafa Cake is a delicious sweet that gets its honey and pistachio goodness from the Middle East. While you’ve probably tried a sweet with similar flavors before, we’ll bet this is the first time you’ve used couscous as a dessert! Since it’s so mild, couscous is the perfect base for this cake, and it’s even better when accompanied by mild cheeses that add just the right amount of creaminess to the center of your treat. Honey can be a little cloying when used too heavy-handedly, so the cheese and semolina (couscous is neither grain nor pasta) keep this dish scrumptious and balanced.

Aside from achieving amazing flavor, this dessert is super easy to make! Couscous doesn’t really need to be “cooked”; rather, it just needs time to soften, so you can dedicate yourself to the other tasks in the kitchen after setting this up. Whether or not your goal is to try something new and exciting, this cake is absolutely delightful and would make the perfect accompaniment to any lunch or picnic, and would also serve as a lovely way to finish off one of your lighter weekly dinners. Go ahead and give it a try!



Serves 6


  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups honey, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup pistachios or almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 pinches saffron threads (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Set 2 1/4 cups of water to boil.
  2. Place couscous in a large bowl and pour boiling water over the top.
  3. Stir well and let soak until water is completely absorbed and couscous is cooked. About 30 minutes.
  4. Using a fork (or your fingers), fluff the couscous to break up any lumps and stir in cubed butter. Then add beaten egg and salt.
  5. Preheat oven to 400º F and spread 1/2 cooked couscous mixture into a 10-inch springform pan or baking dish.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta and cottage cheeses, then pour in 1/4 cup honey and stir well.
  7. Gently spread cheese mixture over the couscous and even out the top. Spread remaining couscous over the cheese and pat down carefully.
  8. Place pan in oven and bake for 12 minutes.
  9. While baking, combine remaining honey, water and saffron threads in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  10. Cook for around 6 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  11. Remove kodafa from oven and turn on broiler. Cook for 1-3 minutes, or until golden brown crust has formed.
  12. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top of the cake and top immediately with honey syrup.
  13. Cut into slices and serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Just Eileen And Karen 

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