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Khoubz el Bey | Algerian Almond Honey Cake

Khoubz el Bery, the Queen of North African desserts so delicious that even satisfied the sweet of the old Algiers Bey. 

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Khoubz el Bey, originally believed to be called "Makchoufa" is the queen, the original of all the honey

ed, syrup cakes from North Africa. She is special cake, made of all almonds that was born in the luxurious kitchens of the time of Andulasia. The anonymous Andalusian cookbook of the 13th century translated by Charles Perry describes the cake in detail.

Almonds and honey were in abundance in Spain at time. There is a wider range of nuts in the el-Andalus but the almonds dominated. The safflower and indigo coloured pistachios are unique and used to decorate the cake. Today, we don't find indigo coloured pistachios so regular green will do.

Algeria was apart of the El Andalus empire up until the 1500s when the Amir pacha of Algiers, Selim b. Teumi, invited the corsair brothers Oruc and Hayreddin Barbarossa to expel the Spaniards. And Alger under Ottoman control was enclosed by a wall on all sides, including along the seafront. Small communities consisted of about fifty small quarters of Andalusian, Jewish, Moorish and Kabyle people. One could believe this almond cake seeped into the other cuisine of the neighbouring communities. But only during the time of the 17th century when Alger laBlanc was at its height, when the women of Alger held their traditions bouqâla did this cake get renamed and grow in popularity in Algeria.

This special dessert comes the Andulasian tradition and it gave birth to famously familar North African and Middle Eastern sweets like Qalb bel louz, Besboussa and Khoubz Tounis . In Andulasia cooking, they used real honey for this dessert, but nowadays Algerians make this cake with a thick sugar syrup. But you could alternatively use clover, acacia or orange blossom honey for a more healthier version - as I do.

๑۞๑ If you are using whole raw almonds then grinding them yourself for this cake, then take your raw whole almonds still in their skins and put them in a pot with water. Bring the water up the boil, then turn off the heat. Allow the almonds to cool in the water, then strain the almonds in a colander. Once the almonds are cool to the touch, you can rub the skins right off easily. Now you just lay them out on a clean kitchen towel until they dry. This will take about a day or two, until they completely dry out.
Traditionally the almonds were pounded in copper mortar and pestles, but now in these modern times such machines as robocoups (food processors) can aid us in easier kitchen work. Now when you are ready to grind the almonds, place the almonds in the machine's bowl, and run the machine for about 2 minutes or until you get a fine crumb. It should not be too fine, (as if you were using a coffee grinder) the type referred to as almond flour that are used to make gluten free cakes and also for marzipan (almond paste).

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So let's get started with the recipe.

KITCHEN TIME 🕓 ACTIVE PREP TIME : 10 min |   INACTIVE PREP TIME : overnight   |  COOK TIME : 25-30 min 

cakes | serves 8

  Khoubz el Bey  
Khoubz el Bey, the Queen of North African desserts so delicious that even satisfied the sweet of the old Algiers Bey.  


‣ 250g - 1.5 cups ground almonds
‣ 90g - 1/3 cup sugar
‣ 120g - 1/2 cup flour, sifted
‣ 4 whole eggs
‣ 2 egg yolks
‣ 1/2 packet (5g - 1tsp) baking powder
‣ zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
‣ generous pinch of ground cardamom

‣ 1 liter - 1quart water
‣ 500g - 1lb sugar
‣ 1 lemon, cut in half

‣ 1 TBS orange blossom water

decor either one of these:
‣ flaked almonds, ground almonds, ground pistachios,coconuts,candied coated almonds, maraschino cherries

1.Prepare the syrup by adding the water, syrup, and lemon in a heavy bottom pot to boil. Once the ingredients are boiling, reduce the heat so they reduce to a syrup.If you're using honey, simply heat the honey with the lemon and orange blossom water.

2.Preheat the oven to 150° C - 225° F.

3. When the syrup has reduced and is thick, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

4. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Set aside.

5. Prepare the cake batter by beating the eggs (whole and yolks) with the sugar until frothy like a mousse. Then fold in slowly the flour, almonds, baking powder, cardamom, lemon zest and salt gently with a spatula.

6. Grease a 28-30cm round or rectangular 2 liter casserole Pyrex dish or even rectangular baklava dish.

7. Pour the batter in the dish.Bake in the oven for 25-30m.Once the cake is set - but the edges are not golden or browned yet turned off the oven and allow the cake to cool in the oven.

8. Take the cake out of the oven and pour the cooled syrup over the hot cake.

Decorate the cake now with the nuts of your choice. Allow the syrup to absorb for at least 6 hours. But overnight is best.
9. Cut the cake into squares or diamonds.

    Make Ahead
    ⇝ The dessert can be easily a day or two made ahead, chilled and stored in a container if you're making it for a gathering.But remember it may dry out a bit, so you'll need to drizzle it again with honey.

    ⇝ This dessert can be stored on the countertop for 3 day, in the fridge for up to 5 days. This dessert  isn't freezable.

    ⇝ You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free flour.

    Grain-Free  & Paleo
    ⇝ You can easily make this dessert by omitting the flour and using coconut flour instead.

    Vegan & Vegetarian
    ⇝ Use flax eggs instead of the chicken eggs for vegan option.

     CATEGORIES: dessert, quick & easy,   RAMADAN,  eid, algerian sweet

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       ➤ This dessert would beautifully with Mint Tea or an Algiers style coffee.
      ➤ To see other North African honeyed cakes, click here.
      ➤ Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

      which desserts do you like to serve when you have guests over?


      1. Salam Alaikum,

        MashaAllah tasty dessert and now i know where dh's favourite cake (qalb el louz) came from. <3

      2. Salaam Heni

        This looks delicious mashAllah, and I love hearing about the history behind it. I have never baked with ground almonds before. If I am grinding them myself, what consistency should they be? Should it be like flour or coarser? Thanks!

      3. Esalaamu aleikoum Asmaa and hello Julie: thank you both for reading my blog and commenting.

        Enchallah I will take a look at both your blogs and follow you both.

        @Asmaa yes Khoubz el Bey is the orginator of many honeyed desserts like Qalb belouz and Besboussa etc. It's a very rich cake but nevertheless a special for special events like Eid.

        @Julie, sorry for not being clear I will edit the recipe. But I used blanced almonds. I bought whole raw almonds in their skin. Boiled them so the skins would rub off. Then laid out to dry. Once dried, I grind them in the robocoup(food processor) until they were fine, but not too fine like almond flour, like the kind they use for making marzipan. I ran my machine for about 2minutes, but really if you just grind the almonds to the consistency which appeals to you it is fine. Cheers, and please let me know how the cake turns out if you make it!

      4. Inspiring quest there. What occurred after?

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