This is a common dessert in Turkey, but I don’t know why it is called “Damascus” dessert. My one guess is that sometimes instead of shredded coconut, it’s decorated with crushed pistachios. And in Turkish pistachio is called either “Damascus nut” or “Antep nut” (a southeastern city in Turkey that borders Syria). The recipe is from my mom and is one of her favorites because it requires neither eggs nor oil. Since it’s not very heavy you can eat more!
for the syrup
3 1/2 cup water
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
for the cake
1 cup semolina
1 cup bleached flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
-Mix sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pot and boil for 1-15 minutes. Turn it off and let it cool down.
-In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the cake. Pour them in a greased panggangan dish (We used a 13 1/2 X 10 1/2 one, but you can definitely use a smaller dish for a thicker cake).
-Bake it at 350-370F for 20-25 minutes until it gets brownish.
-Cut the cake in rectangles, squares, or diamonds.
-Pour the syrup that has cooled down on the hot cake. Let it soak the syrup in the cooling oven.
-You can sprinkle shredded coconut or pistachio, or put an almond on each piece.
-Serve it cold.