Revani is a classic semolina cake that's easy and so delicious. Soaked in a light simple syrup, this cake is popular throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean.
As a daughter of the Middle East and a lover of all things sweet, my dessert of choice is always a good syrup-soaked cake like my Persian love cake or a classic baklava, preferably with a cup of freshly brewed tea. I was lucky to end up living in Istanbul for a while because Turkey doesn't fall short when it comes to syrup-soaked desserts. This classic ravani cake is one of them. We'll be posting more recipes like this one in the coming months, so be sure to bookmark the blog and subscribe to our email list to keep up with our latest work!
Table Of Contents:
What is revani?
Revani, pronounced reh-va-nee and also known as ravani, is a classic syrup-soaked cake that's popular in many parts of the Middle East and Mediterranean including Turkey, Greece, Yemen and Egypt. Each country has its own variation of this cake: for example, the Greek version uses coconut in the batter.
This cake is different from basbousa since it contains eggs (basbousa has no eggs or all purpose flour). The recipe I'm sharing with you today is Turkish revani, which you can find in many restaurants and patisseries around Turkey.
The cake is soaked in a simple syrup than is sometimes infused with lemon juice or orange blossom water. Just like baklava, the cold syrup is poured over the warm baked good, yielding a perfectly tender and sweetly soaked texture.
- Sugar: You need granulated sugar for both the syrup and the cake. The cake doesn't use much sugar since it's going to be sweetened by simple syrup.
- Eggs: Use large eggs for this recipe. It's best to have them at room temperature.
- Oil: You can use any kind of neutral flavored oil for this cake including vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil or sunflower oil.
- Yogurt: Any kind of plain yogurt including whole milk, low-fat or non-fat works in this recipe. If using non-dairy yogurt, make sure it's not flavored.
- Semolina: You can find semolina in supermarkets or Mediterranean and Middle Eastern shops. There are 3 types of semolina flour out there: coarse, medium and fine. To make revani, we use fine semolina.
- All purpose flour: Regular all purpose flour works best for this recipe. Don't substitute with whole wheat or other kinds of flour.
How to make revani cake
- Start by making the simple syrup. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the lemon juice and let it cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer or a whisk for about 5 minutes. The mixture should become fluffy and light in color.
- Add in the vegetable oil, yogurt and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Then add the semolina, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smoothen the top using a spatula. Bang the pan a couple of times on the counter to release the air bubbles. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Slice it into 12 pieces in the pan and pour the cool syrup all over the cake using a ladle. Let the cake sit for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
- Gently take the slices out of the pan and place them on a serving late. Top with desiccated coconut and ground pistachios if desired.
Tips to make this recipe
- Cool syrup: You need to make sure that the syrup is completely cool before pouring it on the cake. The warm cake and cold syrup is the key to moist and fluffy revani cake. You can make the syrup up to 2 days ahead of time.
- Lining the baking pan: To easily line the pan, first coat it with cooking spray then line it with parchment paper. You don't need to line the edges of the pan, just the bottom is enough.
- Cake slices: Don't slice the cake into smaller pieces. The cake is warm and very tender and it could fall apart if slices into smaller pieces.
Storage and freezing
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can serve it cold or at room temperature. The cake probably won't be as moist after a day, but it'll still taste very good.
As for freezing, I don't recommend doing so since the cake would dry out. The texture will be different and not as pleasant.
Frequently asked questions
Semolina is made from hard durum wheat and is high in gluten. It's a key ingredient in this recipe and unfortunately cannot be substituted with anything.
The cake should be ready after 30 minutes of baking at 350 degrees F. To make sure. insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean and with little to no crumbs, it's ready.
I don't recommend changing the measurements or making half of the recipe because it can change the texture and flavor of the cake.
The cake will be dry if all the syrup is not used, therefore I recommend using all the syrup.
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Revani (Turkish Semolina Cake)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- ½ lemon juice of
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup vegetable oil see notes
- 1 cup plain yogurt see notes
- 1 ¼ cup semolina flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup desiccated coconut unsweetened
- ¼ cup ground pistachio
- To make the syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the lemon juice. Let the syrup cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer and a whisk until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the vanilla extract vegetable oil and yogurt. Add the semolina flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine.
- Transfer the batter into the baking pan. Smoothen the top and bang it a couple of times on the counter and release the extra air. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. To make sure the cake is ready, insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean, it's ready.
- Let the cake cool for 5 minutes. Slice it into 12 squares in the pan and pour the cold syrup all over the cake using a ladle. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before serving. If desired, top with desiccated coconut and ground pistachio.
- You can use any kind of neutral flavored oil including vegetable oil, sunflower oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil.
- For this recipe use plain yogurt. It can be whole milk, low-fat or non-fat or even non-dairy yogurt. In case of using non-dairy yogurt, make sure it's not flavored.
- It's very important to make sure the the syrup is completely cold before pouring it over the cake, otherwise the cake will fall apart. You can make the syrup up to 2 days in advance.
- This cake is very fluffy and soft therefore it's best not to slice it into smaller pieces since it's still hot and might fall apart.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Serve cold or at room temperature. I don't recommend freezing this cake since it would get dry and the texture won't be the same.