Turkish Revani: Semolina Cake Steeped In Syrup

semolina_cake_revani
'Revani' is a yellow cake made from semolina steeped in lemony syrup. Photo © Only Fabrizio - Fotolia.com
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 15 Servings
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Revani (reh-vah-NEE') is a classic dessert that has been present in Turkish cuisine since the Ottoman period. It's said to have been given its name when the Ottomans conquered the city of Yerevan in what is today Armenia.

Revani is one of the most common desserts in Turkish cuisine that's served both at home and in restaurants. It is a simple dessert made with a single layer of soft, yellow semolina sponge cake steeped in lots of light syrup.

Different versions of revani exist in many cuisines throughout the eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Egypt, and Jordan to name a few. Try this easy recipe and experiment with different flavorings to make authentic Turkish revani at home.

What You'll Need

  • For The Syrup:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • For The Cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup uncooked semolina
  • 1/4 cup finely ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Coconut flakes and ground nuts for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease a 9 x13 baking pan.
  2. Before you start making the cake, prepare the syrup to give it time to cool down. Begin by mixing the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat on high and bring the mixture to a boil while continuously stirring it. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let the syrup boil gently for about 10 minutes with the cover off. Add the lemon juice toward the end. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool down while you make the rest of the recipe.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar--whisk the mixture briskly for several minutes until the sugar dissolves. The more you whisk, the better your revani will turn out.
  2. Add the oil, lemon zest, vanilla and yogurt and whisk for several minutes more.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix together well until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan. Bake until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Once you remove the pan from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. Cut the cake into portion-sized squares or rectangles while still in the pan.
  6. Using a large spoon, slowly drizzle all of the cooled syrup over the cake and let it soak in. Cover the cake with foil and refrigerate it for several hours.
  7. Before serving, garnish each square of cake with a pinch of coconut and ground nuts.

You can also make orange-flavored revani by substituting the lemon zest and juice with orange zest and juice. Or, you can eliminate the lemon all together and use rose water instead to give the cake a wonderful rose aroma.