Revani (Ravani) is a wonderful Greek semolina cake that is soaked in flavored syrup. It is fluffy, sweet and incredibly moist.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Make-ahead: The revani should ideally be prepared a day ahead to make it easier to unmold. The longer chill time also gives the flavors more chance to develop. You’ll find that your revani tastes even better the next day and has a wonderful texture. This makes it a great choice if you want to avoid any last minute baking.
- Customizable: You can flavor the cake however you like. I love using oranges but you could use lemon or flavor it with mastic for example. You can also add as much or as little syrup as you like. The amounts given in the recipe will yield a cake that is sweet and moist without drowning in a puddle of syrup. If it’s too sweet for your taste, you can decrease the amount of syrup used. Just note that the texture won’t be the same.
- Small batch: If you usually avoid cakes soaked in syrup because of the sugar content but would love a piece occasionally, then this recipe is for you! The amounts given in the recipe are for a small cake (17 cm/6.7 inches). If you’re sharing it with family or friends, you won’t have any leftovers to dream of in the middle of the night!
How to Make Revani, General Overview
Revani is composed of two parts:
- The syrup
- The cake
The process is quite simple.
- Prepare the syrup and let it cool down.
- Prepare the cake batter.
- Bake the cake.
- Soak in syrup as soon as it’s out of the oven.
- Cool down in the pan then invert onto a plate and serve.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients we’ll need.
You will need:
- Fine semolina: It will give the cake a wonderful texture, a subtle nutty flavor and a golden color. In case you missed it, we talked more about semolina when making Sfouf (Lebanese turmeric cake).
- Flour: All-purpose flour, to give structure to the cake.
- Butter: For tenderness, richness and flavor. It’s best to use unsalted butter and then simply add the salt yourself, for more control. We’ll be melting the butter before adding it to the cake batter. Just make sure it has cooled down first. If you add the butter when it’s hot, you’ll end up cooking the eggs!
- Sugar: You’ll need a little bit of sugar for the cake and a lot for the syrup!
- Eggs: The eggs will provide structure, richness and flavor. We’ll be whipping the eggs until light and fluffy for some airiness. Use room temperature eggs.
- Honey: The honey is added to the syrup for flavor, sweetness and to prevent crystallization.
- Water: You’ll need water to make the syrup.
- Flavorings: I like to flavor this cake with orange. We will use orange peel for the syrup. It will flavor the syrup and you can easily remove it when needed. And we’ll add some orange zest to the cake batter, for an even stronger flavor. You can use lemon instead if you prefer. I also like to add a little bit of vanilla extract. And just a little bit of salt, to enhance all the flavors.
- Baking powder: For a little bit of rise.
Let’s start by preparing the syrup so that it cools down before we pour it onto the cake.
Prepare the syrup
- Place the sugar and water in a medium-sized pot.
- Peel half an orange and add the orange peel to the pot. You can use a vegetable peeler for this.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat (heat 5 out of 9 for example), stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. This will take about 6 minutes. When it starts to boil, keep heating for 4 to 5 more minutes or until slightly thickened. The syrup will thicken more as it cools down. It shouldn’t be too thick or the cake won’t absorb it properly.
- Remove from the heat and add the honey.
- Stir to combine then set aside to cool down.
Prepare the batter
- Melt the butter and let it cool down slightly at room temperature while you prepare the cake batter.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, fine semolina, salt and baking powder.
- Place the eggs in a mixing bowl. Zest the remaining half of the orange over the eggs then add the sugar and vanilla extract.
- Mix on medium-high speed until light, fluffy and slightly thickened (about 4 minutes).
- Slowly pour the melted (and cooled) butter and mix on low speed to combine.
- Add the flour mixture in 4 additions and gently fold it in with a spatula. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl where some flour might have settled.
Bake the revani
- Pour the cake batter into a cake pan (17 cm/ 6.7 inch) that has been greased and lined with parchment paper. The cake has a tendency to stick so make sure you grease the pan well.
- Smoothen the surface if needed.
- Bake in the middle of a preheated oven (180°C/356°F, conventional setting) for 18-20 minutes or until golden. The edges of the cake should have just started to pull away from the sides of the pan. If you notice that the cake is browning too quickly, loosely cover it with a piece of parchment paper.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack (in the pan). Gradually add the syrup to the cake using a ladle. You should pour the syrup (not hot) as soon as the cake is out of the oven. Don’t pour all the syrup at once or the cake might get soggy and fall apart. Remove the orange peel and save it for another use. It tastes wonderful on its own!
- Poke a few holes in the cake (about 2/3 of the way down) using a skewer or a toothpick, so that it absorbs the syrup better.
- Cool down in the pan at room temperature (about an hour) then cover and chill, ideally overnight.
- To unmold, gently slide a spatula around the edges of the cake if it doesn’t release easily. I used a plastic knife so I wouldn’t damage my non-stick pan. Invert onto a plate and decorate with chopped pistachios, coconut flakes or whatever you like. Cut into small slices and serve.
And that’s it! Hope you love this cake!