Thursday, 30 June 2011

Revani - Semolina Syrup Cake

This is a Sephardic dish.  The Turks loved it so much that they have claimed it as thier own and it appears the Greeks have too.  As far as the syrup desserts in Turkey this could probably be the lightest.  

In some areas you can buy this from a man pushing an enclosed cart for 50kurus a piece.  When I lived in Adana there was a very old man walking the streets of my neighbourhood selling this.  I used to buy a few slices and it really was and still is the nicest one besides mine of course that I have tasted.  I asked my husband about him and he said that this man was selling Revani on the streets when he was a small child and it still tasted the same.  This mans wife makes it every day and her husband then goes off to sell it. I used to be worried that he wouldnt sell all but my fears where allayed as he was an institution and everyone bought off him.

Revani is also a very easy cake to make and there are 2 stages in making it.  First you have to make the cake batter and then there is making the sugar syrup.

It is traditionally made with lemon but you could switch that with orange if you preferred.  You could also add in poppy seeds and have a Turkish style orange poppy seed cake (one of my favorites).  You can make this without the baking powder for those who would want to make it for Passover, what you would do is add a couple more eggs and beat the egg whites until stiff then make the cake without the flour and yogurt.

You can see in this photo that the Revani seems heavier, they have used more syrup the one above is a bit lighter.  This man was selling pieces of Revani off the back of his motor bike at the wedding I went to.

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup yogurt
1 cup oil
2 cups semolina
1 cup flour
1tbsp baking powder
1tbsp grated lemon zest

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1tsp lemon juice

First make the syrup by adding the sugar, water and lemon juice together bringing it to the boil and let it boil for 10 minutes, after that time you should have a nice thick syrup.

Beat the eggs and the sugar together in a large bowl.  Beat for about 5 minutes.  Add in everything else and beat well.  Pour into an oiled cake tin, I use a pyrex baking dish.  Bake in a moderate oven at about 350 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes until it is nice and brown.  It should spring back when done.

When the cake has cooled slightly pour the syrup over it bit by bit.  Let it soak up first before pouring any more on. If you dont want a syrupy cake pour less, if you want a heavier one use a little more.  Cut into squares and serve.


  1. Imagine how good this ladies cake must be after refining the recipe and technique for so many years! Like the Asian street vendors who only make one dish, but have lines of customers every single day too.

    Do you like your cake heavier or lighter?

  2. I have to say hers was great. It depends on my mood or time of the month heavier is good sometimes but generally the lighter the better.

  3. Yay! I have been searching for a recipe for this type of cake. can't wait to try your recipe.

  4. Let me know how it works out!