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Revani; A deliciously moist, Semolina Cake in Syrup

Revani; deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup; this lighter version is still packed with flavor.

Revani; deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup; this lighter version is still packed with a lot of flavor.

My 9 year old son asked if we may bake anneanne’s (grandma’s) Revani semolina cake the other day and our heart was set. We don’t enjoy overly sweet desserts and this delicious, moist semolina sponge cake in lighter syrup has been a favorite with us. We love semolina’s grainy, nutty texture, the goodness from yoghurt and the refreshing lemony flavor in revani. I also used mild olive oil here and worked really well; lighter but still packed with a lot of flavor.

Revani has been a popular dessert with us Turks since the Ottoman Period; it is believed that the name Revani is given when the Ottomans conquered the city of Yerevan in today’s Armenia. Revani has many versions and been enjoyed in various cuisines especially in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, as well as in Turkey. I have seen the addition of rose water, orange flower water and orange zest  to revani, all sounds delicious.

My daughter's revani in cupcake; turned out wonderful!:)

My daughter’s revani cupcake; turned out wonderful!:)

Make sure to prepare the syrup ahead of time and that it is completely cool before pouring over the semolina cake, otherwise the cake gets soggy. Traditionally it is baked in a baking dish but my 6 year old daughter also wanted to make a few Revani cupcakes and they turned up rather wonderful!:) If you would like to bake revani as cupcakes, make sure to grease each cupcake shell with olive oil and not to overfill. If you are using paper cupcake shells, I suggest you to have 2 paper shells stacked together to provide a firm base, so that the batter won’t spill.

In Turkey, we like to decorate Revani with ground pistachio and desiccated coconut.  I hope you can give this delicious, moist revani a try, it makes any day special.

Serves 6 – 8

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes for the cake and 15 minutes for the syrup

165 gr/ 6oz / 1 cup fine grain semolina

200gr/7oz/1 cup (not too full) sugar

45ml/3 tbsp. plain flour

5ml/1 tsp. baking powder

225gr/8oz/1 cup plain (whole milk) yoghurt

3 medium eggs

60ml/ 4 tbsp. olive oil (regular or light)

10ml/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon and Juice of ½ lemon

For the syrup:

300gr/10.5oz/1 ½ cup sugar

375ml/12 fl. oz. / 1 ½ cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

Ground pistachio nuts and desiccated coconut to serve

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4

First make the syrup, as it needs to cool down. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan (at a medium heat). Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, uncovered. Add the lemon juice, mix well and simmer for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the syrup cool down while you make the semolina cake.

Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well until you have a smooth batter.

Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well until you have a smooth batter.

Grease a square or rectangular baking dish (mine was 20 cm x 27 cm – about 8”x 10”) with 2 tbsp. olive oil. First beat the eggs and the sugar in a large mixing bowl briskly for a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Then add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, yoghurt, semolina, flour, the baking powder and beat well.  Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. To check; insert a toothpick to the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, that means the cake is cooked. If not, bake for another 3-5 minutes.

Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down

Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down

 Using a large spoon, drizzle the cooled syrup all over the semolina cake. Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down. Once cool, cut the revani in square or diamond shapes; you can serve revani with ground pistachio and desiccated coconut over the top like we do in Turkey.

Revani; semolina sponge cake in syrup, delicious.

Revani; semolina sponge cake in syrup, delicious.

Revani gets even better the next day and keeps well, covered, for a good few days. In Turkey, we enjoy revani with Turkish coffee  or Cay, Turkish tea by the side.

A very memorable Turkish tea, cay, I recently enjoyed at the Sofra Restaurant, Covent Garden - London

A very memorable Turkish tea, cay, I recently enjoyed at the Sofra Restaurant, Covent Garden – London

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Dunyanin Turk Sefleri, “Turkish Chefs of the World” TV program coming up at TRT Turk – with a little part from Ozlem’s Turkish Table 🙂

Delighted to have a small part at the Turkish Chefs of the World TV program; here with Milliyet food writer Sureyya Uzmez and TRT Producer Ahmet Sabuncu

Delighted to have a small part at the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program for TRT Turk; here with Milliyet food writer Sureyya Uzmez and TRT Producer        Ahmet Sabuncu

I was delighted to have a small yet delightful part at the Culinary TV program being shot for the Turkish TRT Turk channel, in London’s Covent Garden last weekend. TRT Turk is the Cultural – News channel of Turkey’s national TV channel, TRT, aired over 70 countries. The name of the program is Dunyanin Turk Sefleri, “Turkish Chefs of the World”, being shot in many European cities like in Vienna, Hamburg, London as well as in Japan, and more series will include shots in New York too. During the program, Milliyet Daily food writer Mr. Sureyya Uzmez aims to explore the world cuisines and the presence of Turkish cuisine within those countries. They kindly included an interview with me too at London’s Covent Garden about Turkish cuisine. We talked about the rise of natural, healthy eating globally how the Turkish cuisine fits the bill well with the emphasis on seasonality, fresh produce and artful use of spices. I also mentioned the growing interest for Turkish cuisine, thanks to you wonderful readers, and your enthusiasm to even tackle Turkish landmarks like Turkish Delight, Lokum, Simit – the sesame encrusted bread rings – , Gozleme; Anatolian stuffed flat breads and more. The program is scheduled to go on air later October – exciting times, stay tuned!:)

 

 

 

 

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54 Responses to Revani; A deliciously moist, Semolina Cake in Syrup

  1. Phil in the Kitchen October 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    I’ve seen many versions of this cake and I’ve often thought I’d like to try making it. Somehow, I’ve never got around to it, partly because I wasn’t sure which version to try. But I’ve no real excuse now – this does sound delicious. Congratulations on the TV appearance.

    • Ozlem Warren October 2, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Thank you Phil, this is a little lighter than normal, but we do enjoy it – thanks for giving it a go!

  2. Alan October 2, 2013 at 5:27 am #

    . . no sweet tooth/teeth(?) here either – this is probably our favorite pud. Great for you to be included in the tv programme and well deserved – I shall bathe in your reflected glory 😀

    • Ozlem Warren October 2, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      very kind of you Alan, mine was a small part, any opportunity to promote Turkish cuisine 🙂 I hope you enjoy the program! Cok selamlar, Ozlem

  3. senior dogs abroad October 2, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Özlem,

    How exciting that you are going to be among the Turkish chefs of the world! Can’t wait to catch it on TRT.
    Thanks so much for this recipe. I remember a few years ago when I was visiting Gaziantep, having just lived in Turkey for a few months, when I was eating my way through this wonderful, delicious city, I ran across a man with a cart selling these heavenly cakes. I had no idea what they were but when I tasted it, I was in heaven. So I’m glad that now I have a good recipe. (Also during that trip, for the first time, I had şalgam, sahlep, menemen – oh, I was so stuffed by the time we left, I thought I would explode!)

    • Ozlem Warren October 2, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      Merhaba Jolee, thank you so much for your kind note; I was delighted to have a little part at the program – I’d say more of a Turkish food enthusiast, who’s very happy to share & spread the word on Turkish cuisine abroad : ) Your trip to Gaziantep sounds heavenly, a serious foodie destination 🙂 hope you enjoy the revani!
      cok selamlar, Ozlem

  4. Sarah October 2, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Ozlem, thank you for sharing this. I LOVE revani / basbousa in all its forms, and have never tried an olive oil version! I took a Turkish cooking class at Central Market San Antonio inspired by your recipes, and I wish I had been able to attend your Austin appearance recently. I hope to take one of your cooking classes one day soon!

    • Ozlem Warren October 2, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Dear Sarah, thank you very much for stopping by, I hope you enjoy our version of revani; my mother always make it with mild olive oil, it is lighter but still packed with flavor. I very much to have you at my cooking class next time; Central Market Cooking School in SA is a very special place, either in Austin or in SA, hope to meet you soon! Selamlar, Ozlem

  5. Peri October 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    It certainly is a lighter and delicious looking version. Such a simple recipe. So thrilled on the Turkish TV interview, waiting to see it! Give me a heads up when it appears…xxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren October 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      This is the way we used to enjoy when I was a child Peri, mum always used to bake this delicious semolina cake with olive oil; the syrup is a little lighter here but we do enjoy it a lot this way – thanks for your kind words re the TV program, i will keep you posted 🙂 Ozlem xx

  6. Claudia October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    I love the way you describe this dessert, Özlem – YUM!!!! And well done you for being in this programme of Turkish chefs – you truly deserve it! Aferin sana xxx

    • Ozlem Warren October 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Merhaba Claudia 🙂 you know how we feel about the really sweet desserts:) this one ticks the box as it is a delicious treat yet not too sweet! Thank you for your kind words, I was delighted to have a small part : )

  7. backtobodrum October 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    This looks like a great recipe – I usually find renai too heavu so I’ll give this one a go. Pls let us know when you are going to be “on air”.

    • Ozlem Warren October 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      Merhaba, thank you – we do enjoy this one, look forward to hearing how it turns out for you, thanks for giving it a go. Will post when it’s on air – I just hope I won’t miss myself 🙂

  8. misbah October 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Merhaba Ozlem. I dont bake so much with semolina, now I have an excuse. Your recipe looks very delicious. And also congratulation on the tv interwiev. xo Misbah

    • Ozlem Warren October 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Thank you Misbah for stopping by, merhaba to you too 🙂 The grainy semolina is delicious in this sponge cake, hope you enjoy this version – thank you for your kind words 🙂 Ozlem x

  9. Fatma November 16, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    I have just tried this recipe, it is extremely delicious. It was quite thin batter I thought it would not cook but it tuned out so yummy. Wonder can we add desiccated coconut in the batter? Will try next time. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Ozlem Warren November 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Merhaba Fatma, so glad you enjoyed Revani; I suppose you can add coconut in the batter, it would give a nice texture and taste too – not the traditional way but why not? Look forward to hearing how it turns out : )

  10. Cali December 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    I just made this cake yesterday and this recipe is the BEST Ive tried so far and the cake even tastes better than the ones I’ve had in restaurants. My revani came out the color of gingerbread because I used coconut sugar instead of white sugar but the flavors are delicious. I also used rosewater instead of orange water. I hope that you continue to post delicious recipes. I haven’t explored the entire blog yet but I would like to put in requests for these recipes if you haven’t posted them already:

    gozleme
    kayseri manti
    sam tatlisi
    kunafe

    thanks!

  11. Vanita Mirchandani March 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    I made the Revani yesterday and it was a hit with everyone.

    I followed the recipe to the T but even when it was fully done, it was not brown on top.
    So i stuck it under the broiler for a couple of minutes and it browned.

    Very yummy.

    • Ozlem Warren March 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      Hello Vanita, many thanks for your kind note, so glad to hear you enjoyed Revani; this dessert turns up lightish brown and I must say I like it that way; sometimes it can get quite bitter if it’s overly brown. So glad you all enjoyed it. Many thanks for stopping by, Ozlem

  12. Aruna Panangipally June 9, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Hello Ozlem,

    I tried Revani yesterday. Turned out to be fantastic! I thought so, my family thought so, and my colleagues at work thought so. 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren June 9, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

      Merhaba Aruna, so delighted to hear that you all enjoyed Revani, wonderful news! Thank you so much for sharing, afiyet olsun : )
      Ozlem

  13. mayine dill December 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Hello,
    Baking this cakecright now, am excited! Wasn’t clear though re: 4 Tbsp olive oil. Should this be separated, 2 Tbsp to grease the pan plus 2 Tbsp for the recipe or 4 Tbsp for the batter? Thanks. Mayine

    • Ozlem Warren December 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

      Merhaba Mayine, many thanks for your note – you are right, 2 tbsp goes into greasing the pan and the remaining 2 tbsp goes into the recipe; thanks for letting me know, I made this clear in the recipe – hope you enjoy Revani!

  14. Paylazun December 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    I have been looking through your recipes and found that almost every recepi reminds me of my mom. I am an armenian and I know lots of what my mom made came from Turkish kitchen, even the names were Turkish. I am thrilled that I found your site, I love how you input your experiences or a story with each recepi. Thank you so much, I am making this and your lamb over the eggplants for my guests on New Year’s Eve.

    • Ozlem Warren December 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

      Merhaba Paylazun, welcome to my blog and thank you so much for your very kind note. Recipes are a part of special memories we inherit, they are indeed precious, like a gateway to our past and culture. I am so glad you are enjoying and I do hope they bring happy memories back. We have a wonderful shared culinary heritage and i love to cherish them. Truly hope you enjoy your Turkish dinner with your guests, I am honored; my best wishes for the New Year, afiyet olsun : )

  15. Ken December 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I love revani and have had a delicious version at our favorite Turkish restaurant many times. The photos with your recipe looked exactly like what we order but, sadly, when I made your version it came out very thick and dense, not light at all, and with none of the fluffiness the semolina flour should provide. The batter was very very wet. I know it’s hard to provide any advice on what I may have done wrong, but any thoughts you have would be welcome. Most other recipes I have looked at online are more or less the same as yours, so I can’t figure out what I am not understanding. Many thanks!!

    • Ozlem Warren December 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      Merhaba Ken, many thanks for your note; sorry to hear about your revani; first thing comes to my mind is that, my version is made with the grainy semolina, not the semolina flour – if you used semolina flour instead, I would imagine the texture would be very different, with a variation of the taste. can you the grain semolina? I highly recommend trying with that – I hope this helps, many thanks again.

      • Ken December 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

        Thanks very much for this; I did not know there was a difference between grainy semolina and semolina flour. I will see what is available here (Canada) and if I can get the grain semolina I will gladly try the recipe again and let you know how it works.

        • Ozlem Warren January 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

          You are very welcome Ken, hope you can get hold of grain semolina – try Middle Eastern, Lebanese or Turkish food shops or perhaps online Turkish market tulumba.com may deliver, all the best wishes, Ozlem

          • Ken Honig April 18, 2015 at 2:01 am #

            Hello again Ozlem…following our thread from early in January, I have finally been able to find some coarser semolina, though I am still not sure it is the correct product, i.e. I may just have a coarser semolina flour (it is still quite white, and not yellow as in your photos), and not actual grain semolina. I will make the cake again, but in reviewing the dry/liquid proportions in the recipe it appears to me the batter will be extremely runny, much more so than I would expect from a typical cake recipe. Do you have an opinion as to whether grain semolina would absorb more liquid than semolina flour? Many thanks once again!

          • Ozlem Warren April 18, 2015 at 11:34 am #

            Merhaba Ken, thank you for your note – Revani batter is quite runny even with the coarse semolina, though with using (finer) semolina grain or flour, you may need to add 2-3 tbsp more of your finer grain. The consistency still needs to be quite runny. The semolina I used during my cookery course in Jordan was finer semolina and this worked. I am not sure how fine is yours, so I think it would be good to make a judgement seeing how runny your batter is after adding extra 2 tbsp and see if you need a little more. Do hope this helps, look forward to hearing how it turns out for you. Hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  16. rakyv February 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    thanks Ozlem… so simple and will try this one soon..

    • Ozlem Warren February 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

      you’re very welcome 🙂

  17. Angus May 9, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    We love this revani!

  18. Farheen Khan November 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Selamunalaikum!
    I have tried this recipe and it turned out excellent! I just wanted to ask that if I use orange juice instead of lemon juice so how much should I use… Half orange or less than that?
    Teşekkür ederim for the recipe!!

    • Ozlem Warren November 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

      Merhaba Farheen, many thanks for your kind note, delighted to hear you enjoyed this Revani recipe! I haven’t made it with juice of orange, but thinking it’s bigger than lemon, juice of a quarter may work better. I would still zest of 1/2 orange or you can make this one a quarter too. Hope it turns out well again, afiyet olsun!

  19. Uzma January 25, 2016 at 11:50 pm #

    Assalamoaliekum , Thankyou for sharing your recipe , my daughter tried it but we have two things to ask , 1: cake did not turn out as golden as in the pic , secondly it was a bit tart . since we did not have a regular yogurt we used low fat , is that the reason ???
    JazakAllah
    Uzma Javed

    • Ozlem Warren January 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

      Merhaba Uzma, thank you for your note; I made mine with regular yoghurt and it does help – I also wonder if you used grain semolina? Also ovens may vary so yours may need a bit more time to bake, hope it helps, Ozlem

  20. Ashi March 25, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    Such a delicious moist well flavored cake. thank you for a flop proof recipe.

    • Ozlem Warren March 25, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

      Merhaba Ashi, you are most welcome! Glad you enjoyed my Revani recipe, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  21. Josie September 9, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi there, I was wondering if you put holes in the cake before adding the syrup?
    I’m so nervous, my husband is turkish and I am not a good cook, I feel sorry for him sometimes. I’m trying to start with a few simple turkish foods hopefully I can do this.

    • Ozlem Warren September 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

      Merhaba Josie, thank you for stopping by; this Revani would be a wonderful start to cook for you as it is so easy and delicious. Holes on the cake appear naturally, thanks to the texture of semolina, you don’t need to put any holes and it will soak the syrup very quickly. I am sure your Revani will be delicious and your husband will greatly appreciate it, just give it a go!:) Afiyet olsun, Ozlem

      • Josie September 11, 2016 at 12:58 am #

        Thank you for replying 🙂
        I’ve made the cake today to celebrate bayram. I’ve just drizzled the syrup but I’m wondering if I’m to add all the syrup?

        • Ozlem Warren September 11, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

          Merhaba Josie, so glad you made Revani; yes please, drizzle the whole syrup and the semolina cake will absorb it all. Mutlu Bayramlar, hope you enjoy it!

  22. M December 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Hello Ozlem,
    Thank you for this great and super easy recipe- everyone loved it. It’s bound to become a family favourite. I made a few changes- mostly because I don’t like using white sugar- & it worked really well. I used a cup of coconut sugar in the cake & made the syrup with just a cup of maple syrup & the juice of the lemon. The crushed pecans on top gave it a yummy crunch. Really delicious!

    • Ozlem Warren December 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

      Merhaba, delighted to get your note and your wonderful twist on the Revani, also loved the crushed pecans on top – so glad you enjoyed it, Afiyet Olsun!

  23. Filiz Andrew December 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    Merhaba Ozlem, sounds like a delicious recipe. Quick question, can you make Revani without egg or should I add something as substitute, because my son is allergic to eggs? Thanks so much.

    • Ozlem Warren December 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

      Merhaba dear Filiz, many thanks for stopping by, really is a delicious recipe, light and great flavor. Egg is a binding agent here and I haven’t made a version without egg; however I consulted my mother and she reckons 2 tbsp. or so cornstarch could help to bring it together, worth a try, hope you enjoy it.

  24. Akila January 31, 2017 at 11:40 am #

    This is a wonderful recipe. I baked it last night and had a little this morning, wow. It is quite good. The moisture of the revani is unbelievable and the coconut adds a very nice flavor. You can really taste all the ingredients you used in the cake, and I absolutely love it! I plan in making this for my family.

    • Ozlem Warren January 31, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

      Merhaba dear Akila, delighted to get your note and that you enjoyed my Revani recipe – one of my favorite desserts, so light and fragrant, so glad you enjoyed it, a real family treat too. Thank you for your kind note, Ozlem

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