Semolina sponge cake with syrupy orange slices – Portakalli Revani
This lovely, light and so easy to make semolina cake with zesty orange slices, Portakalli Revani, can be a wonderful addition to your festive table, or to make any day special. Serve with Turkish thick (or regular) clotted cream, kaymak, crème fraiche or strained plain yoghurt, warm or at room temperature. This cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Recipe type: Desserts and cakes
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 8
  • 150g /5 ¼oz coarse semolina
  • 30g / 1oz ground almond
  • 170g / 6oz sugar
  • 5ml / 1tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium free range eggs, beaten
  • 225g / 8oz plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 60ml / 4tbsp light olive oil
  • For the syrup:
  • 1 medium orange, thinly sliced into round discs (skin on)
  • 100g/ 3 ½ oz demerara sugar
  • 150g/ 5 ¼ oz white sugar
  • 85ml/ 3fl oz freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 large orange)
  • 285ml / 10fl oz water
  • Ground pistachio nuts or desiccated coconut to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F
  2. Grease a 20cm round cake thin with a little olive oil and line with baking parchment.
  3. Make the syrup first. Squeeze the juice of one large orange and pour it through a sieve to get rid of the pulp. Combine the demerara sugar, regular sugar, orange juice and water in a medium to large pan. Stir and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the orange slices and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the orange slices softened.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the slices and arrange them side by side in the prepared cake tin. Reserve the syrup and cool aside. You can prepare the syrup with the orange slices this way a day ahead of time.
  5. Beat the eggs and combine with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat and combine well for a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Then add the olive oil, yoghurt, semolina, ground almond and the baking powder and beat well. Combine well until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. To check; insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean, that means the cake is cooked. If not, bake for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Using a large spoon, drizzle the cooled syrup all over the hot semolina cake. Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down for 10 minutes in the tin. Then carefully turn the cake out on a large flat circle serving plate. Gently remove the baking parchment to reveal the glossy top with glazed orange slices.
  7. Slice and enjoy warm or cold (I love mine warm), sprinkled with ground pistachios or desiccated coconut over if you like.Turkish thick (or regular) clotted cream, kaymak, crème fraiche or plain strained yoghurt goes well by the side. This cake keeps well for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.
Recipe by Ozlem's Turkish Table at