A few months ago we were treated to a Middle Eastern treat called makrout that’s made with semolina and a date/walnut filling. I haven’t been able to duplicate the makrout (yet) so when I came across this recipe for a similar cake at Honey and Butter, I knew immediately I wanted to make it for this month’s Food of the World party. The cake is called Revani. It’s a sponge cake that is saturated with a lemony simple syrup. It’s simply wonderful with a cup of mint tea.
The main ingredient in revani is the semolina, a very coarse wheat product that’s similar to grits. If you’ve had Cream of Wheat cereal, you’ve eaten semolina. Read more about it here.
Revani is served with variations all over the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean. I’ve cut the sugar in the cake itself due to the syrup and we found it plenty sweet. In the photos the Revani has been garnished with some whipped cream, chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds. For the rest of the cake we just cut slices and ate them with a cup of tea.
Like most sponge cakes, revani comes together quickly. The only extra preparation is making the simple syrup to pour over the cake after it’s cooled. Make that first so it has plenty of time to cool. The cake is very absorbent. Even so, you may not be able to use all of the prepared syrup. Save any extra to sweeten your tea.
- 1½ cup each sugar and water
- juice of one lemon
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup sugar (I used a dark cane sugar)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
- 3 T flour
- 1 cup semolina
- 1 T vanilla
- ½ t baking soda
- 1 T baking powder
- ½ t salt
- 1 zest of one lemon
- Zest the lemon and set aside.
- Make the simple syrup by combining 1½ cups each water and sugar in a small sauce pan.
- Heat to boiling. The sugar should be completely dissolved.
- Add the juice from the zested lemon to the syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Store in the fridge until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare an 8" x 8" baking dish with baking spray.
- Measure all the dry ingredients (semolina, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and lemon zest) into a small bowl.
- Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the vegetable oil and the yogurt.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour into your prepared baking dish and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
- The cake will be golden brown on top and the center may be slightly collapsed. It is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake stand until cool.
- Poke small holes into the top of the cake (I used a spaghetti noodle) and pour the syrup over the top a little at a time. You may not be able to use all the syrup.
The texture of this cake is dense like a pound cake yet at the same time it’s quite tender due to the syrup. You mostly taste the lemony sweetness but there’s a little tang from the yogurt, too. We’ve made it twice now, and when covered and refrigerated it keeps very well. I haven’t tried it, but I think a syrup made with honey instead of cane sugar would work. While I was researching, I came across orange flavored cakes as well.
I will be sharing this post at the Food of the World party. Make sure to drop by in order to see many other wonderful Turkish recipes.