Greek Semolina Cake With Orange Syrup (Revani)

Greek revani cake with orange syrup

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
318 Calories
12g Fat
49g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving
Calories 318
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 247mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 5g
Calcium 129mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Revani (reh -vah-NEE) (also spelled ravani) is a Greek cake known for its citrus flavors and use of semolina flour. It's not difficult to make and is a delightful addition to any sweet table. It is a semolina sponge cake with lemon zest, sweetened with a simple syrup flavored with orange zest.

Semolina is durum wheat that is more coarsely ground than regular wheat flours and it's commonly used in pasta dough and gnocchi. Consequently, it can produce a cake with a coarser texture than what you might be accustomed to. This recipe uses a combination of fine semolina (which isn't hard to find) and all-purpose flour. But this semonlina cake's flavor combination, as well as the citrus syrup, results in a delicious and moist dessert. You will want to make sure the syrup cools completely before spooning it over the warm sponge cake; otherwise, the cake will become soggy.

As revani is popular throughout the eastern Mediterranean countries, you will find slightly different versions depending on the recipe's origin. The Turkish Semolina Cake in Syrup offers a subtle twist on this simple recipe. 

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup/1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon (zested)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • For the Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 (3-inch) strips orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • Optional Toppings:
  • Powdered sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup blanched and lightly toasted chopped almonds

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for revani cake
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom and sides a 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside.

    Grease pan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Mix the flour, semolina, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

    Mix flour
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  4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks one by one. Continue mixing until the batter turns a light yellow color. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.

    Cream butter and sugar
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the milk.

    Mix batter
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Clean the beaters well and beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.

    Clean beaters
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  7. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Don't mix too much or you will "flatten" your egg whites.

    Fold eggs
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  8. Pour the batter into the pan, level with a spatula, and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is a nice golden color.

    Revani cake
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Make the Syrup

  1. Add water, sugar, and orange zest to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cool.

    Water, sugar, orange zest, and lemon juice for revani cake syrup
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. While the cake is still warm, cover it with the syrup. When the cake cools, you can sprinkle with some powdered sugar, cinnamon, and the almonds, if you're using them.

    Revani cake covered with orange syrup, garnished with almonds, and cut into squares
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

What Is the Difference Between Semolina Flour and Regular Flour?

Both types of flour are made from wheat, but semolina is more coarse than all-purpose flour, and has an earthier aroma. Semolina offers a heartier texture and is often thought of as the pasta wheat because it helps the pasta keep its shape more easily, thanks to its high gluten content. At about 13 percent, its protein content is higher than that of all-purpose flour, which typically clocks in around 10 to 11 percent, depending on the brand of all-purpose flour you buy.

How to Store Revani

This cake will keep for 3 to 4 days, thanks to the addition of the syrup, which adds moisture. Keep it covered in an airtight container. You can also freeze this semolina cake. Wrap the pieces individually in plastic wrap, cover with foil, and store in a zip-close freezer bag for up to 3 months.