Turkish-Style Revani Semolina Cake Steeped in Syrup

Revani semolina cake

Only Fabrizio / Fotolia.com

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 12 to 15 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
385 Calories
15g Fat
61g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 15
Amount per serving
Calories 385
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 226mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 4g
Calcium 85mg 7%
*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 is a classic dessert that has been present in Turkish cuisine since the Ottoman period. It is said to have been given its name when the Ottomans conquered the city of Yerevan in what is today Armenia. The Persian name for the cake, revani, is also used by the Greek culture. This dessert has been adapted by many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures. It is called basbousa in Arabic and shamali in Armenian.

In Turkish cuisine, revani is one of the most common desserts and is served both at home and in restaurants. It is a simple dessert made with a single layer of soft, yellow semolina sponge cake steeped in lots of light syrup.

Different versions of revani exist throughout the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Arab cuisine, to name a few.

Try this easy recipe and experiment with different flavorings to make authentic Turkish-style revani at home. While good all by itself, topping it with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream adds an extra deliciousness.


  • For the Syrup:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • For the Cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon (zested)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup uncooked semolina
  • 1/4 cup finely ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Garnish: coconut flakes and ground nuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan.

  3. Before you start making the cake, prepare the syrup to give it time to cool down. Begin by mixing the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat on high and bring the mixture to a boil while continuously stirring it.

  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let the syrup boil gently for about 10 minutes with the cover off. Add the lemon juice toward the end. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool down while you make the rest of the recipe.

  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Whisk the mixture briskly for several minutes until the sugar dissolves. The more you whisk, the better your revani will turn out.

  6. Add the oil, lemon zest, vanilla, and yogurt and whisk for several minutes more.

  7. Add the dry ingredients—flour, semolina, hazelnuts, baking soda, and baking powder—and mix together well until you have a smooth batter.

  8. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan. Bake until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Once you remove the pan from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes.

  9. Cut the cake into portion-sized squares or rectangles while still in the pan.

  10. Using a large spoon, slowly drizzle all of the cooled syrup over the cake and let it soak in. Cover the cake with foil and refrigerate it for several hours.

  11. Before serving, garnish each square of cake with a pinch of coconut and ground nuts.


  • Putting the revani in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight before serving gives the syrup a chance to soak in and provide the utmost flavor.

Recipe Variation

  • You can also make orange-flavored revani by substituting the lemon zest and juice with orange zest and juice, or you can eliminate the lemon all together and use rose water instead to give the cake a wonderful rose aroma.

How to Store Revani Semolina Cake

This cake can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for three to four days.