Since I made Turkish Eggplant Casserole with Tomatoes (Imam Bayildi) earlier this week, I decided I needed a Turkish dessert to top it off. Revani, a Turkish semolina cake in syrup, sounded perfect since I love lemon. And cake, but who doesn’t? I’m not really a baker, but this recipe looked straightforward enough that even I could pull it off.
This cake uses semolina flour, also sold as durum or pasta flour, and is drenched in syrup after baking. The result is half-cake, half-pastry. It is best eaten chilled the day after baking.
There are a good amount of ingredients in this cake, but they’re not really unusual. I had everything on hand except the yogurt and semolina flour, so this was another short grocery list.
The semolina flour was on the baking aisle with the rest of the flour. I only saw one brand, Bob’s Red Mill, but I’ve used their products before with good results.
There are two items to make in order to complete this recipe: the lemon syrup and the cake. The syrup was very easy and only took me 13 minutes to prep and cook. Then I bottled it and let it chill in the refrigerator. The author, Christine, emphasizes it is very important for the lemon syrup to be chilled before pouring it over the cake.
The cake was also easy to prepare, and it only took me 9 minutes. Getting it fully cooked took a little longer than the 25-30 minutes listed. I did the toothpick test and didn’t get it to come out clean until I had increased the baking time to 40 minutes (I started checking after 25 minutes and kept increasing it by 5-minute intervals until I was satisfied it was done).
I let the cake cool for an hour, then I added the syrup in 3 stages. Just pour a little, let it soak in a bit, then add more until you’ve used it all. My cake was floating in the syrup when I was done, but it soaked most of it up when I refrigerated it overnight.
Using an 8″ x 8″ baking dish yielded 16 small pieces of semolina cake. It’s very rich, so small pieces are perfect for this dish. My husband and I had dessert for a week, and we were both happy campers!
Revani: Turkish Semolina Cake in Syrup Recipe
May 23, 2023: A reader pointed out that this blood doesn’t exist anymore. I hate to see a good recipe disappear, so I have rewritten the recipe below.
Revani: Turkish Semolina Cake in Syrup
- medium saucepan
- zester or fine box grater
- heat-proof container to store syrup
- 8"x8" baking dish
- large mixing bowl
- wire cooling rack
For the Syrup:
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ lemon zest and juice
For the cake:
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 cup vegetable or corn oil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 cup semolina
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
To make the syrup:
- In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar and bring to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the mixture will thicken slightly.1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups water
- Add the lemon juice and zest to the pan, stir well, and continue boiling for another 3 minutes.1/2 lemon
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully transfer the syrup to a heat-proof container. Chill the syrup in the refrigerator until cold.
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ with the rack in the middle.
- Oil an 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar well then mix in the yogurt and vegetable oil.3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup vegetable or corn oil
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.3 tbsp flour, 1 cup semolina, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp lemon zest
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, place it onto a wire rack, and allow to cool for at least 1 hour.
- Once the cake is cooled, slowly add the chilled syrup. You may need to add it a little at a time and allow the cake to absorb it before adding more.
- Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) to allow it to completely absorb the syrup before cutting into squares and serving.