Revani – Orange & Semolina Cake

Let’s take a short break from (my beloved) pastries and yeasted doughs and welcome an upcoming spring with a refreshing, sunny and juicy Greek dessert. Revani is a delicious and unique traditional Greek cake (often called Ravani as well) made with semolina flour, almonds, a lot of oranges and herb-infused syrup. The cake is a fantastic dessert because it can be prepared and served in various ways and either warm or cold. It is a perfectly refreshing choice of dessert in the hot summer months when it’s served cold, right from the fridge with a side of vanilla ice-cream or thick greek yogurt. It can be, though, a great comfort winter treat made with a pinch of warming spice like cinnamon and served warm with a honey glaze drizzled over the cake. Try both versions of Revani and see which one you like better (I love Revani cold, served with a side of yogurt and drizzled with honey & olive oil)

Various versions of Revani are common all over Greece (for example with coconut flour or flakes) but beyond the country as well. In the Middle East, the cake similar to Revani is called Basbousa, in Armenia it is a Shamali and Turkey has its own version of a syrupy semolina-orange cake

Semolina is one of the essential ingredients in the recipe. It is a magical ingredient in cooking & baking. In Slovakia, perhaps the most favorite recipe using semolina flour is a traditional porridge called Krupica. Besides krupica we use semolina to make easy fruit cakes and even savory meals and dumplings. Semolina has an incredible quality to soak up liquids and expand which creates an interesting texture and makes very juicy & soft cakes

ABOUT INGREDIENTS:

  • Yogurt – when making Revani I like to use a small amount of thick greek yogurt or sour cream in a batter. If you can’t do dairy you can omit yogurt completely and substitute with one whole egg instead
  • Coconut – some recipes for Revani use coconut flour or coconut flakes. If you’d like to try coconut version of the cake, lower the amount of almond flour
  • Rosemary, Bay Leaf & Thyme – herbs are key ingredients in the recipe making a herb-infused syrup a delicious & indulgent addition to a cake (syrup is as important part of the recipe as the cake itself)

INGREDIENTS

(make small 6″ round cake)

Batter

2 Tangerines, small & sweet

50g Butter, unsalted & softened

20g Olive Oil

1 Egg, large

50g Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

100g Sugar, white

80g Semolina Flour

50g Almond Flour

~ 40g AP Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

A Pinch of Salt

Herb-infused Honey Syrup

150g Orange Juice

20g Honey

Rosemary Sprig

1 Bayleaf

Zest From 1 Lemon

A pinch of Cinnamon (optional)

Other

Vanilla Ice-cream

Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

Honey

Thyme Sprig


METHOD

1. Start with boiling tangerines in a smaller pot (you can cover the pot with a lid). Tangerines should boil for at least 20-25 minutes to lose some of the bitterness and to soften completely. Drain the water and fill the pot with fresh one twice during the boiling to remove the bitterness. Once cooked through, take tangerines out from the water and let them cool down. Once cooler (doesn’t have to be completely cold) remove hard parts, seeds & very fibrous pieces and blend the rest of the tangerines (including the skin) until very smooth in a blender. Set aside. If there is any skin or fiber that can’t be blended well, remove it

2. Beat 50g of Butter (at room temperature) with 100g of Sugar and 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract. Once fluffy, add one whole Egg and keep beating for another couple of minutes until pale and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed. Stir in 50g of Yogurt, 20g of Olive Oil and a Tangerine Puree and mix until well-incorporated. Stir in 80g of Semolina Flour and set aside for some 10 minutes (semolina will soak the juice and expand)

3. After 10 minutes, add into the bowl 50g of Almond Flour, 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda and a pinch of Salt and mix well. Finally, add 40g of AP Flour and stir vigorously until everything is well incorporated (Note: the amount of AP Flour might be higher or lower depending on how runny & liquid is your batter). Adjust the amount of AP flour to the consistency of your batter that should be pourable/ scoopable but not too thick (you want to get a consistency similar to corn bread or muffins, so-called a drop batter)

4. Grease a small, 6″ round pan with butter and line it with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and tap it a few times over the countertop to let the bubbles out. Even the surface of the cake and bake it at 360°F/180°Celsius for approximately 30-35 minutes (check on the cake after 20 minutes to make sure it’s baking well and not too fast) until fully set (when the skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, it’s baked through). Let your cake cool down just for a minute and then pour all Herb-infused Honey Syrup over it, little by little until all syrup is fully soaked (don’t take the cake out from the pan yet to make sure that the syrup won’t leak out)

5. To make the Herb-infused Honey Syrup simply simmer in a smaller pot 150g of Orange Juice, 20g of Honey, 1 Bay Leaf, 1 Rosemary Sprig and Lemon Zest for 15-20 minutes (you don’t have to stir the syrup while simmering) or until it reduces in half (prepare the syrup while the cake bakes). Once reduced, take the herbs out and taste the syrup for any additions of sugar/ honey. Pour hot syrup over the cake and let it absorb the syrup first at room temperature and then in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or best, overnight

6. To finish and decorate the cake, slice some fresh tangerines and assemble them on top of the cake. Drizzle the whole cake generously with honey and decorate with a rosemary or thyme sprig. Serve the cake with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or (even better) with a dollop of rich greek yogurt or sour cream drizzled with some olive oil, honey & thyme

Dobrú chuť,
Lenka

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