I have been planning to make this dessert for a looo…ng time. Every time I decided to work on it, something happened and I had to postpone. Finally last weekend I had the time and energy to work on it and it turned out to be an amazing sweet experience. And then I also realised that this dessert is originally from Egypt with the name “Basbousa”!
I LOVED revani when I was a kid, and it was one of the majestic desserts of our crowded weekend lunch gatherings even though my mother did not make it often. I know that Turkish cuisine is very much influenced by other cuisines in the region and actually in the end they all gave and took some things from each other. But for some reason I always thought that revani was originated in Turkey. Turns out, it wasn’t.
I am not sure, though, if there are differences between basbousa and revani. I never ate basbousa and from the photos I saw, it is at least presented differently (most of the time), with baklava shaped cut and one almond on top of each piece.
Revani is actually a very simple cake made with semolina, flour and yogurt. You do not use butter but instead, it is made with vegetable oil – I used canola oil. Just don’t use olive oil, as it has a very strong taste and smell. The important thing is to prepare the syrup a couple of hours beforehand so that your syrup is cold when your cake is quite warm. Therefore, you’d better plan ahead when you decide to make revani. And this is all the trick you need! Enjoy!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (Easy)
(makes 1 portion yielding about 16-20 pieces depending on how you cut it, in a rectangle oven dish with 35x25cm dimensions)
7.5 dl. water in room temperature
7.5 dl. granulated white sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
(This amount of syrup makes very moist and sweet dessert. If you want to cut the amount of sweetness, you can make use 5 dl. measurement for both water and sugar instead – keep lemon juice as 1 tsp.)
2.5 dl. granulated white sugar
1.2 dl. vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2.5 dl. plain yogurt
2.5 dl. semolina
1 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla sugar, if you can’t find vanilla extract)
2.5 dl. all purpose flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
For serving (optional):
desiccated coconut, ground pistachios / almonds
1. First prepare the syrup (about a couple of hours beforehand). In a medium pan, put water and sugar and whisk a little. Put on medium high heat and bring it a boil. Continue boiling for about 5 minutes, then add lemon juice. Boil for 3-5 more minutes and then take away from heat. Set aside to cool down completely.
2. When you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease (with vegetable oil) your oven dish. Generally, revani is made in rectangular dishes and then cut accordingly, but feel free to use other kind of dishes if you have those available.
3. In a mixing bowl, put eggs and sugar and beat in medium to high speed for about 5 minutes, until it gets pale and thick, as in the photo.
4. Add vegetable oil, yogurt and semolina and continue beating until all ingredients are incorporated.
5. Add vanilla extract / vanilla sugar, flour and baking powder and continue beating until you get a smooth cake batter.
6. Pour the batter in the oven dish and tap a few times on the counter to take away trapped air if any. Put the dish in the oven, in medium rack and bake for 30 minutes. In order to have a uniformly baked cake, I baked like this: for the first 20 minutes, in medium rack, then for the final 10 minutes, on top rack. This may be different in your oven, so just check how it is doing after the first 20 minutes and change it to top rack like me, if you need to.
7. When your cake is baked and is out of the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes. Then slice it as you wish and pour cool syrup on top. Let the dessert rest like that inside the dish for 2 hours before serving. Serve with desiccated coconut or ground pistachios (or other kinds of nuts) if you wish. Enjoy!