Semolina cake (Basbousa, Hareesa), also known as Revani in Turkey, Ravani or Revani in Greece, is a decadent sweet treat. Made from a combination of semolina and flour this cake is soaked in a citrus infused syrup ̶ much like gulab jamuns ̶ it too has a golden brown shell encasing a soft syrupy internal section.
Semolina is often an unlikely ingredient in cakes, maily because of its rough grainy texture. The process of soaking the cake in syrup however does tame the semolina resulting in a smoother, softer cake texture. The combination of yogurt , oil and eggs contribute to the density and richness of this cake. There are several variations to the traditional recipe some using equal amounts of semolina and flour, or butter instead of oil. The syrup sometimes contains orange essence or fresh citrus peel.
For this recipe I have opted for oil instead of butter, more semolina than flour and fresh citrus peel for the syrup and topping. Semolina cake is best made the day before you intend serving it – this way the cake can absorb the syrup. Also best made for special occasions catering for many guests (to avoid overindulgence). Optionally one can omit the use of syrup for a less caloric cake.
This recipe is suitable for a 30 x 30 cm square pan.
Semolina Cake Recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 20 3cm x 3cm squares
- 2 cups semolina *
- 6 level tablespoons flour
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- half cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or orange essence
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange or orange zest (optional)
- pinch of salt (optional)
1. Make the syrup 2-3 hours before you intend baking the cake. Add the 1.5 cups water and sugar in a pan on medium heat. Boil for 5-7 minutes until the sugar appears to be dissolved. Squeeze half a lemon into the syrup. Then add the half lemon into the syrup. Add remianing lemon zest. Boil for another 4-5 minutes. The lemon will prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Remove from stove. Allow to cool until needed.
2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Whisk the eggs, vanilla essence and sugar then add the oil and yogurt. Mix to form a creamy consistency. Sift in the dry ingredients. Add 2 tablespoons orange zest.
3. Mix to form a smooth batter. Pour into a lined baking pan.
4. Bake for 20- 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. The crust should be light golden brown.
5. Remove from oven. Pour the cold syrup over the cake. Top with citrus peel or pistachios. Place in the refrigerator until needed.
Eggless Semolina Cake
Looking for an eggless Semolina Cake try this one by My Kitchen Diaries.