Lemon Juice

Revani (Chamomile-Soaked Semolina Cake)

August 22, 2016
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This syrup-soaked semolina sponge cake is known as revani in Turkey and Greece, but other Middle Eastern countries have similar versions. This cake is a lovely dessert, but I also love it served with fruit and yogurt as breakfast.

Reprinted with permission from Soframiz by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick, 2016.Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

  • Serves 8
  • For the cake:
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, plus more to serve
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup toasted and finely chopped pistachios, to serve
  • For the chamomile syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon loose chamomile tea
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. Put the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Combine the yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla in another bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to low and slowly pour in the canola oil. Add the yogurt mixture in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold by hand with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. Prepare the syrup while the cake is baking. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the tea leaves, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes.
  7. Strain and discard the tea leaves. Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 minutes, until reduced to 1 1⁄4 cups.
  8. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, pour the hot chamomile syrup evenly over the cake. Set the cake aside to cool and absorb the syrup completely. Invert the cake onto a platter to hold the syrup.
  9. Slice and serve with a spoonful of yogurt and chopped pistachios.

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