30 by 30: Ravani

June 20, 2011 · 19 comments

in 30 by 30,desserts/sweets,greek

Ravani is basically a Greek sponge cake.  Made with semolina, it’s very much a no-frills cake, as far as “accessories” like frosting go, but that doesn’t mean it’s not absolutely fantastic.  Like many Greek desserts, this, too, is doused in a simple syrup mixture flavored with a bit of honey and cinnamon. The result is an incredibly moist, flavorful cake. I’ve always loved ravani, but it wasn’t really something we had often as I was growing up. It kind of fell off my radar, but when I saw Maria’s mom’s version was famous…well, I had to make it!

This cake keeps incredibly well due to the syrup, so this is something that you can easily make in advance (in fact, it really only gets better). I halved the recipe below and baked it in a 9″ cake pan.  On the one hand, I’m glad I halved it because it’s not exactly health food.  On the other hand, I wish I had more of this to eat because it was so good. If only I could eat this stuff every day and not gain a billion pounds. Sigh.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul June 21, 2011 at 2:30 am

This is one of my favourite Greek cakes! (ok…I say that a lot). I cannot stop at one piece though! Thank you for the recipe Elly!


Joanne June 21, 2011 at 5:42 am

Sometimes it’s so easy to overlook the more simple desserts in favor of something more glamorous, but in this case, I think simple is just perfect! I love the sound of that simple syrup…honey and cinnamon must make this ultra delicious.


Nicole, RD June 21, 2011 at 8:50 am

Any recipe that starts with 2 sticks of butter sounds like a winner to me! :) I love the syrup to keep it moist and sweet, too…mmm!


elly June 21, 2011 at 9:02 am

Nicole, I also had a recipe saved from a Greek cookbook that had 1 stick of butter for the same amounts of other basic ingredients, but I opted for this one because I knew it would be better for that reason alone :)


Banana Wonder June 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

You make me want ravani in a ridiculously bad way. I haven’t had it for soooo long. Glad it made your 30 by 30!


Maria June 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Ravani is definitely a family favorite! Glad it turned out so well for you… it is certainly a tried and true recipe for generations of our family. Thanks for the mention!


bellini June 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm

It sound wonderful Elly!


Penandra June 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

Elly! This is one of my favorite cakes, my go to recipe is quite similar to yours (although, admittedly, not as much butter ;-) I had this recently at a friend’s home and she added almond extract to the batter and omitted the cinnamon in the syrup and added almond extract to that as well, then sprinkled some sliced almonds over the top . . . same ravani recipe, just with those changes.


elly June 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

Sounds great, Penandra. I LOVE almond extract, so I’ll try that next time!


Stephanie June 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Semolina cake?! Count me in! Looks delish!


Brianna June 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Mmm, sounds good. I’ve never heard of this cake, but I love the idea of pouring a syrup over it. It must be really moist. Thanks for sharing!


Pam June 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Wow. This recipe sounds super duper easy yet unbelievably yummy. Pound cake a la Greece? Can’t wait to try it.


Johnnie June 26, 2011 at 7:27 am

I made this recipe yesterday and the cake is great! Talk about moist. (reminded me of a cake my grandmother used to make). I posted a photo and link back to your recipe:

My only question: Do I use ALL the syrup on the cake?


elly June 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hi Johnnie. Glad you liked the cake! Yes, I use all the syrup or at least very close to it. It seems like a ton as you are putting it on there, but it’s completely absorbed and leaves the cake sweet and delicious!


Wendy Simmons December 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I have always made this cake using Cream of Wheat. I only have (quick-cooking, not instant Cream of Wheat) in the house right now. Will that work?
Thanks, Wendy


elly December 31, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I’m not sure, Wendy. I’ve never tried it. You’ll have to let me know if you do.


Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles February 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Hi Elly. I want to make this on Wednesday. If I halve the recipe does the baking time change?


elly February 11, 2014 at 7:49 am

Hi Christine. It will depend on the size pan you use. I used a 9″ and did decrease the bake time by a few minutes when I halved it. I would start checking around 22 min.


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