30 by 30: Ravani


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.


30 by 30: Ravani

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

      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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • It sound wonderful Elly!

  • Penandra

    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

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

  • Semolina cake?! Count me in! Looks delish!

  • 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

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

  • 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

      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!

  • Pingback: Ravani: A Moist Greek Cake | Artbook()

  • Wendy Simmons

    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

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

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

    • elly

      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.