I have made a Revani recipe before but there are a lot of variations to this recipe, each one having a character of its own. A blogger friend of mine in Facebook sent me a picture of a dessert she ate when she visited Greece but could not remember the name and wanted me to identify it for her. She described it to be nutty sort of grainy and sweet with a hint of cinnamon. Here is her picture.
Was it a pot halwa? That’s what I thought at the beginning but the colour was rather dark and then I thought it might be karydopita (Walnut Cake) but I couldn’t detect any walnuts in it. Could it be Samali? That made me thinking and started looking for semolina recipes to give her a reply. By reading a few recipes with semolina, such as halvas, samali, karydopita, revani, I noticed that there is a big similarity to all these recipes with a few minor changes. I also looked at Greek sites for Halvas both the pot and the baked version. Baked halvas is very similar to Revani and the only difference I noticed was that in the baked halvas butter and walnuts are used whereas in Revani no walnuts are used and margarine is used. I am even more confused now if I should call my cake a Baked Halva or a Revani but anyway it is called I can guarantee that you will love the taste 100%. Now I know I told you that I am eating healthier and I am. I haven’t made anything «sinful» for a whole month. This cake was made last year but I never came to post it before and as I had flavoured it with mastic gum it is perfect for the event I am hosting Think Spice… Think Twice, introducing two spices: fennel seeds and mastic gum.
I know that mastic gum is not a well known spice but I can assure you that if you try it you will love it and this is why I want to introduce you to it by posting as many recipes as I can during February, when the event is running.
This recipe was made before I started measuring my recipes with cups.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Yields: 16 pieces
- 1 1/3 cups extra fine semolina (200 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (160 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups sugar (240 grams)
- 1/2 cup butter
- ½ cup milk (100 ml)
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon mastic gum, pounded with 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups sugar (540 grams)
- 3 cups water (600 ml)
- 1 lemon peel
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons butter (60 grams)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 whipping cream 35% (250 gr.)
- 1 cream cheese Philadelphia (300 gr.)
- 3 – 4 tablespoons icing sugar (it is not very sweet, so you may add more sugar if you like)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Cherry or Sour Cherry Spoon Sweet
Powder mastic gum with 1 teaspoon sugar with a pestle and mortar or in your coffee or spice grinder. I usually powder the sachet which contains one tablespoon of mastic gum with any equal amount of sugar and keep it in a small container to use whenever I need it. Sugar (or salt in savory recipes) helps to prevent mastic gum from sticking.
In a bowl mix flour, semolina, baking soda, baking powder and mastic gum.
Beat the butter with sugar until white and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to minimum and add the eggs one at a time, until incorporated.
Add milk, alternating with flour mixture, a spoonful at a time until incorporated.
Preheat oven at 180ο C.
Lightly grease a 26 cm baking tin (I used a square one) with butter and flour and empty batter inside. Bake cake for about 1 hour until a toothpick or a knife inserted comes out dry.
Prepare syrup by adding all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.
As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, the syrup should be lukewarm and wet the cake a spoonful at a time until all syrup is absorbed.
Allow to cool completely. At this stage the cake is ready and this is how the traditional cake is made but if you like you may remove cake to a platter and decorate with the cream cheese frosting and with the cherries.
Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a mixing bowl whip the whipping cream with a hand mixer until firm and then add cream cheese, sugar, vanilla essence and beat again until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If you want to make it a bit stiffer you may add more icing sugar.
Refrigerate until the cake is ready for the frosting. Fill a pastry bag and decorate or keep it simple as I did. I just used a fork to make the stripes.
Decorate with the cherries.
Without the cream cheese frosting the cake can remain stored outside the refrigerator for as many days as you like but with the frosting It must be stored in the refrigerator and it can be preserved for 3 – 4 days.
Other similar recipes made with semolina:
Revani or Ravani with Whipping Cream and Pineapple (orange rind and vanilla can be substituted with mastic gum)