Don't Sit On The Ottoman!
Revani - Semolina Cake
When people think of Turkish cuisine, most will picture kebabs and meze. When it comes to sweet treats there is only buttery rich baklava. But, how wrong they are.
Revani, or Basbousa, is a style of cake steeped in syrup that is eaten in many countries throughout the middle-east. Made with semolin or farina, there are many regional variations of this moist and delicate cake, including rose or orange flower flavourings.
We've opted to keep things simple and have followed UK cook Ozlem Warren's recipe, based on that of her Grandmothers. Although traditionally baked in a dish, we opted for our trusty battenberg tin (minus the dividers). As our tin was smaller than the suggested dish (8" by 6" not 10 by 8") we did a 2/3 quantity mixture. Ozlem's recipe scales easily, but make sure you adjust your cooking times!
First we made the syrup. It needs to cool completely so can be made well in advance. Remember, cold syrup, hot cake or cold cake, hot syrup. Simply place you sugar in a pan with your water and bring to a simmer, stirring to ensure you sugar is dissolved. After 8-10 minutes add the lemon juice and simmer for a further few minutes. We decanted ours into a cool jug as leaving in a heavy bottomed pan will take much longer to cool.
The batter couldn't be simpler.We whisked our eggs and sugar until light and fluffy and we could no longer feel sugar grains against the bowl. We did this by hand as it's really rather quick and seems pointless having to wash up your stand mixer. Once smooth, we added the remaining ingredients, mixing continually with our whisk. Once thoroughly combined we poured our batter into our prepared tin and baked until deeply golden and a skewer came out cleanly.
We poured over the cold syrup the moment our cake came out of the oven, then left it to cool completely. The warm sponge really will soak up the syrup so be brave. Once cooled we sliced into diamonds (the off cuts are definitely the chef's treat), painted on a little extra syrup then topped with crushed (unsalted) pistachio nuts.
Although Revani is often better the next day, the chances of it lasting until then are slim!