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  • Writer's pictureNikki Glekas

Ravani (Semolina Cake)

I like sharing my favorite Greek cakes with you ( ) because everyone loves them, and showing you how I make them can be helpful if you aren’t used to soaking cakes in syrup. Ravani is another delicious traditional Greek cake that’s soaked in a citrusy syrup. It is made with semolina and a little coconut, and I add a dusting of coconut and powdered sugar on top for presentation.

This recipe makes a lot of batter so I recommend using a large baking dish, or two medium size baking pans. In this episode I use a cake pan that I typically use for wedding cakes for my clients. The pan is 15-inches round and is the perfect size to hold all the batter.

The flavor of this cake is very light. You can barely taste the coconut and the citrus syrup is just the right amount of light and refreshing. In Greece this cake is often made at home, but you can buy it at bakeries as well. It’s served for just about any occasion, or sometimes just because! At the holidays I might serve it with cinnamon ice cream and whipped cream. It also is really good to make and give to friends and family.

As I’ve mentioned before in my syrup-soaked cake recipes, the most critical part of making this is that the cake is cool and the syrup is warm when you soak the cake to allow for proper absorption. The alternative is that you make the syrup in advance and allow it to cool completely, then drizzle it all over the warm cake. One element must be cool, and the other must be warm to the touch.

In this episode I dusted the cake with coconut flakes and powdered sugar for a pretty presentation. You don’t have to do this, but it looks great good! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Ravani | Semolina Cake

This is a classic Greek dessert you’ll find in houses year-round. It’s a sponge cake with a hint of coconut, soaked in a citrus simple syrup.

  • 1 bag of fine Semolina (500 grams) – 2 ¾ cups fine semolina

  • 10 eggs (separate the yolks and whites)

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • ½ cup ouzo

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tbsp coconut

  • Zest of one orange


  • 3 cups water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1 cup sweetened coconut for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they hold stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Remove them to a bowl and set aside.

  3. Wipe out the mixing bowl and add the egg yolks and sugar. Beat the yolks with a whisk attachment until they are pale yellow, about 2 minutes.

  4. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle the oil, ouzo and coconut individually until everything is smooth and combined.

  5. Pour the semolina into a bowl and stir in the baking powder.

  6. With the mixer on low, add the semolina mixture until just combined. Then, add the orange zest.

  7. Turn the mixer off and slowly fold the egg white mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.

  8. Spread the batter into a greased pan. In this episode I’m using a 15-inch round pan, but you could use two 7x11 pans or pans of similar sizes.

  9. Bake the cake for 55 minutes – 1 hour.

  10. While the cake is baking, make the simple syrup by combining the water, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool completely.

  11. Once the cake is baked and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, soak the cake in the syrup.* Do this by slowly pouring the cool syrup over the cake and allowing it to soak it up like a sponge. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and coconut. Slice and serve!

Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT.. To discuss further please contact or call 203.658.8659.

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