My mother is an amazing mother, friend, woman, and cook. I am so thankful to have her as my mother and so happy to be able to honor her today in this post. I have the most amazing memories of my mom’s food and I get so excited when she makes one of her specialties when we get together. This particular dessert is a favorite of mine and she used to make it quite often. When I mentioned I wanted to share one of her recipes for Mother’s Day, she suggested this and I was thrilled! There is nothing like my mom’s Revani with a cup of coffee!
Revani is either a syrup soaked cake or a cake baked with the ‘syrup’ in the batter. It is usually made with semolina, but my mother’s version uses a mix of flour and wheat farina, which makes it very special. This recipe has been passed down from my yiayia (grandmother) to my mother, and now me. I feel honored to be able to recreate this recipe for all of my wonderful readers and share a piece of my beloved yiayia and beautiful mother.
My mom’s revani is lightly sweetened and dense, with a wonderful hint of cloves, and a nice outer crust, which is topped with a layer of cinnamon and sugar on top. It is perfect with a cup of coffee, and I have always thought of it as a Greek coffee cake. It is a truly delicious and unique treat. To make it more of a dessert, I drizzle syrup on top, and sometimes pair it with whipped cream. I hope you enjoy my mom’s revani as much as my family does.
Happy Mother’s Day mom and thank you for passing this amazing recipe to me. I love you!
Note: this cake is best after sitting overnight (store at room temperature in a sealed container once cooled)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
cinnamon stick (3 in. long)
slice of lemon peel (3/4 inch wide at middle)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda, and then add the salt and mix well with a whisk. Measure out the farina and keep separate from the flour. Oil a glass or high sided baking sheet, which is at least 10x15. Mix together 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and set aside.
In a large pot (I used an 8 qt stainless sauce pot, to prevent splashing), combine the water, oils, vanilla extract, sugar, lemon juice (I also like to put in the rind of the lemon), and the cinnamon stick. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil (stir to dissolve sugar while heating up). Once it boils, let it boil for 4 minutes, stirring as needed. Turn to low and remove the lemon rind and cinnamon stick. Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the farina while whisking. Place on low heat and whisk well until the cream of wheat is incorporated.
Add half the flour, and with a wooden spoon stir until incorporated. Turn off the heat and add the remaining flour, working the dough with a wooden spoon. Work the dough for a minute or 2. It is a little bit of a job, but the dough needs to be brought together well. Immediately drop the dough into the greased pan.
Using a spatula or your hand (if you can handle the heat - be careful), smooth out the dough and form to the pan. Take a sharp knife and pre-cut the revani. You can cut into squares or diamonds. Place a hole clove in each piece. Press sliced almonds all over the top, so they stick on.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The revani should be slightly browned on top and the sides should have formed a crust and pulled away from the pan edges a bit.
Remove from the oven and evenly sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture all over the revani. Let cool and then store in a sealed container at room temperature for several days (this cake is best the next day). I like to add a little of the syrup as it is served and whipped cream on the side is a nice accompaniment. Enjoy!
Note: you can make this after or while the revani is baking.
Place the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat (I use stainless steel). Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes watching constantly and stirring as needed. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes to reduce and thicken the syrup. Stir as needed. Remove the lemon and cinnamon stick. Stir in the fridge when cooled.