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Ravani or Revani with Masticha Cream Cheese Frosting

Ravani or Revani with Masticha Cream Cheese Frosting

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Ravani or revani is one of those traditional Greek desserts our mums used to make.

The classic recipe of Ravani is made with semolina and yoghurt and then drenched in syrup.

A similar recipe is made by other cultures as well and we find it under the names Basbousa, Basbuusa, nammoura, shamali etc.

revani with cream cheese image

I have made a Ravani recipe many times but there are a lot of variations to this recipe, each one having a character of its own.

The ones below are with whipped cream and one is with pineapple and cherry preserve.

Revani with whipped cream image

revani with whipped cream and pineapple image

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.

mystery cake

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 and there is no yoghurt in it.

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 masticha (mastic gum), it fits with the event I am hosting Think Spice… Think Twice, introducing two spices:  fennel seeds and masticha.

Think spice logo image

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.  However, if you do not find any, you can substitute it with vanilla.

Mastic resins image

This recipe was made before I started measuring my recipes with cups and wherever I mention “glass” you can use a measuring cup, which is roughly of the same capacity.

I have weighed and measured sugar and semolina both in a drinking glass and a measuring cup so that you can see that there is almost no difference.

Sugar and semolina measurements image

Ravani or Revani with Masticha Cream Cheese Frosting

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 1 hour

Yields: 16 pieces


  • 1 heaped glass extra fine semolina (200 grams)
  • 1 heaped glass all-purpose flour (150 grams)
  • 1 heaped glass sugar (240 grams)
  • 1/2 cup butter (125 grams)
  • ½ container Greek yoghurt (100 grams)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 grams mastic gum, pound with 1 tbsp sugar (divided) 2/3 of this amount is used


  • 3 glasses sugar (600 grams)
  • 3 glasses water
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Masticha Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 heavy cream 35% (250 ml)
  • 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)
  • Mastic powder (1/3 of above pound mixture)
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Cherry or Sour Cherry Spoon Sweet


1.  Powder mastic gum with sugar with a pestle and mortar or in your coffee or spice grinder.   See how to powder it here.

2.  In a bowl mix flour, semolina, baking soda, baking powder and mastic powder.

3.  Beat the butter with sugar until white and fluffy.  Reduce mixer speed to minimum and add the eggs one at a time, until incorporated.

4.  Add yoghurt, alternating with flour mixture, a spoonful at a time until incorporated.

5.  Preheat oven at 180ο C.

6.  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.

7.  Prepare syrup by adding all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.

8.  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.

9.  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 it with the cream cheese frosting and cherries.

Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting:

1.  In a mixing bowl whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer until firm and then add cream cheese, sugar, powdered masticha and beat again until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.  If you want to make it a bit sweeter you may add more icing sugar.

2.  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.

3.  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 consumed within  3 – 4 days.

Update:  6 February, 2011 and 8 April, 2013.

Chocolate Orange Revani

Chocolate revani image

This is a very different Revani from the traditional one.  I decided to make a chocolate one using with cocoa powder.   The first time I made it I just used a leftover citrus syrup and it was great.  However, the second time I made this cake, I made a chocolate orange syrup with which I drenched it.

If you are chocolate lovers I am sure you will love this one!

Chocolate Orange Revani


  • 320 grams fine semolina (almost 2 cups)   (1 cup 167 grams)
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 225 grams (1 cup+) sugar
  • 250 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon citrus or vanilla extract (or 2 vanillins)
  • 2 tbsp orange or lemon zest

Ingredients for chocolate syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup leftover orange preserve syrup
  • Orange peel
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 125 grams couverture chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 180ο C / 350o F.
  2. Grease and flour a 20 cm cake tin.
  3. Beat the egg whites with lemon juice until stiff and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed for approximately 10 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well until incorporated.  Stop mixer and scrape the sides of the mixer bowl.
  5. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and mix in the salt, citrus essence (or vanillin powder) and orange zest.
  6. Add the semolina mixture gradually alternating with the egg whites until incorporated.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. In a sauce pan add sugar, water, orange juice, orange peel and cinnamon and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the chocolate and mix until it melts.  Mix in the orange syrup.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool for ten minutes and pour the chocolate syrup on top.
  10. Set aside until it absorbs the syrup and cools completely before serving.

Chocolate revani with chocolate syrup image

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

Other related Recipes:

Coconut Olive Oil Bergamot Revani

Kalon Prama or Samali

Karydopita (Walnut Cake)

Pot Halvas with fruit

Vegan Coconut Mandarin Shamali with Vegan Whipped Cream


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Wednesday 4th of February 2009

Ivy... I really don't know how you manage to be everywhere, attend all events, leave comments in all blogs, cook, attend your family... do you ever sleep?

I'm sorry I'm not commenting more in your blog, but I do sleep at night ;D

Your recipe is sooooo original! I love the use of Powder mastic gum! Thanks so much for the Award Ivy!!! Will post about it, but don't know when... Love from Spain darling!


Wednesday 4th of February 2009

I've never tried mastic gum before...sounds interesting...I'm gonna go look it up now :)


Tuesday 3rd of February 2009

Ivy, your Ravani looks really delish, especially with the cream cheese icing ;o)

Maria x


Monday 2nd of February 2009

I never turn down a piece of revani! The icing is a nice twist.


Monday 2nd of February 2009

This ravani looks great, anything with cream cheese on it is a winner to me!

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