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Revani or Ravani with Masticha Cream Cheese Frosting

Revani 2 with cherriesJPG


Revani is one of those traditional Greek desserts our mums used to make.  The classic recipe of Revani 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.

Classic Revani

I have made a Revani recipe many times 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 masticha (mastic gum), it fits with the event I am hosting Think Spice… Think Twice, introducing two spices:  fennel seeds and masticha.

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 and wherever I mention “glass” you can use a measuring cup, which is roughly of the same capacity.


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 1 hour

Yields: 16 pieces


  • 1 1/3 glass extra fine semolina (200 grams)
  • 1 1/3 glass all purpose flour (160 grams)
  • 1 1/3 glass sugar (240 grams)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • ½ glass milk (100 ml)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon mastic gum, pound with 1 teaspoon sugar


  • 3 glasses sugar (540 grams)
  • 3 glasses water (600 ml)
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter (60 grams)

Masticha Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 whipping 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)
  • 1/2 teaspoon masticha (mastic resins)
  • 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.   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.  See how to preserve it here.

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

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 milk, 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 with the cream cheese frosting and with the cherries.

Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting:

1.  In a mixing bowl whip the whipping 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 stiffer 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.


4.  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.

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

Chocolate Orange Revani

Chocolate-orange Ravani whole

This is a very different Revani from the traditional one.  I decided to make it with cocoa powder.   The first time I made it I left it plain but the second time 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 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, 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-orange Ravani


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:


Kalon Prama or Samali

Karydopita (Walnut Cake)

Revani or Ravani with Whipping Cream and Pineapple (orange rind and vanilla can be substituted with mastic gum)

Pot Halvas with fruit

Vegan Coconut Mandarin Shamali with Vegan Whipped Cream


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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25 Responses

  1. I love revani! This version with frosting looks mighty delicious!

    Cheers and have a wonderful weekend,


  2. Beautiful cake…I love the diagonal lines across the top. I’m happy to be in such good company!

  3. I always love a cream cheese icing Ivy. Aglaia made us a walnut based cake when we were there that had the same texture you describe. We had mastic ice cream and “submarines” so they definitely tried to introduce us to this authentic Greek flavour as well. You also sent mastic gum which didn’t last long either:D

  4. giz

    I wonder if Greektown would have mastic gum – I’m now determined to find it. Such a nice award.

  5. Wow! Congratulations on your award! And thank you for passing it to me! 🙂

    I have to confess that before your “Think Spice” event, I have not heard of mastic gum. I will have to see if it is available here. I would like to try it and expand my “spice” knowledge.

    You cake is lovely! specially with the cream cheese frosting. Who can resist the cream cheese frosting? 🙂

  6. Thanks a ton sweetheart. *BLUSH*…you made my day, & this is a real treat. Now I’m wondering what mastic gum is; does sound ever so intriguing Ivy! I love the halvas, & it’s so strange that Indian & Greek cuisines both have so many halwas/halvas!

  7. Ivy: you are killing me! 🙂 i want to eat all these now! of course, i have to make them first…:( whichever it is, i will definitely try the recipes. they all look delicious. and i have not heard of mastic gum. this is a fantastic way to get introduced to it. thanks!

  8. Ben

    There are a couple of ingredients there I have never used before, but the final result sounds like something I would love to try. When I visit Greece you will have to introduce me to some of those desserts you mentioned. I am intrigued! 🙂

  9. Hi Ivy,

    Thanks for the recipes using mastic gum. I was thinking where and what should I do with the packet of opaque little drops of ‘thing’ my friend put in my luggage for me to take back when I visited him LOL *grinning* I only tasted mastic gums which I’m the only one chewing for fun and the rest of my family just prefer the usual chewing gums.

    I think the next trip I must get is the salepi…

    Have wonderful weekend and don’t forget to take a rest ok? Hugs.

  10. Oh, I love the idea of the cream cheese frosting on revani! How delicious, Ivy!

  11. I too love the idea of a cream cheese frosting on the revani Ivy! Yum!

  12. The decorated cake looks pretty, Ivy.
    Baked halwa is something new to me. Here in India, we make a lot of different types of halwa, from semolina too. But we do it on the stove top so I think that is what you mean by pot halwa.

  13. Waw Ivy! That looks fabulously decilious! I am going to try this! And I agree creme cheese frosting wonderful!

  14. Ciao ! I love this semolina recipe !! And I’m curious about mastic gum !!(I should start loosing some weight too…but it’s hard !)

  15. The cake looks so yumm.

  16. Absolutely beautiful. Lip smacking cake. Yum, yum.

  17. Beautiful cake!! I would love to try it soon.

  18. Hello Ivy – What a delicious looking dish. Never heard of mastic gum, and I am now going on a google R&D to learn more about it!

    I thought I’ll share a link of a picture of snake-gourd I found, so that you can see what it looks like on a plant!


    This is a native of India, although it can be grown in any tropical place.
    More info here http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2005-04-01/Snake-Gourd.aspx

  19. This looks delicious with the cherries on the top Ivy.

  20. The ravani looks delicious–it’s a lovely variation. My mom’s specialties are ravani and baklava and my favorite above all is the ravani. I make it regularly for the last few years and often give my husband trays to take to work with him and now all his co-workers constantly ask for more ravani!


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

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

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


  24. I’ve never tried mastic gum before…sounds interesting…I’m gonna go look it up now 🙂

  25. 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!