Selin Rozanes, in her Turkish Flavours cooking class in Istanbul began by teaching us how to make the dessert, a semolina sponge cake called Revani, which she said has Sephardic origins.

For the cake:

4 T flour

1 cup fine semolina

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ cup milk

½ oil (sunflower or olive)

zest of 1 lemon or orange

2 t baking powder

For the syrup

juice and grated zest of 1 lemon or orange

2 cups fine sugar

4 cups water

finely ground pistachios to garnish


Preheat oven to 350

grease bottom of 9 x 12 baking pan

1. Prepare syrup by adding all ingredients into a pan. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the cake.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the sugar until light and creamy. Add the orange or lemon zest and gradually add the flour and the semolina mix.

3. Let all ingredients beat together and then put into prepared dish.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown, testing with a toothpick to see if it’s completely cooked. Toothpick should come out clean.

5. While still in the baking dish, cut into squares and pour the syrup over the entire cake. Set aside and allow the sponge cake to absorb the syrup.

6. In about 20 minutes, the cake can be transferred to a serving dish and garnished with the ground pistachios on each piece. Some people like to add coconut and/or heavy cream as well.