Ravani Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon Syrup | Egyptian Basbousa


Try to resist Ravani or Basbousa, a moist and light semolina syrup cake with a touch of rosewater to enhance the exotic middle-eastern in everyone. This cake is flour-free, coconut free and made with yoghurt and semolina flour. 

semolina syrup cake ravani

It should be noted semolina syrup cakes are popular everywhere around the middle-east as well as Eastern Europe.  The Egyptians call it Basbousa, In Iran, it is referred to as  Revani and in southern Greece, it is called Ravani.  Wherever it came from, this distinctive cake is popular with good reason.

basbousa semolina cake

Ravani the Greek Syrup Cake version is surprisingly easy to make in our Australian homes. You can make as syrupy or sweet as you like.  I have created this semolina cake with a nice sweet yet not too overwhelmingly sweet flavour by using CSR Smart White Sugar – it makes for a great compromise in sugar content.

Ravani is one of the many greek syrup cakes in greek cuisine ( σιροπιασταστα γλυκα ).   What is wonderful about the syrup cake recipes on olives and feta is, although they are still distinctly greek, their sweetness has been altered just that little bit.  Many of us in the western world are not quite accustomed to the heavy sweet dense sweetness and in all honesty, I tend to give the ones that are very rich a miss when I see them. 

You may want to try loukoumades, olive oil semolina cake with lemon syrup or Flourless Almond Cake with lemon srevani semolina cake syrup rosewateryrup.

A little tip when handling syrup.  Pour the cold syrup over the hot cake then wait for the cake to cool down. When preparing the syrup for the semolina cake, stir the sugar only at first, then simmer gently and allow the water to reduce and thicken a little bit.  This should take about 5 – 10 minutes.

Ravani, Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon Syrup | Egyptian Basbousa

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Try to resist this moist and light semolina syrup cake with a touch of rosewater to bring out the middle-eastern in everyone. This cake is flour free.


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar or CSR Smart Sugar Blend*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 medium eggs (50g each)
  • 2 cups fine semolina
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ( 2.5ml ) bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 cup pot set greek yoghurt* at room temp
  • 12 -16 blanched almonds

Rosewater Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar or CSR Smart Sugar Blend*
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 of a lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater


  1. Before you start, make sure the butter is at room temperature. Soft to the touch and does not hold resistance when you cut through it.
  2. Sift the semolina, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together.
  3. Beat the butter, Vanilla essence and sugar until light and fluffy. Any butter that flicks to the side of the bowl push it back into the mixture and beat. Add one egg in at a time, and beat well after each addition. Beat in the yoghurt.
  4. Fold semolina mixture with creamed butter.
  5. Spread batter into a small greased slab cake tin ( approximately 25cm x 25cm or 20 x 30cm, and place almonds on top of cake in rows. Arrange the almonds, so that when your cutting the cake each slice will have one almond.
  6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes in 180 degree oven.
  7. While your cake is cooking make syrup. Add all the ingredients (lemon juice, rind, water and sugar) except for the rosewater together into a small saucepan and allow to boil until syrup reduces by half. Stand the syrup to cool down.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of rosewater into syrup.
  9. Pour cold syrup over hot cake, and allow to cool.
  10. Cut into diamonds or squares.
  11. Serve.


*If your in Australia, and would like to be mindful of the sugar content, CSR Smart Sugar Blend a blend of white sugar and Stevia will work as a substitute. It yields 50% less sugar but with the same sweetness. Unfortunately maple syrup and honey are not substitutes for this recipe.

I have used Chobani Greek Yoghurt 5% fat.*

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. yasmeen says:

    hi, when should you add the eggs, vanilla essence etc? sorry, beginner here.

    1. Hi Yasmeen, if you still want to make this cake I have elaborated within the recipe. Happy Baking !

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