A floral spin on the Greek classic, Ravani. This Chamomile & Greek Mountain Tea soaked semolina cake is perfect for your dessert table.
What is Ravani?
Ravani is a popular cake served in Greece and Turkey (pronounced Revani) that is made with a combination of semolina and all-purpose flour. Once it is baked, it is then soaked in an aromatic syrup that is usually scented with citrus, rosewater, or mastiha (mastic gum).
This cake is soft, syrupy, and so easy to make. This time, I added concentrated Greek Mountain Tea to the syrup which gave it a very floral flavor. There’s also lots of honey in the syrup to compliment the tea. The end result is a simple yet elegant cake that is perfect for tea-time.
What is Greek Mountain Tea?
In Crete, the beautiful Greek island that my family comes from, this mountain tea is known as Malotira. It is part of the Sideritis plants (ironwort) and is commonly used as medicine. My mom always brewed cups of malotira for us when we had colds. She then gave it to us with plenty of lemon juice and honey and we drank many cups until we were all better. Malotira is loaded with antioxidants and is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It is also very tasty unlike most herbs that are used for medicine 😁
Where is Greek Mountain Tea Sold?
Unfortunately, Greek mountain tea only grows in Greece. However, if you have a Greek grocery store nearby, they usually carry this tea. You can also buy some on Amazon (affiliate link) right here.
Are there any substitutes for Mountain Tea?
Yes, of course. Chamomile tea is the perfect substitute and is sold in the tea section of every supermarket. You can use a few tea bags of chamomile instead of the dried stems and flowers. You can even make this cake using Earl Grey tea. Of course, the color will change and it will be more caramel than a pale yellow, but use what you love and have on hand. That’s my motto! Let me know what you used to make this cake in the comments section.
How to make the Tea flavored Syrup
There are just a few ingredients in this syrup and they pack so much flavor:
First, bring the water to a boil and add the tea. Reduce the heat to low and steep the tea for 5-7 minutes. Strain the tea into another container and reserve the tea leaves and stems for later.
Place the strained tea back into the saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the honey. Mix until the honey has dissolve and then add the tea leaves/stems back in so that they release more flavor into the syrup.
Strain the tea and use it to flavor any drinks or cakes. It will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Can the cake be made ahead?
Yes. Feel free to make the cake a day or two ahead and keep it refrigerated. The syrup will perfume the cake and it actually tastes even better the next day. Serve the cake with tea or coffee for an afternoon treat.
Where is Semolina flour sold?
Semolina flour is the main component of this cake. It gives the cake a hearty and rustic texture and should not be substituted with anything else. Nowadays, semolina flour can be found in the baking aisle of many supermarkets near the specialty flours. If you have a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern grocery store nearby they will usually carry the coarse semolina and the fine. For this cake, the finely ground semolina flour is the one to buy. If you prefer to shop online, purchase some right here.
Icing and Decorating Options.
This is a simple cake with a lot of flavor and is perfectly beautiful and delicious without any decorations. Just place it on a platter and brew a pot of tea or coffee and you’re good to go. However, if you’re a Fancy Nancy (like me 🙋🏻♀️) then make a simple glaze and pour over top or serve alongside so that your guests can add some to their slice if they’d like.
To make the glaze you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons of milk
- lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Just combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Add more milk if you like your icing more translucent and runny and more confectioner’s sugar if you prefer a thicker glaze. Instead of milk, you can use some cooled mountain tea instead.
I hope that you give this recipe a try and you let me know what you think. Share pictures with me on social media because I LOVE seeing your recreations. Make this cake for your loved ones and let me know what you did differently so that I can give it a try as well. Oh!! I forgot to mention that some chopped pistachios on top would be spectacular!!! The options are endless. Kali Orexi and I will be back soon with another recipe worth sharing. Filakia.
Have you tried these Syrupy Cakes?
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- The Wet Ingredients:
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ½ cup of olive oil/vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- The Dry Ingredients:
- 3/4 cups (140 g) fine semolina flour
- 1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest of half a lemon/orange
- For the syrup:
- 4-5 Chamomile tea bags or a handful of Greek Mountain tea
- juice of half of a lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 1 and ¾ cups of water
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C
Brush a 9-inch round springform pan with olive oil and line with parchment paper.
Make the cake batter:
Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat for 3-4 minutes until pale and frothy.
Add the olive oil and vanilla extract and beat together.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2-3 batches and beat on low speed until incorporated.
Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan and bake in the center rack for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick that is inserted in the center comes out clean.
Make the Syrup:
Bring the water to a boil and add the tea. Steep for 5-7 minutes and then strain the tea. Add the liquid back to the pan along with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey until dissolved. Add the tea leaves and stems back into the pot so that it can steep until the cake is ready.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven poke it a few times with a toothpick and pour the warm syrup all over the cake. Wrap some aluminum foil on the bottom and up the sides of the baking pan so that the syrup does not leak out and create a mess.
Allow the cake to absorb all of the syrup. About 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove the cake from the pan and set it on a serving dish with coffee or tea. Enjoy!