Revani was named for a sixteenth-century Turkish poet who wrote about the delights of food, and both Greek and Turkish Jews traditionally make this dessert. I love the texture of it. It has a nice crunchiness due to the use of semolina. Surprisingly, even with the syrup, it is not overly sweet. You could serve the cake without the syrup, but it would be too dry to stand alone and would need a compote of berries or fruit spooned on ton.
To make the syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the syrup thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. It should not be too thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let cool.
To make the cake, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and zest in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is very thick and pale and holds a 3-second ribbon when the beaters are lifted. In a separate bowl, stir together the semolina or Cream of Wheat and the all-purpose flour.
Fold the flour mixture into the yolk mixture. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in four batches into the yolk mixture alternately with the melted butter, beginning and ending with the whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Remove from the oven and place on a rack. Pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot cake. Let the cake cool completely before serving.
© 2000 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.