Ravani is a syrupy Greek Cake. It is very popular dessert to all Greeks. However, it is typically made with semolina or a combination of farina, coconut and flour. I find the semolina and farina make it heavy and add a grainy texture. I prefer my families version much better. My mother makes a beautiful sponge cake with a lemon syrup. It's light, airy with hints of lemon. There is no added fat to this cake other than the egg yolks.
Many Greek desserts are drenched in syrup, this is typical to many Middle Eastern Desserts. You can eliminate the syrup and just serve with berries and cream. However, I do recommend trying this version. The cake is heavily drenched in syrup and the sponge cake soaks it all up. It might be shocking at first at how much syrup you add, but try it out. You can serve with fresh berries and whip cream. It's a sophisticated dessert. I also dust the tops of cake slices with powder sugar.
6 jumbo eggs, room temperature separated
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cake flour (must use cake flour)
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Cream of tarter (to be added to egg whites when whipping)
In a stand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar, add a little water from the 2/3 cup water if needed at this time. Beat until creamy and smooth for 5 minutes. Add remaining water slowly and continue to beat. Sift all dry ingredients and slowly add to egg yolk/sugar mixture. Mix well. Place batter in a big bowl. Clean your mixing bowl very well, add egg whites plus one tsp. cream of tarter. Beat into stiff moist peaks. Gently fold egg whites into batter. Be careful not to deflate.
Grease and flour a 10x12 pan with 2 inch plus sides. If using a 9x13 it must have 3 inch sides or you will have too much batter. I use disposable aluminum pans that are used for chafing pans. They are 10x12x2.
Gently pour batter into prepared pan. Even out batter with back of spatula. Do not tap down pan on counter. You do not want to deflate batter. Place in a 350 degree oven for 55 minutes until golden. Do not be tempted to open your oven until at least 45 minutes. You can do the toothpick test to make sure cake is done.
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups water
Rind of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Place all ingredients in sauce pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer on a medium boil for 15 minutes.
Bake sponge cake first. Cool cake completely. Cut into diamond cuts using a serrated knife. Poor very hot syrup all over cake. I use a ladle and do this gently, making sure all pieces are drenched. Cover cake loosely with foil and let the cake rest for a few hours soaking up liquid. When ready to serve dust each piece with powder sugar.
Store soaked cake covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.