Loading...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Buttery Greek Ravani with coconut and orange syrup




Friday is always the best day of the week, the whole week end stretching ahead of us with plenty of time to spend with family and friends, doing stuff you have been impatient to tackle all week long. No pre-dawn alarms going off, long leisurely breakfasts and cozy winter afternoons to spend at home reading, baking or watching the game.

Some Fridays, however, are better than others.
This is one of those: I cannot start telling you how excited I am to get this work week over with. It was pretty crappy, let me tell you, with part of our team calling in sick, tons of work and... the dreaded call from daycare on Tuesday to inform me that my son had a fever. I will spare you the long version of how my other colleague got the same call and how we struggled all week with the workload and organizing several babysitter so their schedules would fit perfectly, allowing us to stay in front of our computers to face the emergency.




To top it all off, it snowed. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow and get as excited as my kids when I see the first flakes. But trading in my bike for public transportation before dawn and trying to coordinate the arrival and departure of the aforementioned army of babysitters in the middle of a minor snow storm for several days in a row just made the week that much more stressful.

But now it is late afternoon and my week end is starting. I am savoring this moment, every minute of this Friday night.

I am looking forward to a relaxed evening with my husband and kids. No constant eyeing the clock, rushing dinner so the little ones get to bed on time. We’ll leave that to a school night, thank you very much. Maybe Mommy and Daddy will have a glass (or two) of wine and will listen to them chat away about their week and it won’t matter if it takes twenty minutes longer to finish those vegetables they always relegate to the side of their plate.



After dinner they will climb into Mommy and Daddy’s bed to all read a book together (even a long one tonight, who cares?) and then they will be allowed to fall asleep there, a special weekend treat. Mommy and Daddy will perhaps enjoy a movie and nibble on something sweet and then they will carry their babies into their room and tuck them in for the night.

I know I can get nice and cozy under my duvet and read until my eyes lids start drooping because I don’t have to worry about being at my desk at 7:00 the next morning. There is nothing better than that luxurious feeling of having all the time in the world (or until you can stay awake) to do something you love.


You want to hear about something else that is truly luxurious? A syrup soaked cake. The most dense yet fluffy, moist cake you have ever tasted, a Greek siropiasta (which literally means soaked in syrup) dessert called ravani. The recipe comes from Magda and I knew it would be special because I already made her saragli a while back and they were outstanding. I am usually more inclined towards chocolate and ice cream when I think dessert but as I get older grow up I feel more and more attracted to the sticky, crunchy desserts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern tradition.
I made this using up things in my pantry (dessicated coconut included!). Besides the coconut perhaps, you will probably have everything you need in the house already. What is not to love?



Magda made some variations to the original recipe and I made some more. I used orange instead of lemon because I wanted a really subtle citrus flavor. The next time I will try the lemon to see how it contrasts with the sweetness. The texture is reminiscent of a Bounty bar but the flavors are delicate so don’t let words like orange, syrup or coconut scare you away if you are more of a brownie or custard kind of person. Trust me, because I am. Make this.
I wish you all a fabulous Friday!






Ingredients

Cake
160gr butter, room temperature and a little extra to grease pan
230gr sugar
3 eggs
160ml milk
250gr flour
1tsp baking powder
140gr desiccated coconut (not sweetened)

Syrup
350gr sugar
360ml water
juice of half an orange, freshly squeezed
orange peel from the same orange

Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F. Grease the pan (use a spring-form if you have one; I didn’t because mine recently broke) with butter.

In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour in the milk and keep beating. Add flour and baking powder and finally mix in the coconut until blended.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake it on the lower rack of the oven for 35 minutes. Then move it to the middle rack and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about another 15 minutes).

In the meantime, to make the syrup, place the sugar, water, orange juice and orange peel in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and keep stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes. Remove the peel from the saucepan and discard.

When the cake is done let it cool, but not completely. When it is still warm, pour the still-warm syrup over it, one spoonful at a time starting from the middle.

Leave the soaked cake to absorb all the syrup and let it cool completely. Open the spring form pan and cut the cake into squares, or if you use a normal pan like I did, serve in slices.


Pin It

31 comments:

  1. I heard the last couple of weeks in Italy have been messy with strikes, snow and so on... well enjoy the weekend!

    The cake looks like a great start for a relaxing couple of days!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so very happy you enjoyed my cake. This is one of the Greek classics, even though the traditional one has semolina in it and no coconut. What can I say, I love playing around with my Greek traditions :)

    It looks fabulous, you did such a fantastic job and I'm sure the orange gives it a nice flavor. Still, I have to say that the lemon takes the edge off all that sweetness of the syrup and sugar in it. Try it with lemon next time and you'll see the difference.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I most certainly will try the lemon version. We all loved this cake, thanks!

      Delete
  3. What a week you have had and I am sure this bitterly cold weather has not helped! It is snowing here so I am enjoying staying warm and catching up with all my blogging friends.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They look yummy

    Aarthi
    http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. I expected to see a semolina cake but this one is wonderful as well, love that moistening syrup bursting with orange flavor~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Magda wrote in her post that ravani is usually made with semolina but she decided to make this change, resulting in a fluffier cake.

      Delete
  6. I LOVE cakes like this soaked in syrup - so simple, decadent and delicious. It's just started snowing here in the UK and it's so exciting to have some properly cold weather - just the kind of weather, in fact, in which a cake like this would be the perfect comfort food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has started snowing here again too! Yaaay!

      Delete
  7. This looks SO super moist and delicious!!! Sorry to hear about your hard week...that stinks. It's frustrating because you feel like you can't give 100% to any one "thing." I hope you guys had that nice, relaxing weekend. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The week end was really nice and my batteries are charged for the new week (although that colleague I wrote about came down with the flu herself on the week end. It never ends, hehe.

      Delete
  8. Looks so tasty. I've just stumbled across your blog, and having scrolled through a few of your posts, I decided to add you to my blogroll - you've got some great recipes. Keep up the good work. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi SW, nice to meet you. Glad you are enjoying and looking forward to discovering your blog. Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  9. The texture looks absolutely gorgeous. And I hope it all looks up for you lovely! I love snow too but really if I am to be honest, I like it from a distance or if I don't have to go out because everything takes so much longer!

    ReplyDelete
  10. My dessert tastes are changing in the same direction as I 'grow up' and this coconut treat is making me salivate. I often bake a semolina version, but this sounds even better.

    Snow in Milan is always a chaos (but so lovely... don't you love the unexpected silence when it snows at night?), and so are flu waves in schools - well done for keeping up with everything!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love snow, I really do. It just seems like the whole city falls into chaos for a few cm. I am very curious now to try the original version with semolina...

      Delete
  11. Looks so delicious. Too bad I'm only craving savory foods these days. Strange how pregnancy does that to me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait...YOU ARE PREGNANT??? Congratulations! How many months?

      Delete
    2. Tee hee.... like how I dropped that one in a comment? So Roman will be a big brother the week of his 3rd birthday! (Assuming all goes well) I'm only 8 weeks :) And Baby Cakes Four?!?

      Delete
  12. Yum! This looks delicious! I am starting to love citrus in dessert so much more than I used to. You are right... I think we are "growing up"! hehehe I hope this week is better than the last one. We are all sick too... stomach bug, AGAIN. The worst for a food blogger! HEHEHE <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so bizzarre how our tastes change... I hope you are over the stomach bug, that is the worst. Poor you. My week is better although now that one of my team is back, the other one got the flu. C'est la vie!

      Delete
  13. I don't have crappy work weeks, but I do have crappy school weeks...plenty of them! Hand a big slice over, please! Weekdays are fine too! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel for you, I remember those really well. At least at work you get paid for a crappy week. Handing over your slice immediately!

      Delete
  14. Wow, wow and wow. What sort of flour did you use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know this will sound silly, I am on a very harsh diet, not to loose weight, but for health reasons....
      Do you think it would be ok to put olive oil instead of butter? I imagine that the taste will be not so explosive, but it is hard to limit everything that I eat, it has been almost 5 months now, I am starting to feel quite stressed about my limitations....it would be great to "transform " your lovely recipes in a way that I could still enjoy them.
      I don't miss one posting!
      Rosequist

      Delete
    2. Hi Amy, sorry to get back to you so late. When I do not specify I use all purpose flour. Or, because I live in Italy "00" flour, but it means the recipe calls for all purpose flour.

      Delete
    3. Hi Rosequist, thank you so much for your kind words. They really mean a lot to me. To be honest I think olive oil would work very well, because of the Mediterranean flavors in it. I made a cake a while back with olive oil and it turned out delicious and moist. Check it out: http://nutsaboutfooditaly.blogspot.com/2011/02/olive-oil-lemon-zest-and-greek-yogurt.html
      If you make it, let me know. I am curious about the result.

      Delete
    4. I tried your yogurt cake, how lovely!!!!!!!
      that was how I "met you", by looking for a yogurt and olive oil cake on the web, you appeared like this! Like a vision! :)

      I will try to substitute olive oil to butter and will let you know. I will try this saturday.

      Rosequist

      Delete
    5. Hi Rosequist,
      look forward to hearing back and hope you enjoy it.

      Delete
  15. That looks so special! What a surprise for guests if I made that one. I think I will. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maureen, would love to hear about it if you do.

      Delete

Leave a suggestion, opinion or your own experience. I love hearing from you.