Kesari cake or baked Rava Kesari is my take on making a South-Indian version of Basbousa, a flourless and eggless semolina cake made with ghee.
Today, I am sharing the baked version of Rava Kesari. I have made Namoura or Basbousa and a very popular Mango Basbousa several times but it never occurred to me that our very own Rava Kesari can also take that form!
Rava Kesari, Kesari Bat, and Sooji Halwa are all sisters of the same mother - Sweet Semolina Pudding. Rava Kesari is a Tamilnadu version where Rava means Semolina and Kesar is the name of the Saffron flower but here it refers to the colour of the dish.
The classic Rava Kesari recipe is easier to make than this baked version has a different texture. So if you like to serve a crispy on top and soft inside Kesari cake, then give this recipe a try. Do let me know in the comments. I also found some well-known appliance brand has used this recipe on their blog word to word with no credit. 🙁
- sugar syrup: sugar, water, lime juice with cardamom and saffron.
- fine semolina
- desiccated coconut (optional)
How to bake Rava Kesari?
- Prepare the syrup
- Prepare the batter
- Pour cooled syrup over the hot cake
- Let cool and serve
When I made this, I used milk which I usually do not use in my Rava Kesari. So, you can either use milk or replace it with water. None of my recipes uses artificial colour so here I have used saffron. But if you want only the colour, then use a pinch of food colour or turmeric instead and add more cardamom or rose water for flavour.
Baked Rava Kesari | Semolina Saffron Cake
For the saffron-flavoured sugar syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- a pinch of saffron strands
- 1 green cardamom
For the Rava Kesari batter
- ¾ cup fine semolina
- ¼ cup melted ghee
- 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut optional but recommended
Mix and warm-up
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup prepared syrup
Prepare the syrup
- Boil the sugar and water until all of the sugar is dissolved. Do not stir. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil for 5 to 8 minutes. Switch off and keep it aside.½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, ½ teaspoon lime juice, a pinch of saffron strands, 1 green cardamom
Prepare the batter
- Take time and mix semolina and ghee using fingertips or a rubber spatula until every bit of rava is coated with ghee. Mix in the desiccated coconut, if using.¾ cup fine semolina, ¼ cup melted ghee, 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
- Warm the mixture of sugar, ghee, milk and syrup. Pour and fold them into the semolina ghee bowl. The batter will be thick.2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon ghee, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup prepared syrup
Bake the Rava Kesari
- Preheat the oven to 190°C with a rack in the middle. Grease a shallow cake pan with ghee.
- Dump the prepared dough-like batter and level it evenly. Use a butter knife and score lines to cut portions and sprinkle some slivered pistachios or place cashews.
- Bake for 25 mins or until the top is browned and the sides release from the pan. Remove from the oven and pour the remaining cooled saffron-flavoured sugar syrup all over.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. The texture is crispy on top and soft inside and overall sweet and delicious.