Home Desserts Greek Orange Cake (Portokalopita)

Greek Orange Cake (Portokalopita)

I just baked the most amazing Greek orange cake, also known as portokalopita. It’s sunshine on a plate! The first bite transported me straight to a bakery in Santorini.

The secret is the aromatic orange zest. I used the juiciest oranges I could find, and the result was pure magic. And I love how this cake is both rustic and elegant. 

Homemade Greek orange cake with phyllo dough, bursting with tangy citrus flavor and hints of sweetness
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If you’re looking for a dessert to brighten your day, give this recipe a try. Your tastebuds will thank you!

Why You’ll Love This Greek Orange Cake

You’ll fall in love with this cake for more reasons than one!

  • Unique Texture: It has a one-of-a-kind, custardy texture thanks to the use of shredded phyllo dough.
  • Intense Flavor: The combination of fresh orange juice, zest, and a cinnamon-infused syrup is to die for.
  • Perfect Make-Ahead: This cake actually tastes even better the day after baking. It’s perfect to make ahead! 
  • Greek Tradition: Explore the rich culinary heritage of Greece from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need to make this traditional cake:

  • Phyllo Dough: The star ingredient to replace flour, creating a unique texture and flavor.
  • Large Oranges: To infuse the cake with their tangy sweetness.
  • Eggs: The binding agent holding the cake together.
  • Greek Yogurt: A creamy addition to make the cake moist and tender.
  • Vegetable Oil: It ensures a soft and delicate crumb.
  • Sugar: It balances the tartness of the oranges and creates a delightful syrup.
  • Vanilla Extract: A classic flavor enhancer.
  • Baking Powder: The leavening agent to help the cake rise to perfection.
  • Orange Zest: It packs a punch of citrusy flavor.
  • Cinnamon Stick: A warm and fragrant spice to add depth to the syrup.
  • Zest of 1 Orange: The extra boost elevates the syrup to new heights.
a hand pouring syrup over a Greek orange cake

How to Make Greek Orange Cake

Follow these steps to whip up portokalopita:

  1. Prepare the phyllo. Bake the sliced phyllo strips until lightly browned and crumble into small pieces.
  2. Make the syrup. Boil the water, sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest until slightly thickened. Let cool completely.
  3. Mix the batter. Whisk the eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, baking powder, and orange zest until smooth.
  4. Combine the ingredients. Stir the crumbled phyllo into the batter until evenly moistened.
  5. Bake the cake. Pour batter into a greased pan and bake until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Add the syrup. Pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot cake and let it absorb.
  7. Cool and chill. Allow the cake to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  8. Serve and enjoy. Slice the chilled portokalopita and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Freshly baked Greek orange cake, exuding warmth and comfort with every bite

Tips For the Best Greek Orange Cake

These tips and tricks result in the very best cake:

  • Dry out the phyllo. Spread out the phyllo sheets and let them dry completely before crumbling into the batter. This prevents the cake from getting soggy.
  • Chill the syrup. Prepare the orange syrup ahead of time. Let it cool to room temperature before pouring over the hot cake.
  • Take a shortcut. Mix the cake batter in a food processor or blender for a quick and easy preparation.
  • Chill overnight. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least a few hours or overnight after adding the syrup. It makes the flavor even better.
  • Experiment and have fun. Make a “lemonopita” using lemons instead of oranges. Add chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or raisins to the batter.
  • Make serving sensational. Serve chilled or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt. Drizzle with chocolate syrup or ganache for a chocolate-orange combo. Garnish with candied orange slices if desired.
Vibrant orange cake, adorned with citrus slices for a delightful Greek twist

How to Store

Keep Greek Orange Cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors will meld and intensify over time, making it even more delicious.

It’s not recommended to freeze portokalopita. The delicate texture of the phyllo-based cake may become soggy. It’s best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated.

Greek Orange Cake

Course: DessertCuisine: Greek
Servings

16

servings
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

50

minutes
Calories

413

kcal

This traditional Greek orange cake is full of citrus flavor! It’s moist, delicious, and guaranteed to satisfy.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 oz) phyllo dough, thawed

  • 4 large oranges

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (2% fat)

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 4 tsp baking powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest

  • For the syrup:
  • 1 2/3 cups water

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • Zest of 1 orange

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Unroll the thawed phyllo sheets and cut them into 1/2-inch wide strips using a sharp knife. Spread out the strips on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until completely dry and lightly browned. Let cool and crumble into small pieces.
  • Prepare the syrup by combining the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and orange zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened. Set aside to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, Greek yogurt, vegetable oil, vanilla, baking powder, and orange zest until smooth.
  • Gradually stir the crumbled phyllo pieces into the egg mixture until evenly incorporated and moistened.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot cake. Let the syrup absorb and the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.
  • For the best flavor and texture, cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving. Portokalopita tastes even better the next day!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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