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Greek Orange Cake Recipe (Portokalopita) That’s Rich, Moist, and Citrussy

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Bring a classic Greek dessert to life in your home kitchen with our Portokalopita Greek orange cake recipe, and treat friends and family to a rich, moist, and citrussy slice of sun-kissed heaven!

Portokalopita Recipe

For cake lovers, Portokalopita needs to go straight to the top of their must-try list. The combination of baked pastry layers soaked in sweet syrup infused with the flavors and aromas of one of the world’s most beloved fruits makes for a dessert that just instantly transports you to the orange groves of the Greek hillsides from the moment you bite in.

This orange cake is a crowd-pleaser of epic proportions, and together we’re going to make this beloved Greek dish together – let’s read on!

What is Portokalopita?

Aptly named, portokalopita, or ‘orange cake’, is a dessert of Greek origin, consisting of layers of phyllo/filo dough and other ingredients soaked in an orange-based sweet syrup, despite initially looking like and texturally resembling a sponge cake.

Greece has a dessert family known as siropiasta, referring to cakes and sweet dishes soaked in syrup, of which the popular baklava is also a member.

Nearly always consumed as a dessert with hot coffee, portokalopita is a beloved staple dessert of Greek cuisine.

Recipe Ingredients

To make our portokalopita / Greek orange cake recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • Filo/Phyllo – 16oz (450 grams)
  • Eggs – 5 medium
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Orange Zest – from 2 oranges
  • Sunflower Oil – 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla – 1 teaspoon
  • Greek Yogurt – 1 cup
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Oranges – 2

For the syrup:

  • Orange Juice – juice from 5 oranges
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Sugar – 2 cups
  • Orange Zest – zest from 1 orange
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 stick

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Make the syrup.

Add all the syrup ingredients (orange juice, water, sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon stick) to a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Set it aside to cool.

Step 2 – Bunch up the filo accordion-style and add it to a baking tray.

Step 3 – Preheat the oven to 210°F (100°C) and dehydrate the filo for about an hour until the filo is dried out. Take it out and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.

Before dehydrating the filo
After dehydrating the filo

Step 4 – Make the batter for the portokalopita. To start, in a bowl, beat the eggs with sugar with a hand mixer for about 8-10 minutes.

Step 5 – Add the orange zest, oil, vanilla, yogurt, baking powder, and soda, and mix for 10 seconds.

Step 6 – Using your hands, break down the phyllo/filo.

Step 7 – Add the broken filo to the batter, in 4-5 batches, mixing lightly after every batch with a spatula (careful not to overmix).

Step 8 – Grease a baking pan with butter and sprinkle some semolina or flour. Pour the batter into the baking pan.

Step 9 – Add 8 thin slices of oranges on top of the batter.

Step 10 – Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C), and bake the batter for about 45-50 minutes until golden.

Step 11 – Strain the syrup.

Step 12 – Pour the cold syrup over the cake as soon as it’s out of the oven.

Step 13 – Once covered in syrup, let the portakalopita absorb the syrup for at least an hour but preferably overnight!

Then your portokalopita is ready to be enjoyed by you, loved ones, and your dinner guests.

Serving Suggestions

Coffee – To do as the Greeks do, serve each rich, sweet, and moist slice with hot coffee.

Ice Cream – You could also enjoy it hot with a dollop of creamy ice cream for a post-dinner treat loaded with sweet orange goodness. Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt – If ice cream is a little too sweet for you, try a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt.

Crushed Nuts – Baklava-style, you could top each serving with a sprinkle of crushed pistachios or other nuts.

This truly is a classic Greek dessert, and we hope you love it, savor it, and become seduced by its rich, sweet, orange-fueled magic.

Portokalopita Recipe Card

Greek Orange Cake (Portokalopita)

4.84 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 16 oz 450 grams filo/phyllo (for the batter)
  • 5 medium eggs for the batter
  • 1 cup sugar for the batter
  • orange zest from 2 oranges for the batter
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil for the batter
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste for the batter
  • 1 cup greek yogurt for the batter
  • 2 tsp baking powder for the batter
  • 2 oranges for topping the cake
  • juice from 5 oranges for the syrup
  • 2 cups water for the syrup
  • 2 cups sugar for the syrup
  • zest from 1 orange for the syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick for the syrup

Instructions

  • Make the syrup. Add all the syrup ingredients (orange juice, water, sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon stick) to a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Set it aside to cool.
  • Bunch up the filo accordion-style and add it to a baking tray.
  • Preheat the oven to 210°F (100°C) and dehydrate the filo for about an hour until the filo is dried out. Take it out and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.
  • Make the batter for the portokalopita. To start, in a bowl, beat the eggs with sugar with a hand mixer for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the orange zest, oil, vanilla, yogurt, baking powder, and soda, and mix for 10 seconds.
  • Using your hands, break down the phyllo/filo.
  • Add the broken filo to the batter, in 4-5 batches, mixing lightly after every batch with a spatula (careful not to overmix).
  • Grease a baking pan with butter and sprinkle some semolina or flour. Pour the batter into the baking pan.
  • Add 8 thin slices of oranges on top of the batter.
  • Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C), and bake the batter for about 45-50 minutes until golden.
  • Strain the syrup.
  • Pour the cold syrup over the cake as soon as it’s out of the oven.
  • Once covered in syrup, let the portakalopita absorb the syrup for at least an hour but preferably overnight! Then your portokalopita is ready to be enjoyed by you, loved ones, and your dinner guests.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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