Portokalopita (Greek Orange Cake)

Greek

Portokalopita (Greek Orange Phyllo Cake)

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Prep

45 minutes

Cook

30 minutes

Yield

8

Portokalopita is an orange syrup-soaked cake made with phyllo. It's traditionally made in Greece and is so flavorful and impressive to serve to your family and friends.

Portokalopita is a traditional Greek syrup cake that originated in Crete. As someone who grew up in a Greek household, it was common for my family to make desserts soaked in syrup. Portokalopita has to be one of my favorites because I love how it’s sweet, has that citrus flavor, and pairs so perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Taking a slice of Portokalopita

❤️ Why You’ll Love Portokalopita

  • Flavorful: Of course you can’t compete with a citrus cake. The orange flavor really shines through in this and makes it next level 🍊
  • Traditional: This traditional Greek dessert is a sure way to impress your friends and family. It instantly transports me back to Greece

🍲 Ingredients

Phyllo – Phyllo (or filo) is a type of pastry. It is very thin, paper like, and is common across Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. You can find it in your grocery store in the freezer section where you’d normally find other pastries like pie crust

Orange Syrup 🍊 The key element to this dessert is the orange syrup which is made similarly to a simple syrup but with freshly squeezed orange juice in it in order to get that citrus taste. This syrup is so good you could totally use it for cocktails, to drizzle on pancakes, or whatever you wish

Portokalopita with a scoop of ice cream on top

👩‍🍳 How to Make Portokalopita

  1. Preheat the oven to 200F.  To a large baking dish, place 1 phyllo sheet at a time and scrunch up each sheet, pushing it to the end of the pan, lining them up until you fit all the scrunched up sheets in. Bake it low and slow until crumbly – about 30-40 minutes, scrunch with your hands every 10 minutes. When finished the phyllo should be completely dry and crumbly. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the orange syrup:  Place the sugar, fresh orange juice, water and cinnamon stick in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low, keeping at a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture will be slightly syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. Prepare the 9 inch springform pan by greasing with 1-2 tbsp butter and then dust with flour. Set aside.
  4. Once the phyllo is cooled, preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs vigorously for 1-2 minutes until combined, slightly lighter in colour and frothy.
  6. Add the orange zest, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and whisk well until combined.
  7. Next add the olive oil and fresh squeezed orange juice and whisk until combined.
  8. Finally, crumble the phyllo into fine pieces. Then, add in the finely crumbled phyllo gradually into the cake batter, continually whisking so the pieces don’t get super clumpy.
  9. Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake in the 350F preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until nicely golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
  10. Once the cake is baked, immediately use a skewer to poke holes into the cake and then ladle the cooled orange syrup all over the hot cake, one ladle at a time, letting the cake absorb the syrup before adding another ladleful of syrup. Repeat until all of the syrup has been used.
  11. Let the cake fully cool before cutting and serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

🪄 Tips and Tricks

  • This cake is even better the day after it’s made! So, make it the day before you plan on serving if desired
  • If you love this Greek cake, try our Greek Apple Cake
  • It is important that you use freshly squeezed orange juice in this recipe for the best, most flavorful results
Digging into a slice of Portokalopita


🗒 Substitutions

To keep this recipe traditional, you’ll want to stick to this recipe as is. If you are trying to make this gluten-free, you can look for gluten-free phyllo. You’ll find some other creators who have made variations of this online utilizing flour instead of phyllo but I would recommend you follow this recipe as is for the best results.

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If you are looking for another phyllo syrup cake to try, you can try my Baklava recipe.


🗒 Best served with

👝 How to Store Leftovers

Keep leftovers of this cake in an airtight container or tightly wrapped for 3 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge. Again, this cake is fantastic when it’s sit for a day or two so the leftovers really do get better!

🤔 Common Questions

Where do you find phyllo dough at the grocery store?

Phyllo dough can be generally found in the freezer section of most grocery stores BUT you must defrost the phyllo dough before using it.

How do you pronounce Portokalopita?

Portokalopita is pronounced “por-to-kah-lo-peeta”. The name translates to “Greek Orange Cake”.

Portokalopita 🍊 (Greek Orange Phyllo Cake)

5 from 1 vote
Portokalopita is an orange syrup-soaked cake made with phyllo. It's traditionally made in Greece and is so flavorful and impressive to serve to your family and friends.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Servings 8
Calories 489 kcal
I’m Your Mommy Now

Your Greek mommy that is. 😍 Step into my kitchen to learn how to make yummy Greek food. 🍽️💃

Ingredients
  

For the orange syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the cake

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Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200F.  To a large baking dish, place 1 phyllo sheet at a time and scrunch up each sheet, pushing it to the end of the pan, lining them up until you fit all the scrunched up sheets in. Bake it low and slow until crumbly – about 30-40 minutes, scrunch with your hands every 10 minutes. When finished the phyllo should be completely dry and crumbly. Set aside to cool.
  • Make the orange syrup:  Place the sugar, fresh orange juice, water and cinnamon stick in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low, keeping at a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture will be slightly syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Prepare the 9 inch springform pan by greasing with 1-2 tbsp butter and then dust with flour. Set aside.
  • Once the phyllo is cooled, preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs vigorously for 1-2 minutes until combined, slightly lighter in colour and frothy.
  • Add the orange zest, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and whisk well until combined.
  • Next add the olive oil and fresh squeezed orange juice and whisk until combined.
  • Finally, crumble the phyllo into fine pieces. Then, add in the finely crumbled phyllo gradually into the cake batter, continually whisking so the pieces don’t get super clumpy.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake in the 350F preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until nicely golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
  • Once the cake is baked, immediately use a skewer to poke holes into the cake and then ladle the cooled orange syrup all over the hot cake, one ladle at a time, letting the cake absorb the syrup before adding another ladleful of syrup. Repeat until all of the syrup has been used.
  • Let the cake fully cool before cutting and serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

Video

Notes

  • This cake is even better the day after it’s made! So, make it the day before you plan on serving if desired.
  • Phyllo dough can be generally found in the freezer section of most grocery stores BUT you must defrost the phyllo dough before using it.
  • If you love this Greek cake, try our Greek Apple Cake

Nutrition

Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.5g | Protein: 7.5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15.7g | Cholesterol: 72.8mg | Sodium: 337mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 42.2g
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Karson Tsoi

5 stars
I would have never thought of crumbling phyllo into the cake. Would have never thought of using orange with cake either but can say this cake recipe was delicious. Unique and innovative, you’ve unlocked a new level of caking for us.

Maria Koutsogiannis

Isn’t it AMAZING! Thanks, Karson!

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