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  • Writer's pictureNikki Glekas


Today I’m sharing the recipe for Portokalopita, a traditional Greek orange cake. This lovely cake is made with flour, eggs, and shredded phyllo, and flavored with an orange scented syrup. It is found in many Greek restaurants, cafes, and is very easy to make at home! I even garnish it with my homemade candied orange slices ( ), which I made in an earlier episode..

What sets this cake apart from regular cakes is the addition of phyllo to the batter. The phyllo needs to be thawed and dried at room temperature overnight before you make the cake, so be sure to plan accordingly. There is no speedy way to dry out phyllo, letting it sit out overnight in your kitchen is what does the trick! Once it’s dry, use your hands to crush it up into small flakes and place it in a bowl, then you are ready to proceed with rest of the recipe.

Baking the cake is very straightforward once the batter is made. It is a lovely, lightly scented cake that gets its flavor from the syrup you soak it in once it is baked. The key to making the cake soak up the syrup is making sure it’s completely cooled to room temperature before you pour it on top. If the cake is still warm it will not soak up the syrup! Sometimes you can speed up the cake cooling by putting it in the fridge, but I don’t recommend that if you can avoid it.

Once the syrup has soaked into the cake, I recommend garnishing each slice with a candied orange. This is a really pretty look and gives a visual cue regarding the flavor of the cake. The slices I cut in this episode are big because that is how we used to serve them at the restaurant, but you can cut them into any size you want.

We hope you enjoy this beautiful orange cake at your home soon!

Portokalopita (Orange Pie)

This is a refreshing citrus Greek cake. It is commonly served with coffee as dessert at cafes and restaurants. You can make this with common pantry staples, a lot of people make it at home. It was very popular at our Greek restaurant!

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 package of phyllo (dried), and crumbled

  • Zest from 2 small oranges

  • 4 large eggs

  • 8 oz full fat Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder


  • 3 cups water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • ½ orange (use the orange you zested)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick oil and set aside.

  • In large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the eggs and sugar until light and frothy. Then, slowly add the oil while you continue beating the mixer. Then, beat in the yogurt, orange zest, vanilla extract, and baking powder. Fold in the crumbled phyllo until just combined. This will thicken up the cake batter. It will look lumpy from the phyllo which is normal.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake it for 30-32 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

  • Make the syrup by combining the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Squeeze the orange into the syrup, then add the orange half to the pot. Bring it to medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Discard the cinnamon stick and the orange.

  • Cut the cake into 8 even pieces. Pour the syrup over the cooled cake and allow the syrup to absorb completely. Garnish each slice with a candied orange if you have them and serve!

Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact or call 203.658.8659.

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