Portokalopita – Greek Orange Phyllo Cake

Portokalopita - Greek Orange Phyllo Cake

Portokalopita – Greek Orange Phyllo Cake is a way to bring some Greek sunshine to these dark here winter days. Using the zest and juice from two oranges, this custard and pastry layered cake is the perfect thing to get you through.

Despite best efforts to find the origins of this cake, it seems no one wants to take ownership which is both sad and kind of beautiful in the fact that this is obviously embedded into Greece like the azure waters on the shoreline and the way dessert is always served at the end of a meal for free.

Greece is often one of those places people dream to visit due to the reputation it has for incredible beaches, food and overall scenery. It is a country that has a deep and rich history and as attested in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ “name any word and I’ll give you the Greek meaning”, is most definitely true when you’re there.

greek portokalopita cake(pp w768 h1152)

greek portokalopita

Greek people are proud of their heritage and this is clear when you’re on it’s shores which I finally made it to during a brief window to visit last year and you can see why, not just because of the impact their culture and language has had on the world, but also the scenery they have at hand and the food they consume. Where else on earth do you get dessert for free???

There have been many times since that the words “I miss Greece” have been uttered in our home and it still stands. It has a way of weaving it’s way into your heart and this cake is but one small way to go back and grab some of Greece into our home and I hope you do too, no matter where you may live, with this recipe.

How to prepare Portokalopita – Greek Orange Phyllo Cake

  • Slice or tear your phyllo pastry: The phyllo is better if it has a little drying time.
  • Combine the eggs and sugar: We want these to be combined until thick and pale.
  • Make it Greek: Add in the Greek yogurt, orange zest and baking powder which help create the perfect texture for this pastry cake.
  • Drizzle in the oil: Slowly and steadily add in the sunflower oil until the mixture is well combined and a light custard in color.
  • Throw in the pastry: The torn and slightly dry pastry should be thrown in handful amounts into the custard, pressing the pieces down to really soak up every last little bit of the cake mixture.
  • Bake: Pour into your cake tin and bake for 1 hour until golden and crispy on top.
  • Make that syrup: Simmer the syrup ingredients until slightly reduced and deeper in color.
  • Drizzle the syrup: Pour the syrup over the warm cake and allow to sit and soak for at least 1 hour.
  • Serve: Slice a big slice of this pastry cake and serve with a fork. Dig in!

Tips for the best Portokalopita – Greek Orange Phyllo Cake

Using a springform cake tin: If you are using a springform cake tin, due to the thin consistency of the cake, I recommend you bake this in a baking dish to avoid dripping.

Size of cake tin here: This cake was baked in a 20cm or 8 inch cake tin.

Making the syrup: The instructions on clear on this, but we don’t want the syrup to reduce too much otherwise there won’t be enough to soak into the cake, the color should be slightly deeper and should be on a rolling simmer for at least 2 minutes.

Best method for adding the syrup over the cake: The original recipe called for pouring hot syrup over a cold cake or cold syrup over a hot cake, however, the hot syrup didn’t fully soak into this cake whilst cold. Some recipes suggest poking holes into the cake so it soaks the syrup up more fully, though my recommendation is to pour a warm syrup over the hot cake and  allow to stand for at least one hour to fully soak up.

Other pastry desserts you’ll enjoy

Peach Cobbler

Choux Pastry – Cream Puffs

Turkish Baklava

Portokalopita – Greek Orange Phyllo Cake
Adapted from My Greek Salad
Serves 10

Ingredients:
Phyllo Cake
500 grams / 1 pound phyllo pastry
4 large eggs
200 grams / 1 cup superfine/caster sugar
2 oranges zested, approximately 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
300 grams / 10.5 ounces Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sunflower oil
Syrup
200 grams / 1 cup superfine/caster sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 oranges, juiced, approximately 1/3 cup
1 cinnamon stick

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and greaseproof your cake tin with 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Set aside.

Cut or shred the phyllo pastry into 1/2 inch pieces.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat on medium speed with a mixer until pale and fluffy.

IMG 2131(pp w768 h512)

Add the orange zest, greek yogurt, vanilla extract and baking powder. Beat on medium speed until well combined.

Whilst mixing, slowly add the sunflower oil in a steady stream until well combined.

Add in a handful of the torn phyllo pastry into the mixture and stir through to incorporate, continue adding a handful at a time and stirring until fully incorporated.

IMG 2133(pp w768 h512)

Pour into your cake tin, smoothing out evenly and bake until golden, approximately 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place the sugar, water, orange juice and cinnamon stick into a saucepan on medium heat until simmering and the mixture has reduced somewhat, approximately 3 minutes.

IMG 2151(pp w768 h512)

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Pour the syrup evenly over the top and allow to sit and or at least 1 hour to soak up the syrup and cool fully.

Slice and serve.

greek orange phyllo cake(pp w768 h1152)

greek cake(pp w768 h1152)

portokalopita(pp w768 h512)

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portokalopita greek orange phyllo cake

Portokalopita – Greek Orange Phyllo Cake

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  • Author: Sylvie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10 1x
  • Category: Cakes
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

Portokalopita is a phyllo layered cake where the pastry is stirred into a custard, baked until golden and then a syrup poured over the top. This has a subtle orange flavor, but it’s those waves of pastry therein that make this one, quite unforgettable!


Ingredients

Scale

Phyllo Cake
500 grams / 1 pound phyllo pastry
4 large eggs
200 grams / 1 cup superfine/caster sugar
2 oranges zested, approximately 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
300 grams / 10.5 ounces Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sunflower oil
Syrup
200 grams / 1 cup superfine/caster sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 oranges, juiced, approximately 1/3 cup
1 cinnamon stick


Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and greaseproof your cake tin with 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Set aside.
  • Cut or shred the phyllo pastry into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat on medium speed with a mixer until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the orange zest, greek yogurt, vanilla extract and baking powder. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
  • Whilst mixing, slowly add the sunflower oil in a steady stream until well combined.
  • Add in a handful of the torn phyllo pastry into the mixture and stir through to incorporate, continue adding a handful at a time and stirring until fully incorporated.
  • Pour into your cake tin, smoothing out evenly and bake until golden, approximately 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, place the sugar, water, orange juice and cinnamon stick into a saucepan on medium heat until simmering and the mixture has reduced somewhat, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the syrup evenly over the top and allow to sit and or at least 1 hour to soak up the syrup and cool fully.
  • Slice and serve.

Notes

Using a springform cake tin: If you are using a springform cake tin, due to the thin consistency of the cake, I recommend you bake this in a baking dish to avoid dripping.

Size of cake tin here: This cake was baked in a 20cm or 8 inch cake tin.

Making the syrup: The instructions on clear on this, but we don’t want the syrup to reduce too much otherwise there won’t be enough to soak into the cake, the color should be slightly deeper and should be on a rolling simmer for at least 2 minutes.

Best method for adding the syrup over the cake: The original recipe called for pouring hot syrup over a cold cake or cold syrup over a hot cake, however, the hot syrup didn’t fully soak into this cake whilst cold. Some recipes suggest poking holes into the cake so it soaks the syrup up more fully, though my recommendation is to pour a warm syrup over the hot cake and  allow to stand for at least one hour to fully soak up.

Adapted from My Greek Salad

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