Portokalopita (Πορτοκαλόπιτα) – Traditional Greek Orange Syrup Cake Recipe

Portokalopita (Πορτοκαλόπιτα) – Traditional Greek Orange Syrup Cake Recipe

Portokalopita is a treat commonly offered to you when you are visiting someone’s home in Greece.

Greece has produced citrus fruits for thousands of years. According to mythology, the Greek goddess Hera had an orchard in Hesperia, known as the Garden of Hesperides.  The fruits grown there were the famous ‘golden apples’ – identified as oranges by some scholars – which granted  immortality to those who ate them.  While the folklore surrounding oranges may be less common-place today, their use in Greek cuisine is still fairly popular.

Portokalopita technically means orange pie however it is more like an orange phyllo cake.  It’s dough is made with shreds of phyllo strips with a vanilla orange custard and it is soaked in an orange syrup.

Orange is used in every layer of this dish from the vanilla custard through to the orange syrup-soaked phyllo strips

Soft, bouncy and custardy, the texture of this unique dessert is unlike anything found in most other European desserts and full of deliciously sweet orange-y flavour.

Portokalopita (Πορτοκαλόπιτα) – Traditional Greek Orange Syrup Cake Recipe


For the cake:

200g yoghurt (2% fat)

300 ml vegetable oil

300 ml (1 and ¼ cup) sugar

300 ml orange juice

20 g (4 tsp) baking powder

Zest of 1 ½ oranges

1 tsp vanilla extract

440 – 450 g phyllo dough

4 medium sized eggs

For the syrup:

400 ml water

400 ml (1 and 2/3 cup) sugar

Zest of 1 orange


Leave phyllo unwrapped at room temperature for 20 minutes to ensure that they are completely dry

Start by making the syrup. Pour water, sugar, orange zest into a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup has thickened. Set aside to cool.

Next make the orange cake mix. Pour vegetable oil, sugar, eggs into large bowl and whisk.

Add yoghurt, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract and whisk.

Add baking powder and whisk lightly.

Slice phyllo into small pieces. Add gradually into the mixture while whisking so that they don’t stick together.

Bake in an oiled 20 x 30 cm cake tin at 180C/ 350F for 40-50 minutes.

Pour cold syrup slowly over the hot cake.

Allow time for the syrup to be absorbed and chill before serving.

Read also: Celebrate National Baklava Day with this Recipe

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