Portokalopita Recipe: Traditional Greek Orange Cake with Syrup

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Portokalopita Recipe

Recipe by GreekFood
Course: cakeCuisine: greekDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Portokalopita (Greek: πορτοκαλόπιτα) is a traditional Greek orange cake made with phyllo pastry, orange zest, orange juice, Greek yogurt, eggs, sugar, and baking powder. It is a dense, moist, and flavorful cake that is typically served warm with a drizzle of orange syrup.


  • Phyllo Dough: 1 packet (around 450g), thawed and roughly torn

  • Oranges: 2-3, zested and juiced

  • Eggs: 4-5 large

  • Sugar: 1 cup

  • Greek Yogurt: 1 cup (full-fat)

  • Olive Oil: 1/2 cup

  • Baking Powder: 2 teaspoons

  • Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon

  • For the Syrup:
  • Sugar: 1 cup

  • Water: 1 cup

  • Orange Juice: 1/2 cup (freshly squeezed)

  • Cinnamon Stick: 1

  • Lemon Peel: 1 strip


  • Prepare the Phyllo: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Take the thawed phyllo dough and tear it into small pieces, then spread these pieces out on a baking tray. Let them dry while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix the Batter: In a large bowl, beat the eggs with sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the orange zest, orange juice, yogurt, olive oil, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
  • Combine with Phyllo: Add the dried phyllo pieces to the batter and gently fold them in, ensuring they are well soaked.
  • Bake the Cake: Grease a baking dish (about 9×13 inches) and pour the batter into it. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden and set.
  • Make the Syrup: While the cake is baking, combine sugar, water, orange juice, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
  • Finish the Cake: Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and immediately pour the hot syrup over it. Allow the cake to absorb the syrup for an hour before serving.
  • Serve: Cut into pieces and serve, possibly with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Recipe Video

Pro Tips

Here are some tips to help you make the perfect Portokalopita:

  1. Drying the Phyllo: Ensure the phyllo dough is thoroughly dried before adding it to the batter. This step is crucial for achieving the right texture in the cake. If the phyllo isn’t sufficiently dry, it can make the cake soggy.
  2. Phyllo Dough Handling: Phyllo dough is delicate and can tear easily. Don’t worry if it breaks while you’re tearing it for drying – this is actually desired for this recipe. However, be gentle to avoid crushing it into very small pieces.
  3. Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh oranges for zesting and juicing. The freshness of the oranges significantly affects the flavor of the cake. Bottled orange juice and pre-packaged zest won’t give the same vibrant flavor.
  4. Even Baking: To ensure even baking, spread the batter uniformly in the baking dish. Also, rotating the dish halfway through the baking time can help if your oven has hot spots.
  5. Syrup Absorption: After pouring the syrup over the baked cake, give it enough time to absorb fully. Rushing this step can result in the syrup pooling at the bottom of the dish instead of being evenly distributed throughout the cake.
  6. Flavor Enhancements: For an extra burst of flavor, consider adding a splash of Grand Marnier or another orange-flavored liqueur to the syrup. This adds a lovely depth to the cake’s flavor profile.
  7. Storage: Portokalopita keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. Make sure to cover it to retain its moisture and flavor. It can also be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
  8. Serving Suggestions: While delicious on its own, you can serve Portokalopita with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar for an added treat.

Remember, the key to a great Portokalopita is balancing the flavors and textures, so don’t hesitate to adjust the recipe slightly to suit your taste preferences!


nutritional content per serving for the Portokalopita recipe provided earlier, assuming the recipe makes about 12 servings:

Estimated Nutritional Information (Per Serving):

  1. Calories: Approximately 350-400 calories. This is a rough estimate, as the exact number depends on the specific ingredients used, especially the amount of sugar and olive oil.
  2. Fat: Around 15-20 grams, largely from the olive oil and the eggs. Olive oil is a source of healthier monounsaturated fats.
  3. Saturated Fat: Likely to be low, as the primary fat source is olive oil, which is low in saturated fat. The eggs and Greek yogurt contribute a small amount.
  4. Carbohydrates: Approximately 50-60 grams, predominantly from sugar and the phyllo dough.
  5. Sugars: High, due to the 1 cup of sugar in the cake and the syrup. This would contribute significantly to the total carbohydrate content.
  6. Protein: About 5-10 grams per serving, coming mainly from the eggs and Greek yogurt.
  7. Fiber: Minimal; phyllo dough is not a significant source of dietary fiber.
  8. Cholesterol: Present, due to the eggs. The exact amount depends on the number of eggs used.
  9. Sodium: Relatively low, unless high-sodium ingredients are added.
  10. Vitamins and Minerals: Some contribution from the oranges (vitamin C and potassium), and a small amount from eggs and yogurt (various B-vitamins, calcium).

It’s important to remember that these figures are estimates and can vary based on the exact ingredients and portion sizes. Portokalopita is a dessert and, like many sweet treats, is high in sugar and calories. Enjoying it in moderation as part of a balanced diet is key.


To make Portokalopita, you’ll need a few basic kitchen tools and equipment. Here’s a list to help you get everything ready:

  1. Mixing Bowls: You’ll need at least one large mixing bowl for combining the batter ingredients. Having an extra bowl or two can be handy for separating egg whites and yolks if you choose to do so.
  2. Electric Mixer or Whisk: For beating the eggs with sugar until they’re fluffy. An electric mixer will make this task easier and quicker, but a manual whisk can also do the job.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are important for the ingredients, especially for the baking powder, sugar, and liquids.
  4. Grater or Zester: For zesting the oranges. A fine grater or a dedicated zester will work best.
  5. Juicer: To juice the oranges. You can use a hand juicer or a citrus press.
  6. Baking Tray: For drying out the phyllo dough. A large baking tray will allow you to spread the phyllo pieces out evenly.
  7. Baking Dish: A 9×13 inch baking dish is typically used for baking the cake. You can use a glass, ceramic, or metal baking dish.
  8. Saucepan: For making the syrup. A medium-sized saucepan should be sufficient.
  9. Spoon or Spatula: To mix the ingredients and fold the phyllo dough into the batter.
  10. Sharp Knife: To cut the Portokalopita into pieces once it’s baked.
  11. Oven: Essential for baking the cake. Preheat to the required temperature before baking.
  12. Cooling Rack: Optional, but useful for cooling the cake evenly once it’s out of the oven.
  13. Ladle or Cup: For evenly distributing the syrup over the baked cake.

These tools will help you prepare the Portokalopita efficiently and with ease. Most of these items are standard in many kitchens, so you may already have them on hand.

What to serve with Portokalopita?

Portokalopita, with its delightful citrusy flavor, pairs well with a variety of accompaniments. Whether you’re serving it as a dessert or as part of a larger meal, here are some ideas for what to serve with it:

  1. Beverages:
    • Coffee: A strong Greek coffee or an espresso complements the sweet and tangy flavors of Portokalopita beautifully.
    • Tea: A cup of herbal or black tea can be a soothing pairing.
    • Dessert Wines: A sweet dessert wine, like a Moscato or a Riesling, pairs nicely with the cake’s citrus notes.
  2. Dairy:
    • Whipped Cream: A dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream can add a creamy texture.
    • Greek Yogurt: Serve a side of Greek yogurt for a tangy contrast.
    • Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla or lemon ice cream complements the orange flavor of the cake.
  3. Fruits:
    • Fresh Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries can add a refreshing and slightly tart contrast.
    • Stewed Fruits: Warm stewed fruits like apples or pears can be a comforting addition in colder months.
  4. Nuts:
    • Toasted Almonds or Walnuts: Sprinkle some on top for an added crunch and nutty flavor.
  5. Sauces:
    • Honey or Maple Syrup: For an extra touch of sweetness, drizzle a bit of honey or maple syrup over the cake.
    • Orange Caramel Sauce: An orange-infused caramel sauce can elevate the dessert to a new level.
  6. Herbal and Spicy Accents:
    • Mint Leaves: A few fresh mint leaves can add a refreshing touch.
    • Cinnamon or Nutmeg: A light dusting on top of the cake or the accompanying cream/yogurt can enhance the flavors.

When serving Portokalopita, consider the setting and the preferences of your guests. If it’s part of a larger meal, you might want to keep the accompaniments light. For a more indulgent dessert experience, feel free to experiment with richer options like ice cream or caramel sauce.

Servings, Prep time, Cooking time & Calories

For the traditional Portokalopita recipe provided earlier, the servings, prep time, cooking time, and estimated calorie count are as follows:


  • The recipe should yield approximately 12 servings. This can vary slightly depending on the size of the slices.

Prep Time

  • Preparation Time: Roughly 20-30 minutes. This includes the time to zest and juice the oranges, tear and dry the phyllo dough, and prepare the batter.

Cooking Time

  • Cooking Time: Around 45-60 minutes for baking the cake. This can vary slightly depending on your oven.
  • Additional Time: Don’t forget to account for the time needed to make the syrup (about 10-15 minutes) and the time for the cake to absorb the syrup (at least 1 hour).


  • Calories per Serving: Estimated around 350-400 calories per serving. This is a rough estimate and can vary based on the specific ingredients used and the serving size.

These times and calorie counts are estimates and can vary slightly based on your specific ingredients, oven, and how you portion the cake. Remember to allow enough time for the cake to cool and absorb the syrup before serving, as this is crucial for the final texture and flavor.