Traditional Greek Orange Cake with Syrup (Portokalopita)

Greek Orange cake recipe (Portokalopita)

Fluffy and colourful with the moist of scented syrup! A mouthwatering Greek Orange cake (Portokalopita) with the aromas and blends of fresh oranges and cinnamon. Go over the top and serve with a full spoon of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup!

Preparing the phyllo for your Portokalopita

As the traditional portokalopita has no flour its very important that the phyllo sheets are prepared correctly – they act as the flour in your cake! So how to prepare them the traditional way?

Firstly, make sure your phyllo sheets are completely dry. When preparing your portokalopita cake, the first thing to do is to take the phyllo sheets out of their wrap, crinkle them a bit with your hands and spread them over your work surface and let them stand for about 20 minutes until completely dry. 

Alternatively if you are short on time, crinkle the phyllo up and place it on baking trays and pop them in the oven at 100C/200F to dry. You’ll need to do multiple batches, so when the first batch is ready take them out, crumble them by hand and then repeat until all your portokalopita phyllo is dry.

Greek Orange Cake (Portokalopita)

Love orangey desserts?

If you love orange scented desserts as much as I do, these recipes are made for you!

Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here: Πορτοκαλόπιτα συνταγή με φύλλο κρούστας.

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Greek Orange cake recipe (Portokalopita)

Traditional Greek Orange Cake with Syrup (Portokalopita)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (596 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)
  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek


Looking for a traditional Greek Orange cake recipe? Discover the secrets behind making this extra syrupy Portokalopita infused with the aromas of oranges and cinnamon.



For the Portokalopita

  • 200g yogurt (2% fat) (7 ounces)
  • 300 ml vegetable oil (1 and 1/4 of a cup)
  • 300 ml sugar (1 and 1/4 of a cup)
  • 300ml orange juice ( 1 and 1/4 of a cup)
  • 20g baking powder (4 tsps)
  • zest of 1 1/2 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 440450g phyllo dough (15 ounces)
  • 4 medium sized eggs

For the syrup

  • 400ml water (1 and 2/3 of a cup)
  • 400ml sugar (1 and 2/3 of a cup)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)


  1. Unwrap the phyllo dough from the plastic sleeve; place the sheets on a large surface and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes, in order to dry well. Alternatively, spread a few on a large baking tray and bake at 100C/200F, until dry; repeat with the rest.
  2. To prepare this Greek orange cake, start first by preparing the syrup. Pour into a pot the water, the sugar, the orange zest and a cinammon stick and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened. Set aside to cool.
  3. In the meantime prepare the mixture for the orange cake. Pour the vegetable oil into a large bowl, add the sugar and the eggs and whisk. Add the yogurt, the orange juice, the orange zest and the vanilla extract and whisk well, until the ingredients combine and the mixture is smooth. Add the baking powder, and whisk lightly.
  4. Crumble the phyllo into small pieces using your hands. Add them gradually into the mixture while whisking so they don’t stick to each other.
  5. Using a cooking brush, oil the bottom and the sides of a baking tray (approx.20x30cm / 8×12 inch) and pour in the mixture. Bake in preheated oven at 180C/350F for 40-50 minutes until, nicely coloured and cooked through. Check if it is ready, by poking a hole with a knife. If the knife comes out clean, then the cake is ready.
  6. To finish the orange cake, ladle slowly the cold syrup over the hot cake. Allow each ladle of syrup to be absorbed, before ladling again.
  7. Allow time for the syrup to be absorbed and put in the refrigerator. Greek orange cake is ideally served cold, not hot, so that it does not crumble. Enjoy with a big spoonful of ice cream!


  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 644kcal
  • Sugar: 62.5g
  • Sodium: 215.5mg
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 25.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 86.7g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 5.1g
  • Cholesterol: 2.6mg

Keywords: Portokalopita, Greek orange cake recipe, Orange cake with filo, Portokalopita with syrup

Recipe image gallery:

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  1. jenny allen

    what is phyllo dough or a substitute ???

  2. Also a recepy I want to try!
    Last weekend we allready made the fluffy burger buns and the mosaiko… They were great!
    Thanks for this lovely page :-*

  3. I notice you use ml, grams and Celsius, so I am wondering about the size of the pan to use. Is that in inches? 20×30 inch pan?

    • Hi Roxanne, it was in centimetres, I’ve updated the recipe to clarify – approx.20x30cm / 8×12 inches. Thank you for your comment, great catch 🙂 🙂

      • Thanks Katerina, I made this (but used too large of a pan) They came out not as thick but just as good. Everyone loved it. I will make it again using the right size pan. Thank you!

      • Im so happy it turned out good for you 🙂 It really doesn’t matter if its a little thinner, its the soaking in syrup that does all the magic 🙂

      • Hi,
        Can I use orange juice from a bottle?

  4. I made the Vasilopita and the Karithopita over the holidays. Excellent!!! I love your recipes, very easy and traditional Greek dishes.

  5. Can I use another kind of oil?

  6. I made this today, tasted lovely but my middle sank. I only made a quarter of the recipe and adjusted the oven temperature as I have a fan assisted oven. Any ideas what may of happened to the middle ?
    Thanks Jan (From the UK but living in Greece)

  7. This recipe was a disaster. I think the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients is wrong and the final batter is too watery / thin. Hence it never cooks properly and you end up with a cake which is burnt on the outside but half cooked in the middle. Sorry but it turned out to be a disappointment because this is one of my favourite things and I am still searching for a recipe that actually works

  8. Ulla Jessen,

    Can you tell me how long the cake will keep? How may days before a party can I make it?

  9. Roisin Cox

    Enjoyed this delicious cake in Crete and now I have the recipe ——-THANK YOU ! X


    Hi there….I am a little concerned as other Portokalopita recipes use 3-5 eggs and this one doesn’t. Have you left the eggs out in error? Please advise.

  11. can I use canola oil instead of corn oil?

  12. Don’t make this recipe because it is not complete, he deceive the people,this recipe belong to my friend he is elenolebanes chef zozeif azzam he discovered it ,it need egged


  14. Anna Gallo

    One and 1/4 cup of oil seems a bit much in proportion to the rest of the ingredients! Is it correct? I want to be sure before I proceed. Thank you! Anna

  15. Recipe for cake instructions call for pulp and zest however ingredients list call’s only for 2 oranges. So am I to zest the oranges then use the remaining whole oranges in the cake? Thanks for the clarification.

  16. Anne Finney

    Is this recipe correct as it does not list any eggs in the ingredients.

  17. I have made this cake several times, using canola oil instead of corn oil. otherwise following all other ingredients and instructions. It turns out really well and is delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe

  18. My mouth is watering I cannot wait to try some of your recipes out. My first will be Avgolemono. Im not the biggest fan of soups. However, i believe I could devour Avgolemono on the daily.

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      I love avgolemono! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, just make sure you follow the instructions so the eggs don’t curdle 🙂 Best of luck and let me know if I can help!

  19. Monika Rudko

    I used this recipe before and the eggs were not listed as an ingredient. Did anything else change besides eggs?

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      Hi Monica

      We’ve added the eggs to make it a bit more fool proof when baking – nothing else has changed 🙂 Feel free to skip them if you want, but we got even better results with them in 🙂

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