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Portokalopita - Greek Orange Phyllo Cake

Portokalopita is a traditional Greek orange cake that is extraordinarily aromatic and moist. It is soaked in a mildly spiced orange syrup.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Greek, orange, phyllo cake
Servings: 12

Equipment

  • one 10 x 12 inch or 9 x 13 inch (25 X 30 cm) pan

Ingredients

For the orange syrup

  • 1 ¼ cup (250 g / 9 oz) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml / 8 fl oz) water
  • 1 cup (250 ml / 8 fl oz) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-4 whole cloves (optional)

For the cake

  • 1 pound (450 g) phyllo dough, thawed (1 package)
  • 1 cup (250 ml / 8 fl oz) light vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 g / 7 oz) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest from 3-4 oranges
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 container Greek yogurt (200 g / 7 oz - I used 2%)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl oz) milk 

For the chocolate ganache (Optional)

  • 4.4 oz / 125 g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Instructions

Prep the pan

  • Lightly grease and flour the pan. Set aside.

Make the orange syrup

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar, water, orange juice, and cognac/brandy and whisk/stir it for about 1 minute to dissolve the sugar. Add the spices and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool and then refrigerate while preparing the cake.

Dry and shred the phyllo dough

  • Preheat the oven to 212 °F / 100°C.
  • Without unrolling the phyllo dough, slice it into 8-10 pieces.
  • Unroll each piece and separate all the strips of dough.
  • Evenly spread the strips of dough onto 2 baking sheets and bake for about 10-15 minutes, bringing the strips of dough on the bottom of the sheet to the top halfway through the baking time.
  • Finely crush the dried phyllo, a few strips at a time, using both hands. You can do this on the baking sheet or in a large bowl. Set aside.

Make the batter

  • Set the oven temperature to 392 °F / 200°C.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the oil and sugar together for about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is a pale yellow color.
  • Add the zest, the baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and milk and mix until everything is well combined.
  • Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the crushed phyllo dough, a handful at a time. Do not add the phyllo dough all at once.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until it becomes golden brown.
  • When done, take it out of the oven and immediately poke the entire cake with a toothpick or souvlaki skewer and pour the orange syrup over it, one ladle at a time.
  • Let it cool completely before cutting or adding the chocolate ganache (at least an hour). Refrigerate.

Make the chocolate ganache

  • In a heat-proof bowl, preferably glass, add the chocolate, cream/milk, and butter and place it over a pot of just simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts completely. Spread it over the cooled cake.
  • Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • The phyllo dough sheets need to be COMPLETELY dried out. 
  • When adding the shredded phyllo sheets to the batter, you need to do a little at a time, otherwise the pieces won’t be evenly distributed.
  • Add the syrup a ladle at a time, allowing the cake to absorb it before adding more syrup.
  • Let it cool COMPLETELY before cutting it (at least an hour).
© Pastry Wishes