Juicy Greek Orange Cake – Portokalopita

Juicy Greek Orange Cake – Portokalopita
This Orange pie/cake is very popular here in Greece. It is a fragrant, juicy and decadent cake. We call it portokalo-pita, portokali means orange and while it is not exactly a pita, it does contain phyllo, but in another form. The phyllo basically replaces the flour. But don’t worry, you will not need to spread layers of phyllo for this cake, instead you get to smash and crumble it!
  • For the syrup
  • 1 ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • For the cake
  • 5 sheets of phyllo about 6 ½ ounces or 180 grams defrosted if using frozen.
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7 ½ ounces yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • orange zest from 2 medium oranges
  1. Preheat oven at 250 F (120 C).
  2. Place 5 sheets phylo dough on a pan one next to the other in the oven (they may overlap) and heat for about an hour until phyllo is hard and crunchy (use fan if you have it). Turn them over half way. Once they are crunchy remove them from the oven and scrunch the phyllo breaking it in little pieces-set aside.
  3. While the phyllo is drying out make the syrup (you can also make the syrup earlier).
  4. In a small sauce pan mix the orange juice, water, 1½ cup sugar and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 7 minutes (only stir in the beginning). Set aside to cool.
  5. Start preparing the mixture for the cake: In a large bowl add the eggs, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla. Beat until frothy.
  6. In a smaller bowl, mix the yogurt and baking powder and set aside for 2-3 minutes. Add the yogurt to the egg mixture and slowly fold it in.
  7. Add the orange zest and the crumbled phyllo gradually, gently mixing.
  8. Increase the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C).
  9. Grease a casserole dish or pan (I used 9 X 13 inches) and pour in the mixture and even it out using a spatula.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the surface is a dark golden color.
  11. Remove from the oven make a few slashes with a sharp knife and immediately drizzle the syrup (slowly) using a large spoon. Continue adding almost all the syrup (save about 2 tablespoons).
  12. Let the cake sit for at least 2-3 hours.
  13. Keep in the refrigerator and let it sit out a half hour before serving.
  14. Cut in square pieces and drizzle a bit of the saved syrup before serving.