Orange Cake (Portokalopita)

  • Serves

    serves 12


Chopped phyllo dough gives this orange-scented custard cake from Crete its layered texture.


  • 3 (1/8-inch-thick) orange slices
  • 1 23 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 12 cups sugar
  • 1 (2-inch) stick cinnamon
  • 14 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing flour, for pan
  • 4 eggs
  • 34 cup Greek yogurt
  • 14 cup orange zest
  • 12 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 14 cup fine semolina
  • 1 12 tsp. baking powder
  • 12 oz. country-style phyllo sheets, cut in 1/2" pieces


Step 1

Heat oven to 325°. Put orange slices in bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish; pour 1 cup orange juice over top. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake until oranges are very soft, 40–45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Step 2

Meanwhile, bring 3⁄4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and 1 1⁄2 cups water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes; remove from heat. Pour syrup over orange slices. Let cool completely.

Step 3

Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish and dust with flour; set aside. Combine remaining sugar and eggs in a bowl; beat with a hand mixer until pale and thick. Whisk in remaining orange juice, oil, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together semolina and baking powder, whisk into egg mixture, then stir in phyllo. Pour mixture into prepared dish; bake until lightly browned, 35–40 minutes. Pour syrup evenly over cake; let cool. Cut cake into 12 squares and cut orange slices into quarters; top each square with an orange quarter.

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