27 Mar Orange Syrup Filo Cake (Portokalopita)

Recipes, Sweet

Orange Syrup Filo Cake (Portokalopita)

27 March 2024

PREP TIME: 10 mins - Cook Time: 45 mins -  Serves: 6-8

This substantial syruppy cake is made with dried and crushed sheets of filo pastry and infused with the flavours of fresh oranges and cinnamon. 

It is simple to make, no electrical equipment required! Hard to mess up and a proud moment serving it!

Do not hesitate to double the quantities to make a larger cake which is always a thrill to bring to the table. Beware though you will need a 33 - 37cm tin or terracotta dish to cook it in. (If you have trouble fitting a dish this size into your oven - try turning the oven rack upside down to give you a flat base to balance the dish on. Be sure to test this though before making your mixture!)The recipe below is enough for a more standard 25cm baking dish.

This recipe is a great way to use up left over filo pastry when making a spanakopita or filo cheese pie. There is nothing wrong though with cracking open a new pack of filo pastry. I favour the fresh Antoniou brand - available at good delis and some supermarkets.

Dont forget to be ready with your dried filo - see the beginning of the recipe below.

Recipe Template


220g dried filo pastry sheets

150 ml olive oil

150 g sugar

2 large eggs

100g natural thick Greek yoghurt

Zest of an Orange

150ml fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

20g baking powder

For the Syrup

200ml water

200g sugar

Zest of an orange

1 cinnamon stick

To Decorate 

Orange zest or cinnamon sticks


Digital scales

Measuring spoons

Citrus zester

Whisk and large mixing bowl

Large mixing spoon or fork

25cm terracotta or tin baking dish

Small saucepan for the syrup


Wire cake rack


Before you start

Make sure the filo sheets are dried completeley.

The easiest way is to scrunch each sheet of pastry into a loose ball and arrange on a baking sheet or two in a single layer. Leave them uncovered on the bench in the kitchen in a warm place all day or over night.

If you have left this to last minute - place the she scrunched sheets in a low oven 70C for and hour or two.

If you cannot use any of the dried filo - you can break it up and it will store well in a jar for several weeks or even months. This is a good treatment of left over filo from other recipes anyway. Rather than throw scraps out - dry and store for later use.

1. Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C

2. Prepare the Syrup

Pour the water and sugar into the pot with the orange zest and cinnamon stick.

Bring to the boil.

Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.

Set aside to cool.

3. Prepare the Mixture

Pour the olive oil into the mixing bowl, add the sugar and the eggs and whisk well.

Add the yoghurt, orange juice, zest and vanilla.

Whisk until smooth.

Sprinkle evenly with the baking powder and whisk lightly.

Crumble the completely dried filo sheets into small pieces in your hands and add them gradually to the mixture - stirring well each addition, so the pieces do not stick together.

Rub olive oil over the internal surfaces of the baking dish.

Pour in the mixture using a spatula.

3. Cook

Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake until risen and golden - about 40 - 45 minutes 

Slip a knife or skewer into the cake- it is cooked when it comes out clean.

4. To Finish

As soon as the cake is out of the oven, place it on a wire rack and while it is still warm, slowly ladle the cool syrup over the hot cake. 

Allow each ladle of syrup to be absorbed before adding more.

When cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. To Serve

A cold cake is less likely to crumble when served but it is still good warm!

Decorate with cinnamon sticks and or some long strips of fine orange zest.


Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey  from  recipe by www.mygreekdish.com/recipe and Greece the Cookbook by Vefa Alexiadou

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