how to make portokalopita

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200g yogurt (2% fat)

300 ml corn oil

300 ml sugar

300ml orange juice

20g baking powder

zest of 1 1/2 orange

1 tsp vanilla extract

440-450g phyllo dough

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)



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, until dry; repeat with the rest.


To prepare this Greek yogurt cake, start first by preparing the syrup. Pour into a pot the water, the sugar and the orange zest  (and a cinnamon stick) and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened. Leave aside to cool.


In the meantime prepare the mixture for the yogurt cake. Pour the corn oil into a large bowl, add the sugar 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 blend lightly.


Tear the sheets of the phyllo dough into small pieces, using your hands and add into the mixture; whisk well


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 170-180C for 40-50 minutes until, nicely coloured and cooked through. Check if it is ready, by making a hole with a knife. If the knife comes out clean, then the cake is ready.


To finish the yogurt cake, ladle slowly the cold syrup over the hot cake (allow each ladle of syrup to be absorbed, before ladling again).


Allow time for the syrup to be absorbed and put in the refrigerator. Greek yogurt cake is ideally served cold, not hot, so that it does not crumble.