Best Broken Phyllo Cake with Orange and Bay Recipe | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Milk Street Recipe

Broken Phyllo Cake with Orange and Bay

2 hours 30 minutes active, plus cooling

Broken Phyllo Cake with Orange and Bay

In “Aegean,” chef Marianna Leivaditaki tells of her attempts at portokalopita, a cake made with dry, broken-up bits of phyllo dough in place of flour. Like many Mediterranean sweets, the cake is doused with syrup after emerging from the oven, which partly explains the tendency toward a heavy, sodden texture. She recounts that it was a friend’s mother who baked the best, lightest version of portokalopita she’d ever had, and she obtained the recipe. The phyllo, cut into strips and dried in the oven, creates a layered structure in the cake that, when soaked with syrup takes on a moist, pudding-like consistency. Greek yogurt and oil add richness while eggs bind and lift, with an assist from baking powder. The cake is citrusy with grated orange zest, and the soaking syrup is infused with cinnamon, cardamom and bay for added dimensions of flavor and fragrance. (Leivaditaki suggests dusting the cake with bay dust, but we put the bay into the syrup.) If you like, serve slices of the cake topped with a spoonful of lightly sweetened cream whipped with a little Greek yogurt. Leftovers will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to four days; serve slices slightly chilled or at room temperature.

10 to 12

Servings

Tip

Don’t forget to zest the orange before juicing it. To remove the zest in strips, a Y-style peeler is the best tool. You will need two large oranges for this recipe—one to provide the zest strips and juice for the syrup and one to supply the grated zest for the cake. Also, don’t use a cake pan that’s less than 2 inches deep. In a shallower pan, the syrup may overflow the rim. Lastly, don’t allow the cake to cool before pouring on the syrup, and after the second half of the syrup is poured on, don’t be alarmed if the syrup floods the pan. As the cake cools, it will absorb the syrup.

2 hours

30 minutes active, plus cooling

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