Welcome to our blog, where we’re excited to share a delightful Vegan Greek Orange Cake Recipe, putting a zesty twist on the classic Portokalopita. The Mediterranean region is renowned for its rich culinary traditions, and Greek desserts hold a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide. One such beloved Greek delicacy is Portokalopita, a scrumptious orange cake that embodies the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean. Today, we’re excited to share a vegan twist on this classic dessert that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.
Why I Love Greek Cuisine
Greece, a land of stunning landscapes, ancient history, and warm Mediterranean hospitality, holds a special place in my heart. It’s not only my favorite country to visit but also a culinary paradise for those embracing a vegan lifestyle. The breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, charming villages with whitewashed buildings, and the rich tapestry of Greek culture make every visit unforgettable. What’s more, Greek cuisine, by nature, is incredibly vegan-friendly.
The abundance of fresh vegetables, olive oil, and aromatic herbs means there’s always something delicious to savor. Interestingly, many Greeks embrace a plant-based diet while on Lent. During this time, they abstain from animal products and enjoy a variety of plant-based dishes. On all our trips to Greece, we’ve had no issues finding a variety of dishes that are “nistisimo” (meaning “fasting food”). It’s a testament to the diversity and flavor that can be achieved with vegan ingredients, and it’s a tradition that has contributed to the rich tapestry of vegan Greek cuisine, including desserts.
I recently stumbled upon this incredible cookbook and it inspired me to try more Greek recipes:
The Portokalopita Journey
Traditionally, Portokalopita is a moist and fragrant orange cake soaked in a sweet, citrusy syrup. It’s a dessert that captures the essence of Greece in every bite. This Vegan Greek Orange Cake Recipe stays true to the essence of this beloved cake while making it accessible to those on plant-based diets.
Why You’ll Love Portokalopita
- Vegan-Friendly: Ideal for vegans and those with dairy sensitivities, this Vegan Greek Orange Cake Recipe replaces traditional dairy ingredients with plant-based alternatives, ensuring everyone can enjoy it.
- Flavor Explosion: The combination of fresh orange juice and zest lends an irresistible citrusy aroma and flavor that’s both refreshing and indulgent.
- Simple and Satisfying: With straightforward steps, this recipe is accessible to both novice and experienced bakers. You don’t need to be a pastry chef to master it.
- Impress Your Guests: Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply want to treat yourself, this Orange Cake will be the star of the show, earning you accolades for your culinary skills.
Getting Started with the Portokalopita
Before we dive into the step-by-step instructions, let’s take a quick look at the key ingredients you’ll need for this Vegan Portokalopita Recipe:
- Oranges (for zest and juice)
- Vegan phyllo pastry
- Good quality olive oil
- Plant-based yogurt
- Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- Baking powder
- Cinnamon (for a hint of warmth)
- Vanilla extract (for that irresistible aroma)
- And of course, water for the syrup
Stay tuned for a delightful dessert that’s a testament to the magic of vegan cooking. Let’s dive into the kitchen and start baking this Vegan Portokalopita Recipe!
Vegan Portokalopita – Greek Orange Cake
- 200 g Soy Yogurt I used Alpro Skyr Style
- 300 ml Good Quality Olive Oil
- 200 ml Granulated Sugar
- 300 ml Orange juice
- 20 g Baking Powder
- Zest of 1 – 1 ½ Oranges
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 500 g Phyllo or Yufka Dough store bought
- 170 ml Aquafaba
For the Syrup
- 400 ml Water
- 400 ml Sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Zest of 1 Orange
- Divide the filo pastry into individual sheets. Unfold them like an accordion, place on a baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for about a day or in the oven at 120 °C for about an hour.
- Begin by making the syrup. Using a peeler, carefully remove large strips of orange zest from your orange. (We will use these for decoration later.) In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, orange zest, and a cinnamon stick, and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved, and the syrup has thickened slightly. Allow it to cool by setting it aside.
- While the syrup cools, let's prepare the mixture for the orange cake. Begin by pouring the vegetable oil into a large bowl. Add the sugar and aquafaba, then whisk them together. Next, incorporate the yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract, and continue whisking until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, resulting in a smooth mixture. Now, gently add the baking powder and give it a light whisk.
- Crumble the phyllo pastry into small pieces using your hands. Gradually introduce these pieces into the mixture while whisking to prevent them from sticking together.
- Using a pastry brush, generously coat the bottom and sides of a baking tray (approximately 20x30cm / 8×12 inches) with oil. Pour the prepared mixture into the tray. Place it in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is nicely browned and fully cooked. To check for doneness, insert a knife or toothpick into the cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
- Now, to complete the orange cake, remove the cinnamon stick and orange zest from the syrup (keep the latter!) and slowly ladle the cooled syrup over the hot cake. Allow each ladle of syrup to be absorbed before adding more.
- Give the cake some time to absorb the syrup, add the candied orange peel from the syrup as decoration and then place it in the refrigerator. It's best the next day!