Portokalopita: Greek Orange Cake for the Heart




We all have to look after our ticker and doing so isn’t always easy when we love our nosh. But perhaps the best way is to eat foods that help, and don’t hinder, the heart. Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos has gathered together 80 delicious Mediterranean recipes to help prevent heart disease and promote weight loss – while being absolutely deeelish! The Mediterranean diet is the most researched, effective and accessible regime for dealing with a range of lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVC). Catherine’s super new book, The Heart Health Guide (Macmillan), has everything you need to help boost your health, heart and repertoire of great recipes!

As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that cake is not only for birthdays. Especially this one, which is full of healthy Mediterranean ingredients: extra-virgin olive oil, yoghurt, citrus and aromatic spices.

Cooking time, 45 minutes. Serves: 12


1 cup (250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing

375 g frozen filo pastry, thawed

1 1/3 cups (250 g) golden caster sugar

1 cup (250 g) thick Greek-style yoghurt

Zest 2 oranges

300 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon baking powder


Zest 1 orange

Juice 3 oranges (about 300 ml)

1 cup (200 g) raw sugar

2 cups (500 ml) water

4–5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

To serve (optional)

1 tablespoon thick Greek-style yoghurt

Fresh berries or fruit

Icing sugar, for dusting

Ground cinnamon, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 180ÅãC. Oil the base and sides of a deep 20 x 20 cm cake tin with olive oil. Set your filo pastry out on a clean benchtop so it can dry out while you are making the cake.

Combine all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a mixing bowl, add the golden caster sugar and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale and the sugar is completely incorporated.

Add the yoghurt, orange zest and juice, vanilla extract and a few pinches of cinnamon, and continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Add the baking powder and mix through.

Tear the filo pastry into small pieces and fold these into the batter before spooning into the oiled tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Pierce the centre of the cake with a skewer; if the skewer comes out clean, the cake is cooked, if not, cook for another few minutes and test again. When the cake is out of the oven, use the skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour over the cooled syrup and allow to cool completely.

Slice and serve the cake with the yoghurt, fresh fruit and a dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon, if you like.



The Heart Health Guide by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Published by Macmillan, RRP $34.99, Photography by Rob Palmer.