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Greek Walnut Cake (Karithopita)

This syrupy and moist Greek Walnut Cake (Karithopita) is soft, packed full of walnuts and spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - close up of cake cut into diamond shapes

Like most Greek desserts, or desserts from the Mediterranean region, this karidopita cake (also spelled karithopita or karythopita) is soaked in a delicious syrup, and I mean SOAKED! There’s not a lot of sugar in the cake itself, so the syrup provides the perfect amlunt of sweetness. The result is a dense yet light cake that is packed full of crispy, creamy walnuts. Every bite is a delight!

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - side by side image

Karidopita is:

  • Easy to make
  • Loaded with crispy walnuts
  • Uses basic ingredients you probably already have
  • A unique dessert
  • Moist and syrupy!

By the way, if you’re looking for more Greek desserts to try, one of my favorites is this creamy Galaktoboureko which has a creamy custard filling. It’s also soaked in syrup too!

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - diamond peice on a cake server

What’s with the breadcrumbs in the cake batter?

Yeah, this recipe uses breadcrumbs and there’s a really cool reason why. It soaks in the syrup! Like most old cake recipes, this recipe uses easy pantry ingredients available at scarce times. Using breadcrumbs in a syrupy cake like this is genius because it soaks in the syrup, helps the cake expand and the dyrup doesn’t ooze out as you slice into it.

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - front on shot of a peice of cake on a cake server againts a white background

Ingredients You Need To Make Karidopita

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - ingredients list

  • Flour – I used all-purpose flour.
  • Breadcrumbs – I used fine breadcrumbs. Store bought are best. Panko breadcrumbs will not work for this recipe.
  • Baking powder – this helps the cake rise. It seems like a lot, but you won’t taste it in the cake.
  • Bicarb soda – this works with the baking powder to help the cake rise.
  • Cinnamon – I used ground cinnamon.
  • Cloves – together with the cinnamon, the ground cloves help give the cake a deliciously spied and warm flavor.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Butter – I used unsalted butter in this cake. If you use salted butter, make sure you leave the salt out.
  • Granulated sugar – I typically use caster sugar when making cakes, but granulated sugar works well in these types of recipes.
  • Eggs – I used large eggs.
  • Milk – I used cows milk. Plant based milks like almond or oat milk will also work.
  • Frangelico – this recipe typically has brandy in it, but I’m not a fan of the flavor and I love Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur). If you don’t want to use alcohol you can replace it with the same amount of more milk.
  • Walnuts – one of the key characteristics of this cake, it gives it texture! I roughly chopped mine up. Before adding to the batter.
  • Lemon – this helps stop the syrup from crystalizing and ads flavor. You can use orange instead. A little orange zest in the cake works nicely too!

How to make Karidopita!

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - steps 01

  1. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl
  3. Add the eggs one at a time
  4. And mix in
  5. Add the dry ingredients and walnuts and mix. This is a thick batter
  6. Line your baking tin with baking paper

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - steps 02

  1. Add the batter and spread evenly. Bake and allow to cool
  2. When your cake is almost cooled, prepare your syrup
  3. Pour the hot syrup over the cooled cake. Allow to rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
  4. Slice and serve!

Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - peice of cake on a plate

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • This batter is thick! Don’t freak out, that’s normal. But you want to make sure you use a spatula to even out in the baking tin before baking so that it bakes even.
  • Let your cake cool before adding the hit syrup. This is the best way to avoid a soggy cake is to let it cool and then pour the freshly made, hot syrup on top.
  • When pouring the syrup, pour slowly! This will stop you from flooding the cake tin and it spilling everywhere. Plus, it gives the cake time to soak in the syrup before you add more.
  • Cut it any way you like! I cut it in diamond shapes because I like the way it looks, but simple squares works just as well!
  • Add some orange! Some orange zest works really nicely in the cake batter and makes it even more delicious and aromatic.

Frequently Asked Questions about making Karidopita

What does it taste like?

Deliciously spiced, satisfyingly sweet all in a dense and crumbly cake that’s still light!

How do I store this?

Store your karidopita in an airtight container for up to 5 days, in the fridge, or freeze by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. Thaw at room temperature.

Can I halve the recipe?

Yep! This is a cake made to serve to a crowd at special occasions but you can halve all of the ingredients and bake in a 9×9-inch cake tin. Bake about 5 min less.

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Karithopita Greek Walnut Cake - thumbnail image

Greek Walnut Cake (Karithopita)

This syrupy and moist Greek Walnut Cake (Karithopita) is soft, packed full of walnuts and spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

Serves 20

5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Cool: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Calories: 491kcal

Ingredients

Walnut Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (120 g) breadcrumbs (see notes)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup (160 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Frangelico or brandy
  • 3 cups (300 g) walnuts chopped

Syrup

  • 6 cups (1260 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water
  • 1/2 lemon juiced


Instructions

Walnut Cake

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 180c/350F (200C/400F for no fan). Spray a 9x13-inch/22x33cm with oil spray and line the bottom and sides with baking paper.
  • To a large mixing bowl add the flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, bicarb soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt and whisk to combine.
  • To a separate bowl add the butter and sugar and beat on high-speed using an electric hand mixer for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating each time.
  • Add half the dry ingredients, half the milk and all of the Frangelico to the butter and egg mixture and use a spatula to mix until well combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients, milk and all of the walnuts and mix until combined.
  • Add to the cake tin and use a spatula to spread evenly. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 25-30 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool completely.

Syrup

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Continue boiling for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the hot syrup over the cooled cake. Place in the fridge to chill for 3 hours or overnight. Slice in diamond shapes or squares and sprinkle with some crushed walnuts. Serve.

Notes

Breadcrumbs - I used store bought, fine breadcrumbs. I wouldn’t recommend using panko or fresh breadcrumbs.
Storage - Karithopita can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
Nutrition - is based on per slice. This cake makes 24 slices which is what the nutritional value is based off, but can be cut into 12 larger pieces.
A note on measurements - all ingredients in this recipe are offered in Australian cup measurements and weight measurements. Weight measurements are created by me, in my kitchen here in Melbourne Australia. The best way to get recipe success is to measure ingredients by weight, using kitchen scales.

Nutrition

Calories : 491kcal
Carbonhydrates: 76g
Protein: 6g
Fat: 20g
Saturated Fat: 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g
Monounsaturated Fat : 4g
Trans Fat : 0.2g
Cholesterol: 73mg
Sodium: 251mg
Potassium : 129mg
Fiber: 2g
Sugar : 66g
Vitamin A: 287IU
Vitamin C: 2mg
Calcium: 92mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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