Greek Walnut Cake

Greek Walnut Cake

The Greeks call it Karithopita, which is a very moist cake infused with a sweet syrup. Toasting the walnuts first makes this cake even better. To add fiber you can use 3/4 cup all purpose flour with 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour. - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Makes: 12 to 16 servings

Greek Walnut Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs

  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 2% low fat milk)
  • 1 heaping cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

  • Syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 by 1-inch piece of lemon rind
  • 4 whole cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Sift dry ingredients onto wax paper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high, beat oil, sugar, and eggs for 2-3 minutes until thickened.
  4. On lowest speed, stir in orange zest and milk, followed by flour mixture and walnuts.
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Poke about a dozen holes in the top with a toothpick and slowly pour the strained warm syrup over the cake.

Syrup: While cake is baking, place syrup ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Strain.

21 Comments on "Greek Walnut Cake"

  1. Joanne

    Hi, I would love to try this recipe but I was wondering if I could double it to make it in a bigger pan. Thank you

  2. Rose

    Thank You, for giving us your so delicious, easy to follow and healthy recipes.
    You are the best, stay safe and healthy.

  3. Andrea Albies

    I love how delicious and simple your receipes are! I have made yourchocolate cake for untold birthdays and everyone loves them.
    Your whole wheat bread is the best? next I will make your Greek cake for my Greek son-in-law!

  4. Cecelia

    My cake baked in 20 minutes at 350 middle shelf, dark metal pan The lemon loaf baked in 45 minutes at 350 middle shelf, dark metal pan. Maybe I should bake your recipes at a lower temp. What could be The reason.

    • Sue

      Maybe you need to check and see that your oven is heating to the correct temperature and then adjust accordingly.

    • Sue

      Also that “dark” metal pan can make a difference as far as baking time.

  5. Eva

    I was inspired by the low sugar content in this cake, so I’ve made it yesterday and I have added a lot of cocoa powder plus a handful of home-made ginger cake spice. Plus almonds and walnuts.
    Instead of the sweet syrup I have glazed the cake with melted dark chocolate.

    Oh, it turned out to be a wonderful chocolate cake ever made!

    Thank you, Jenny, for inspiring me not for the first time with a great recipe.
    Simplicity is the way to go and the results are amazing..

    Best wishes to you and thank you for sharing your kitchen secrets 🙂


  6. Rosina

    Can sugar be replaced with cane sugar
    for the Greek walnut cake.
    Also for the syrup can I add honey
    instead of sugar.

  7. Saura

    This is really good! I was a bit worried about pouring the syrup since i dislike soggy foods but a overnight rest let the cake absorb all the spices perfectly.

  8. Juliette

    I love middle eastern stye cakes with the syrup.
    Can I use a sugar substitue for the sugar.being prediabetic.

    • GrdyGirl

      Greece isn’t really a middle eastern country. Their take on food and desserts may bear some similarities but the tastes are very different

  9. Marina P.

    This recipe is the closest I’ve come across to my late mom’s recipe. I’m making this tonight or tomorrow. It’s the best recipe I’ve seen on-line, even better than recipes from Greece. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks!

  10. Sabrina

    I am half Greek, and I really like this. But, I only buy whole milk (3.8%). Hope it’s OK. It shouldn’t make a lot of difference.

  11. Debbie

    I wonder what it would taste like with black walnuts?

  12. Sandra Wyatt

    The only part of this recipe that concerns me is the zest from a whole orange. Oranges come in different sizes. Are you referring to a naval orange? Seems like a lot of zest. About how many tablespoons would you say?

    I really enjoy trying out your recipes! Love the beef stew, the ribs, the meatloaf, and healthy cookies! Sandra

    • Jenny

      It would be the zest of a medium (tennis ball size) orange.

  13. Ed and Susie

    Thanks for the inspiration! We took this recipe as a base and used what we had in.

    We Swapped the walnuts for mixed seeds that we browned in the frying pan (no oil).

    We swapped the orange zest and lemon rind with a few large teaspoons of a sharp lemon and lime marmalade.

    We mixed the liquid ingredients in a blender then added the whole lot to our bread maker on the cake setting.

    It came out extremely moist and was enjoyed by all.

    Thanks again.

    Ed and Susie

  14. Unyime

    Dear Jenny,
    This cakes without butter, can they be made in larger quantities and covered with fondants? How long can they last.

    • Jenny

      I would not know how to make this cake in larger quantities. It’s not as simple as doubling the recipe and using a larger pan – adjustment would have to be made. I keep my cakes covered on the counter for two or three days and after that I refrigerate them.

  15. Corrine Mimikos

    Ah, this cake was a favorite when I spent time in Greece. I will have to try it. There the walnuts are picked fresh off the tree and are very moist.

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