Baking/ Dessert/ European/ Recipes

Greek Walnut Cake with Sweet Syrup – Karidopita

18/08/2022

Karidopita is a beautiful Greek walnut cake, soaked in a cinnamon infused sweet syrup. Perfect for feeding a crowd, and even better topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

A diamond shaped slice of karidopita on a plate, with two more slices visible in the background.

Why We Love This

This walnut pie ticks all the boxes… tasty, aromatic, fluffy and soaking in the cinnamon-infused syrup!

The light texture from the beaten egg whites and the deliciously sweet flavour from the cinnamon infused syrup is such a magical combo. 

This is the perfect recipe to turn to when you’re running low on supplies, since it’s made without butter or oil.

Related: French Spice Cake – Pain d’Epice / Greek Milk Pie – Galatopita / Aussie Weetbix Loaf

Picking out a piece of karidopita ready to serve.

What is Karidopita? 

Karidopita (also spelled karydopita / karithopita / καρυθόπιτα) is a Greek dessert cake made from crushed walnuts and soaked in a sweet sugar syrup. 

This style of syrup infused walnut cake is sometimes made with galeta (powdered breadcrumbs), but we use plain flour to make it easier and fluffier. 

This type of cake is also known as siropiasta, referring to cakes that are soaked in sweet syrups. Think similar Greek recipes like Kataifi and Portokalopita.

What You’ll Need

  • Walnuts – Buy your walnuts shelled for the best flavour, or to save time, you can buy them hulled. To get a coarsely grind them we use a mortar and pestle, but you can also use a food processer. Only pulse slightly, as you want some larger pieces and not walnut meal!
  • Flour – Self raising flour makes this recipe nice and quick. If using all purpose flour, add in a teaspoon of baking powder as well.
  • Eggs – We love to use extra large free range eggs which are around 58g each. To separate we use the shells to hold the yolk while the white falls through into a bowl below.
  • Sugar – Caster sugar works best here. You can also use plain white sugar, or for a more caramelised result, swap it for brown sugar.
  • Cinnamon Stick – This brings the spice to the sweet syrup – add in 2 sticks if you love cinnamon! Sub with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
Ingredients laid out to make Greek walnut cake.

How to make Greek Walnut Cake:

For the syrup:

  1. Pop in the caster sugarwater and the cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure all the sugar dissolves. Switch off the heat and remove the cinnamon sticks, then allow to cool.

For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 360°F. Beat the egg yolks and half the sugar (½ cup) in a large mixing bowl until thick and pale (around 1-2 mins).
  2. Next, fold through the self raising floursalt and ground walnuts, then add in the vanilla essence.
  1. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then whisk in the remaining sugar (½ cup), pouring in a little at a time. It should become thick and glossy like a meringue / pavlova base.
  2. Add one – two scoops of the beaten egg whites to the walnut mixture, mixing it through until well combined. Note: It may be a little tough to start, but will loosen up as it blends into the mixture. Pour in the remaining egg whites and fold through the cake mix.
  3. Pour the cake mix into a lined (or greased) 29cm rectangle baking dish and bake for 40 minutes until golden and firm to touch. Test with a wooden skewer that the middle is cooked through.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and skewer the top all over to help the syrup soak in. Carefully pour a couple of scoops of the syrup over the entire top of the cake while it’s nice and hot.
  5. Once coated, and the syrup has been absorbed, pour another couple of scoops over and allow to soak in again. Repeat until all the syrup is soaked in. If there are any areas holding too liquid on top, you can skewer these to help the syrup soak through.
  6. Allow to cool, then slice and serve. To cut, slice into vertically into strips, then diagonally to make diamond shapes. See below for the shaping. Serve by itself, or top with more crushed walnuts, icing sugar, whipped cream or ice-cream.
The baked karidopita with the iconic diamond pattern cut into the cake.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Eggs – To separate your yolks from your egg whites, we usually use the shell. However, there’s plenty of ways to separate eggs at home.
  • Syrup – Make sure the cake is hot and the syrup is cold when pouring the syrup over the walnut cake. It may seem like the cake is swimming in syrup when you’ve finished pouring it all in, but be patient – the cake will absorb it once left for a few hours. The longer you leave it, the softer the cake will become.
  • Slicing the Cake – Wait until the cake has cooled to room temperature and soaked in all the liquid before slicing.
  • Storage – This cake will last a few days, up to a week, if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

FAQs

Can I double the recipe?

Yes you can. Make sure to use a larger baking tray if you do. The cooking time should be roughly the same, but check with a skewer if you are uncertain, and keep cooking until the skewer comes out clean.

Can I make it less sweet?

Yes, you can use less sugar in the cake batter and use less syrup over the cake if you prefer. Note that the cake won’t be as moist if you do.

Variations

  • Make it a Full Dessert – Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, custard or even chocolate sauce.
  • Even More Flavour – Infuse the syrup with a splash of brandy, orange zest or orange juice, or add a few cloves while simmering (but remove before pouring).
  • Optional Garnishes – Top the individual slices with more crushed walnuts, a walnut half, and/or sprinkle with icing sugar. You could even top the cake with smooth chocolate icing before slicing. It’s also great served up with whipped cream and ice-cream.
Three plates of Greek walnut cake, with dessert forks ready to eat.

Try these Greek recipes next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Lifting a slice of karidopita out of the baking dish.

Greek Walnut Cake with Sweet Syrup – Karidopita

Karidopita is a beautiful Greek walnut cake, soaked in a cinnamon infused sweet syrup. Perfect for feeding a crowd, and even better topped with whipped cream or ice cream.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 24 pieces
Calories: 227kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $12

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self raising flour 150 g, sub 1 cup plain with 1 tsp baking powder,
  • 3 cups walnuts 270 g (2 ¼ cups once coarsely ground)
  • 6 eggs separated into egg whites and yolks
  • 1 cup caster sugar 220 g
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch salt

For the syrup:

Instructions

For the syrup:

  • Pop in the caster sugar, water and the cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure all the sugar dissolves. Switch off the heat and remove the cinnamon sticks, then allow to cool.
    2 cups caster sugar, 2 ½ cups water, 1 cinnamon stick

For the walnut cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 360°F.
  • Beat the egg yolks and half the sugar (½ cup) in a large mixing bowl until thick and pale (around 1-2 mins).
    6 eggs, 1 cup caster sugar
  • Next, fold through the self raising flour, salt and ground walnuts, then add in the vanilla essence.
    1 cup self raising flour, 3 cups walnuts, 1 pinch salt, 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then whisk in the remaining sugar (½ cup), pouring in a little at a time. It should become thick and glossy like a meringue / pavlova base.
    6 eggs, 1 cup caster sugar
  • Add one – two scoops of the beaten egg whites to the walnut mixture, mixing it through until well combined. Note: It may be a little tough to start, but will loosen up as it blends into the mixture. Pour in the remaining egg whites and fold through the cake mix.
  • Pour the cake mix into a lined (or greased) 29cm rectangle baking dish and bake for 40 minutes until golden and firm to touch. Test with a wooden skewer that the middle is cooked through.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and skewer the top all over to help the syrup soak in. Carefully pour a couple of scoops of the syrup over the entire top of the cake while it’s nice and hot.
  • Once coated, and the syrup has been absorbed, pour another couple of scoops over and allow to soak in again. Repeat until all the syrup is soaked in. If there are any areas holding too liquid on top, you can skewer these to help the syrup soak through.
  • Allow to cool, then slice and serve. To cut, slice into vertically into strips, then diagonally to make diamond shapes. See below for the shaping. Serve by itself, or top with more crushed walnuts, icing sugar, whipped cream or ice-cream.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Eggs – To separate your yolks from your egg whites, we usually use the shell. However, there’s plenty of ways to separate eggs at home.
  • Syrup – Make sure the cake is hot and the syrup is cold when pouring the syrup over the walnut cake. It may seem like the cake is swimming in syrup when you’ve finished pouring it all in, but be patient – the cake will absorb it once left for a few hours. The longer you leave it, the softer the cake will become.
  • Slicing the Cake – Wait until the cake has cooled to room temperature and soaked in all the liquid before slicing.
  • Storage – This cake will last a few days, up to a week, if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Make it a Full Dessert – Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, custard or even chocolate sauce.
  • Even More Flavour – Infuse the syrup with a splash of brandy, orange zest or orange juice, or add a few cloves while simmering (but remove before pouring).
  • Optional Garnishes – Top the individual slices with more crushed walnuts, a walnut half, and/or sprinkle with icing sugar. You could even top the cake with smooth chocolate icing before slicing. It’s also great served up with whipped cream and ice-cream.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Greek Walnut Cake with Sweet Syrup – Karidopita
Amount per Serving
Calories
227
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
0.004
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Cholesterol
 
41
mg
14
%
Sodium
 
19
mg
1
%
Potassium
 
86
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
31
g
10
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
25
g
28
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
63
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
0.2
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
24
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Greek Walnut Cake with Sweet Syrup - Karidopita

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