Greek Honey Cake is a light, flavor-packed dessert that skips all the fuss. Make this simple, sweet, and citrusy cake to feed a crowd!

Pan of Greek Orange Honey Cake cut into slices

I found Greek honey cake in search of easy desserts that aren't laden with butter or frosting. This recipe, which features an olive oil cake soaked with a honey, fresh citrus and pistachio syrup rather than frosting, is exactly the not-too-sweet dessert I was craving. 

This cake recipe is inspired by desserts on the island of Aegina, where pistachios and honey from local beekeepers are aplenty. To be honest, I was ready to try this Greek honey cake the instant I saw that it involved pistachios–whether in a milk pudding or baklava I'll take any excuse to use creamy, slightly savory pistachios to elevate a sweet treat.

Aside from its incredible flavor, this yiayia-approved honey cake is also ideal for serving a crowd. The squares can easily feed 12 to 15 or so, and it’s adored by kids and adults alike. Plus, it's the kind of simple dessert recipe where you dump all the ingredients in one single bowl and mix! 

Table of Contents
  1. Greek Honey Cake Ingredients
  2. How to Make Greek Honey Cake
    1. Make the Cake
    2. Flavor the Cake
  3. What to Serve with Greek Honey Cake
  4. You'll Also Like: Mediterranean Dessert Recipes
  5. Greek Honey Cake with Orange and Pistachios Recipe

Greek Honey Cake Ingredients

With tangy Greek yogurt, sweet honey, fresh citrus, course semolina flour, and crunchy nuts, this cake has a delightful balance of flavors and textures. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Eggs: Hold the batter together.
  • Citrus: You will need 2 lemons and 2 oranges. Both the zest and the juice are used, so opt for organic citrus and give them a good scrub. I like extra fragrant and sweet Meyer lemons if they’re available.
  • Greek yogurt: Moistens the cake with a tangy flavor to balance the sweetness.  
  • Sweetener: Granulated sugar sweetens the batter, and honey soaks into the cooked cake, flavoring and sweetening it. A high-quality, pleasantly flavored honey is essential–I like our Greek Alfa honey.  
  • Flour: A combination of semolina and all-purpose give this cake a nice fluffy meets toothsome texture.
  • Baking powder: Gives the cake a nice rise.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Lends a lot of flavor to the cake. Use a high-quality extra virgin variety that’s not too bitter–I like our Private Reserve Greek for this recipe.
  • Nuts: Ground almonds flavor the dough and add crunch to the topping. Use unroasted, unsalted almonds (sometimes labeled “raw”). Pistachios add crunch, creaminess and a pop of color to the top. 
Entire Honey Cake in large pan. Topped with pistachios and slivered almonds

How to Make Greek Honey Cake

Though this cake is delicious right away, it’s even better if you let it soak in all the flavor. Ideally, make this cake the night before you plan to serve. Here’s how it’s done: 

Make the Cake

  • Get ready. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with oil and dust with all purpose flour (shake the pan a little to get an even coating of flour).
  • Make the cake batter. Place 5 large eggs, 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 2 cups of sugar, 5 tablespoons of ground almonds, the zest of one orange and one lemon, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, and 1 cup semolina flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and ¾ cup olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or a whisk to combine.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake and cool. Bake on the center rack until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake completely cool in the pan.

Flavor the Cake

  • Make the honey syrup. Once the cake has cooled, toast the pistachios in a large dry non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Once they become fragrant, stir in the honey, orange juice, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and reduce until nice and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. (Do NOT taste the hot syrup as it will burn your mouth).
  • Soak the cake. Stab the cake all over with a small knife or a skewer to create holes. Pour the honey pistachio syrup all over the cake as evenly as possible. If you need to, use a spoon to distribute the pistachios across the top of the cake. Sprinkle on the shaved almonds, if using. For best results, allow the cake to soak with the syrup for a few hours.  
  • Serve. Cut the cake into 12 to 15 squares and serve.
Close-up of slices of Greek Honey Orange Cake garnished with pistachios and almonds.

What to Serve with Greek Honey Cake

Greek honey cake, like banana bread or Italian carrot cake, perfectly balances sweet and savory to make it welcome at any time of day. Serve for brunch or an afternoon snack with a cup of lemon ginger tea or coffee. 
For dessert, serve this honey cake after a Greek-style feast. Start with ice-cold glasses of ouzo and mezze like Tirokafteri and Tzatziki with pita. Move on to traditional Greek salad and something simple like Greek sheet pan chicken. Finish with a sticky square of honey cake, perhaps with Carajillos (Spiked Coffee) on the side.

You'll Also Like: Mediterranean Dessert Recipes

Browse all Mediterranean Recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

Bundle and Save

Our Signature Private Reserve and Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Sourced Directly from Family Farms in Greece. 

A bundle of two olive oils.
4.85 from 33 votes

Greek Honey Cake with Orange and Pistachios

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
Greek Orange Honey Cake | The Mediterranean Dish. This super simple Greek cake is made with olive oil and Greek yogurt, and perfectly flavored with lots of citrus. Topped with toasted pistachios and a luscious honey syrup. A foolproof honey cake that can feed a crowd! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com #cake #oliveoilcake #mediterraneandiet #easterdinnerideas #easterdinner #dessertrecipes #chirstmasrecipes #christmasdinnerideas #easterrecipes
This light, citrusy honey cake skips all the fuss. It's a simple, not-too-sweet dessert that will easily feed a crowd. Though it’s delicious right away, give it a couple of hours to soak for the best flavor (or make this cake the day before).
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 30 minutes
Cuisine:
Greek
Serves – 15
Course:
Dessert

Ingredients
  

For the Cake

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I used fat-free plain Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons ground almonds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup coarse semolina (or farina or Cream of Wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Handful of shaved almonds, for topping (optional)

For the Honey Pistachio Syrup

  • 1 1 /4 cup shelled salted pistachios
  • 1 ¼ cup quality runny honey
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions
 

  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with oil and dust with all purpose flour (shake the pan a little to get an even coating of flour).
  • Make the cake batter. Place the eggs, yogurt, sugar, ground almonds, orange and lemon zest, AP and semolina flour, baking powder, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or a whisk to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake and cool. Bake on the center rack until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake completely cool in the pan.
  • Make the honey syrup. Once the cake has cooled, toast the pistachios in a large dry non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Once they become fragrant, stir in the honey, orange juice, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and reduce until nice and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. (Do NOT taste the hot syrup as it will burn your mouth).
  • Soak the cake. Use a small knife or skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour the honey pistachio syrup all over the cake as evenly as possible. If you need to, use a spoon to distribute the pistachios across the top of the cake. Sprinkle on the shaved almonds, if using. For best results, allow the cake to soak with the syrup for a few hours.
  • Serve. Cut the cake into 12 to 15 squares and serve.

Video

Notes

 
  • You can by the almonds ground or grind whole almonds in a small food processor.
  • The syrup needs to be hot when you pour it on the cooled cake so the cake will better absorb it. 
  • This cake is even better the next day when the flavors and the moisture have settled in.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 514.5kcalCarbohydrates: 74.1gProtein: 10.1gFat: 21.9gSaturated Fat: 3.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13.4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 55.4mgSodium: 85.7mgPotassium: 292.3mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 53.5gVitamin A: 195.4IUVitamin C: 10.6mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 2.3mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post has recently been updated with new information for readers’ benefit.

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.
4.85 from 33 votes (8 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Loved this easy to make cake. Cut the sugar by 1/2 cup and the sweetness and tart citrus was perfect. Only other change I may make next time is to slightly chop the pistachios and add them after the syrup to keep their crunchiness. Thanks

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Lisa!

  2. Nicole says:

    Hello,

    Ground almonds? Can I use almond flour or almond meal? Can't wait to try it!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Nicole. Almond meal may work fine here, it's just not something we've tested. We don't recommend almond flour.

  3. Mark says:

    4 stars
    So far so good and it is smelling great but as of now, it is taking an extra 10 minutes to bake. The toothpick is still coming out with batter on it. Yes, I checked the temperature and yes, all measurements of ingredients were as directed.

  4. Jyoti Baker says:

    Hi Suzy,
    About to try making the Greek Honey Cake, how long does it last for? I would like to keep it for 5 to 7 days.

    Thank you, your recipes are great,

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hello! We only recommend storing this in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Hope you enjoy it!!

  5. Jasmine Fackler-Zavala says:

    I want to make this gluten free. Can I just leave out the semolina or is there a substitute? Thank you

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Jasmine. We haven't tested this recipe with a gluten free alternative to the semolina, so it's hard to say. However, another reader has had success by replacing all the flours in the recipe (including the semolina) with gluten free flour blend, so it sounds like it's worth a try!

  6. Linda B says:

    5 stars
    Is it necessary to mix everything all at once? Most cakes I bake start with combining the wet ingredients and the adding the dry ingredients. I am about to make this for a dinner party. For now, I'll follow the instructions you provided. It's easier than mixing in steps. I also love that it's mixed by hand. Would using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment change the result?

  7. js says:

    Has anyone tried halfing the sugar to 1 cup instead of 2? Im worried it may be too sweet

  8. Jane says:

    Hello,

    The pistachios, do you use salted or unsalted?
    Jane

    1. Devin Fuller says:

      Hi Jane - Devin here from the editorial team. Either will work but salted adds a nice balance and enhances the sweet and citrusy flavors. You can also add a pinch of salt to unsalted pistachios as you toast them if you'd like.

      1. Jane says:

        Hi Devin thanks for answering!
        I used salted pistachios and the result was amazing.
        The flavors of the cake too.. perfectly balanced!!
        Warm greetings, Jane

  9. Corinne says:

    5 stars
    Hello, your cake look very good. May i have more détails about the olive oil.
    13/16 cups seems enormous.
    How much olive oil in ml may we used please.
    Thank you very much

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Corinne. You would want to use approximately 192 ml of olive oil here. Enjoy!

  10. Angie says:

    4 stars
    Just made it and really fantastic... only thing it was a little too sweet for my taste. Wondering if I could use honey in the cake instead of refined sugar?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Angie! I think that could work! Another reader had success using 1 cup of honey in place of the 2 cups of sugar with success, so I think it's definitely worth a try!