I've been having fun with olive oil cakes, including Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake and this Orange Ricotta Cake. But my very favorite currently is this Greek orange honey cake!

This light, flavor-packed honey cake skips all the fuss. And it's the simple cake that will feed a crowd.

Pan of Greek Orange Honey Cake cut into slices

In search for easy desserts that aren't laden with butter or frosting, I happened upon a slightly different version of today's honey cake in Jamie Oliver's book Food Escapes. An inspiration from the island of Aegina, where pistachios and honey from local beekeepers are aplenty! I was immediately hooked! To be honest, I was ready to try this cake the instant I saw that it involved pistachios. (Whether in a plum cake or baklava, I'll take any excuse to use pistachios!)

This Yiayia-approved honey cake can easily feed a crowd (12 to 15 or so). And it's the kind of simple dessert where you dump all the ingredients in one single bowl and mix! But, there is more...

Entire Honey Cake in large pan. Topped with pistachios and slivered almonds

Why this Honey Cake Works

There is a lot to love about this honey cake. Top of the list, it's insanely DELICIOUS and very easy to make! But here are a few more things bakers and non-bakers alike will appreciate:

1. The combination of flours, all-purpose flour with coarse semolina (farina), gives it such interesting texture.

2. Greek yogurt here lends a great light and fluffy texture. Plus, its slightly tangy flavor balances so well with crave-worthy citrus from the generous amounts of orange and lemon zest.

3. The honey-pistachio SYRUP is king in this recipe! Admittedly, Jamie's original recipe called for less syrup; I found that more of it was need for such a large cake. It lent flavor, and made for a perfectly "sticky" cake.

Close-up of slices of Greek Honey Orange Cake garnished with pistachios and almonds.

4. Finally, as always, if you're going to make an olive oil cake, use the best olive oil you can. Shameless plug...I highly recommend our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil. Learn more here.

Pro Tip

For maximum flavor, drizzle the hot syrup--made of honey, fresh orange juice, lemon juice, and pistachios--on the cooled cake. If you have the time, I highly recommend that you let the cake sit a few hours before serving (it's even better the next day when all the flavors and moisture have settled!)

Watch how to make this honey cake:


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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

Greek Orange Honey Cake with Pistachios


This light, flavor-packed honey cake skips all the fuss. And it's the simple cake that will feed a crowd.



For Cake

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I used fat-free plain Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp ground almonds (do this in a small food processor)
  • zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coarse semolina (OR farina, Cream of Wheat, or this Creamy Wheat Cereal)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful shaved almonds for topping, optional

For Honey Pistachio Syrup

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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with butter and dust with flour (shake the pan a little to get an even coating of flour).
  3. Make the cake batter. Place all the cake ingredients (except the shaved almonds) in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or a whisk to combine.
  4.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  5. Bake in heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and well cooked-through. To be sure, insert a wooden skewer into the center of the cake, it should come out clean if the cake is done.
  6. Remove from the oven and let the cake completely cool in the pan.
  7. Once the cake has cooled, prepare the honey syrup. Toast the pistachio in a dry non-stick pan over low to medium heat (pan needs to be large enough for the remaining syrup ingredients). Once they start to smell, stir in the honey. Add the orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to a boil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until nice and syrupy. (Do NOT taste the hot syrup, it will burn your mouth)
  8. 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 shaved almonds, if using.
  9. You can cut the cake into 12 to 15 squares and serve at this point (see notes for best results.)


  • Note: The syrup needs to be hot when you pour it on the cooled cake, the cake will better absorb it. Also, for best results, allow the cake to sit for a few hours before cutting and serving. It is even better the next day when the flavors and the moisture have settled in.
  • Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes
  • Recommended for this recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil. Also see our Greek olive oil bundle! 
  • Visit our store to browse our spices, olive oils and bundles!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Orange Honey Cake, Honey Cake, Greek Cake, Orange Cake, Pistachios

Mediterranean Dish spices and olive oils

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More Recipes to Try

Greek-Style Baklava

Greek Pastitsio (Bechamel Pasta Casserole)

Greek Green Beans

Loaded Mediterranean Omelette

Mediterranean Bean and Broccoli Pasta 

One-Skillet Garlic Dijon Chicken


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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...
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  1. Just as I was reading this recipe, an add popped up for your website claiming that the Mediterranean diet was healthy. Then I read that this cake has 47 grams of sugar in each piece! Not really healthy, is it!

    1. Hello! The Mediterranean Diet (lifestyle) is considered a very healthy way of eating. The recipes I share here are easy, flavorful recipes that celebrate the bold flavors of the Mediterranean from Southern Europe, to North Africa, and the Middle East. While the majority of the them are Mediterranean diet-friendly, please note that this is not strictly a "Mediterranean Diet" blog. Here is the link to the "About The Mediterranean Dish" section of the blog so you can see more details regarding what we're all about.

  2. Hi, are the measures american or european cups? I just need to change the recipe into grams (UK based)!
    thank you

    1. Hi, Lily. I am not 100 percent sure. Semolina is wheat (it is also sold as "cream of wheat" in the hot cereal aisle) and polenta is from corn. The cake may turn out far grittier and denser using polenta. But I haven't personally tried it.

  3. Absolutely delicious texture and flavour. I added some cinnamon to taste with the cake too. Will definitely be making again.

    1. Hi, Nisha! Sounds interesting!! I have never tried myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with a little adjustment to the cooking time.

  4. Hi Suzy, this Orange Honey Cake, LOOKS SO GOOD! Can't seem to find the coarse semolina, curious about the cream of wheat?? Will it still taste the same? Thanks

    1. Hi, Linda. It's a bit hard to say, as I've never halved this one myself. I don't see why not, though. If you give it a try, please let us know how it turned out.

  5. Any idea if I can leave out the sugar completely? Will it affect anything other than the sweetness of the cake?

  6. Made this for my Easter lunch yummo 🙂 Thank you
    Found the nut topping was more than required for the tray size I used.

  7. Hi there, My husband is Greek and I am Portuguese so I love to try new recipes. I have a quick question - I have semolina at home but only fine semolina - can I use the fine instead of the coarse? Love your recipes and videos by the way!

    1. Hi Susana, that will likely work here. It will just give you a finer textured cake, but it should still taste delicous

  8. I wasnt going to put the 2 cups of sugar, used one cup honey instead ..and way better. That's way to much sugar ..

  9. Made this cake for Christmas and it was a huge hit with my family! It even stayed for a few days time. I halved the recipe and then also halved the honey in the syrup because I thought it would be too sweet. It ended up being perfect for our taste with half the honey. I would definitely make this again and would add a touch of salt to the cake to really bring out the flavors.

  10. Hi! I am in the states and have googled Runny Honey. I dont see it available at all in the states and was wondering if there is a brand or any recommendations for me to use? Hope that isn't a stupid question? I am new to this way of eating.

    1. Hey Kristen, "runny honey" simply means not too thick...if you need to, just give it a quick few seconds in the microwave so it runs nicely.

  11. How do you store the cake over night? For consumption the next day? Must it be refrigerated? It does not say?

    1. Linda, if you just leave it out at room temperature for one or two nights, it should be fine covered. When I want to keep it for a few days, I place it in the fridge and take it out well enough before serving.

  12. This cake is truly wonderful! I must follow a strict gluten free diet so I made a couple of changes to the base recipe by replacing the flours with my gluten free flour blend but the three times I have made it so far came out terrific! Thank you for sharing a cake recipe that is appealing to so many in my family!