Karythopitta (Greek walnut cake soaked in lemon & brandy syrup)

Round off your meal with a delicious Greek treat with Sophie Grigson's appetising walnut cake, soaked in a sweet syrup
By Sophie Grigson
Karythopitta (Greek walnut cake soaked in lemon & brandy syrup)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus cooling plus soaking
  • Effort: medium



  • 170 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 45 g dried breadcrumbs
  • 170 g ground walnuts
  • 1 pinches salt
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 pinches ground cloves
  • 1 lemons, zest finely grated
  • 5 eggs
  • 30 g chopped walnuts, coarsely ground walnuts

For the syrup

  • 2 lemons, juice
  • 150 ml water
  • 280 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp brandy


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Line the base of a 24 cm loose-bottomed cake tin with non-stick baking parchment, and grease the sides. 2. First, make the syrup so that it is completely cool by the time the cake is done. Put the lemon juice, water, sugar and brandy into a saucepan and stir over a moderate heat. Bring up to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool. 3. To make the cake, melt the butter and cool until lukewarm. Mix the breadcrumbs with the finely ground walnuts, salt, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. 4. Make a well in the centre. Pour the lukewarm butter into the centre of the dry ingredients and break in the eggs. Beat until thoroughly mixed and pour into the prepared tin. 5. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake feels firm to the touch. Test by plunging a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. 6. When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce all over with a skewer. Pour the cold syrup, little by little, over the hot cake, spooning any syrup that oozes out the centre of the cake every now and then, until it has all been absorbed. Don't worry about the dirty dark brown colour the syrup takes on after oozing through the cake.7. When the cake is cool, unmould it and sprinkle the coarsely crushed walnuts evenly over the surface. 8. Serve with Greek yoghurt and raspberries marinated with a touch of icing sugar and orange juice, and with a cup of thick, dark, black coffee.

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