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overhead shot of karydopita in a baking pan.
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4.5 from 24 votes

Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake)

Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake) is a traditional syrup cake, loaded with crunchy walnuts and tantalizing spices. This is an easy to make syrup-soaked cake and so delicious!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: greek walnut cake, karydopita, walnut cake
Servings: 20
Calories: 335kcal

Ingredients

Cake

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter unsalted, at room temperature
  • 7 large eggs separated, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • 3 cups walnuts roughly chopped (12 to 13oz)
  • cup breadcrumbs plain or ground rusk
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon ground
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg ground
  • ½ teaspoon cloves ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • 8 whole cloves

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease 9x13" baking pan. Set aside.
  • Mix Wet Ingredients: Add the sugar and butter to a large bowl and mix on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, while continuing to mix. Add the cognac and mix until blended in.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In another large bowl, combine the walnuts, breadcrumbs, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  • Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth.
  • Add Egg Whites: Add the egg whites to another bowl and mix until stiff peaks form. Fold in the egg whites into the cake batter, a quarter at a time, with circular movements until finished.
  • Bake: Pour the cake batter into the greased pan and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake is nicely browned. Test with a toothpick to make sure it's baked through.
  • Make Syrup: While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Add all the syrup ingredients together to a small saucepan and boil until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally, over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the syrup for 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Let the syrup cool while the cake is baking.
  • Finish: As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the cooled syrup over the entire cake. You could also pour hot syrup on a cool cake. Allow the cake to absorb all the syrup.
  • Serve: Cut the cake into diamond shaped pieces and serve with walnut half on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

  1. Make sure you use eggs that are at room temperature because they mix better with the batter and rise more easily.
  2. Traditionally for this cake, whole walnuts are shelled are chopped. Nuts still in their shell tend to taste fresher and are usually cheaper. While you can use this method, purchasing a bag of walnuts at the store will certainly be easier.
  3. Once your cake is cut, make sure to cover it airtight immediately because it can dry out quickly. I like to use a cake plate covered with a dome, or simply wrap it with plastic wrap.
  4. Use fresh baking powder in order to ensure your cake rises nicely. To test if baking powder is still good, spoon 1/2 teaspoon in a bowl and pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over it. Right away it should bubble up violently. If it does, it’s still good. If it doesn’t, discard it and open a new tin.
  5. Karydopita will last up to 3 days at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Stored in the fridge, it will last up to 1 week.
  6. To freeze: Wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, place it in a ziploc bag and store it in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 242IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg