Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate

All of the great flavours of the traditional Greek Christmas cookie called melomakarona, but in cake form, with a layer of chocolate on top! This cake is flavoured with orange, walnuts and honey and after it is baked it is infused in honey syrup. Then, the cake is topped with a thick chocolate ganache layer and is decorated with candied oranges and honeyed walnuts.

Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate

I love making melomakarona and also using them to create other recipes. This cake has all the amazing flavours of melomakarona, but in cake form. Plus, it has the added amazing flavour of chocolate, which matches the spices, honey and walnut flavour of the cookie so well! I was inspired to make this dessert after seeing recipes where the melomakarona cookies are dipped in melted chocolate. I am so happy and proud with how this recipe turned out! I think you will really love it.

Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate

Why this recipe works

I have taken great care to use ingredients in this cake that you would find in a great melomakarona cookie recipe. Everything comes together to make a delicious cake with a perfect texture.

Baking the cake in a springform pan is the perfect way to make it. The cake bakes up perfectly, and can easily be stored in the springform pan.

I have added a thick layer of chocolate ganache on this cake – so much more interesting and delicious than a thin drizzle of icing.

Key ingredients

For the cake

Orange zest I use a fine grater to finely grate only the orange part of the orange peel, avoiding the bitter white pith.

Orange juice If possible, use freshly squeezed orange juice.

Olive oil I use Greek olive oil

Honey This is a key ingredient in this dessert, so be sure to use a good quality honey.

Cognac or brandy I prefer to use Greek cognac, but any other variety will work as well.

Sugar White granulated sugar is used to sweeten this dessert with its mild flavour.

Crushed walnuts Adding crushed walnuts to this cake batter makes it very special and gives a great flavour and texture.

Cinnamon I use ground cinnamon in this cake recipe.

Ground cloves If you like cloves, this adds a really nice flavour to your cake. I actually hate cloves, and don’t use them when I make the cake!

All purpose flour Also called plain or regular flour, this is the basis of this cake recipe.

Baking powder This leavening agent helps the cake rise.

Baking soda An additional leavening agent.

Salt Don’t forget to add salt in your baked goods; it really helps to bring out the flavours.

For the syrup

Honey The honey that you select will impact the flavour of your dessert. Any flavour will work, just use something you like.

Water A few tablespoons of water help to thin out the honey just a little bit, making it easier to soak through the cake.

For the chocolate topping

Dark chocolate I love the contrast between the honey sweet cake and the bitter strong taste of dark chocolate. I use vegan dark chocolate when I want to keep this dessert lenten (for the Orthodox fast).

Coconut milk I use full fat canned coconut milk to keep this recipe dairy free.

For the garnish

Candied orange slices I love to make candied orange slices; they are so easy, and delicious. They also make a wonderful gift. Here is my recipe so that you can make them as well: candied orange slices recipe.

Candied orange slices

Walnuts Chopped walnut halves are toasted until fragrant.

Honey I always use locally sourced honey or Greek honey because I trust that these are pure honey, and they taste great!

How to make this cake

Prepare the cake

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Step 2
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.

Step 3
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine all of the ingredients, including the dry ingredients you just whisked to combine. With the mixer speed set to medium, and using the paddle attachement, mix until combined.

Step 4
Pour batter into a greased springform pan and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 45 minutes.

Prepare the syrup

Step 5
When the cake is almost done, prepare your syrup. Combine the honey and the water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep at a simmer until the honey has a very liquid consistency.

Step 6
Once your cake is fully baked, remove from the oven and use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Carefully pour the honey syrup over the cake; the holes will help the syrup penetrate through the cake. Allow to cool; do not remove from the springform pan.

Prepare the chocolate layer

Step 7
Chop up the chocolate and transfer it to a heat proof bowl.

Step 8
Bring the coconut milk to a boil and then pour it directly over the chocolate. Allow to sit undisturbed for a minutes and then whisk. The milk will melt the chocolate. Add in the orange extract and salt and whisk to combine.

Step 9
Pour the chocolate over the cake and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the cake. Decorate your cake with the garnish and then place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight for the chocolate to set.

Prepare the garnish

Step 10
Prepare candied orange slices by following this recipe.

Step 11
To make the candied walnuts, toast the walnuts in a non-stick skillet until fragrant. Then pour over 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix the nuts well to coat them with the honey. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and spread out. Allow to cool

Step 12
Decorate your cake as you like with the candied orange slices and the honeyed walnuts.

Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate

Step 13
To serve, release your cake from the springform pan. Before releasing the sides, run a plastic knife between the sides of the cake pan in order not to break apart the chocolate layer.

Recipe substitutions

Use vegetable oil instead of olive oil
Swap the oil in equal parts.

Omit the alcohol
If you prefer to keep this dessert alcohol free, use more orange juice instead of the cognac or brandy.

Use milk chocolate
If you don’t need to keep the dessert dairy-free, and you prefer the taste of milk chocolate, you can make that substitutions.

Baking tips and helpful hints

Grind up your walnuts carefully

I use a small food processor to grind up the walnuts that I will be using in the batter. Watch this carefully as your walnuts can turn into nut butter.

Use a skewer to poke holes in your cake

If you want to be sure that the honey syrup penetrates your cake evenly, then poke holes all over using a skewer – the kind you would use to make your own souvlaki. If you don’t have a skewer you can use a toothpick (not the best option) or a sharp, think bladed knife.

Make your own double boiler

Although you can purchase a double boiler, you absolutely don’t have to. I make my own double boiler by finding a bowl that fits snugly over the top of a small pot. I fill the pot with water (but not so much that it touches the bottom of the bowl) and I bring to a boil and add the chocolate to the bowl. I heat and whisk continuously until the chocolate has melted.

Use a springform pan

I think that a springform pan is the best cake pan to use for this recipe. Be sure to run a knife all around the sides of the cake before releasing the sides of the cake pan. Once you have served your cake, you can replace the sides of the cake pan to keep the dessert intact.

Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate

Frequently asked questions

How do you make melomakarona cookies?

This cake is inspired by the famous traditional Greek cookie called melomakarona – it really does taste like the cookies that are spiced, full of walnuts, and soaked in honey. If you would like to make melomakarona, you can use my recipe, which is a failproof melomakarona recipe that everyone loves.

Can this recipe be made alcohol-free?

Yes, it can. If you would rather keep this recipe free of alcohol, simply use more orange juice. Freshly squeezed orange juice is always best.

How to store

After the cake has been fully assembled, allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or longer. You need this time for the chocolate to set. Once the chocolate has set you can actually keep the cake at room temperature. It is in fact easiest to serve when it is at room temperature.

The cake will keep well at room temperature for several days, and longer in the refrigerator.

I love to use melomakarona cookies to make delicious new recipes. Here are a few of my favourite ideas:

Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)

Melomakarona muffins

Melomakarona ice cream cake

Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)
Melomakarona muffins: Orange, walnut flavoured muffins with a melomakarona streusel topping.
An incredible melomakarona ice cream cake with chocolate fudge and whipped cream topping.

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Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate
Melomakarona (Greek cookie) cake with chocolate

Melomakarona cake with chocolate

A cake that tastes like melomakarona topped with a thick layer of chocolate ganache.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Diet: Low Lactose
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 552kcal
Author: Billie Bitzas

Equipment

  • 1 Food processor optional
  • 1 Skewer
  • 1 double boiler see Recipe Note
  • 1 Non stick skillet or frying pan
  • 1 Parchment paper sheet

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup cognac or brandy
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves optional
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • cup flour

For the syrup

  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp water

For the chocolate layer

  • 300 grams dark chocolate
  • 1 cup coconut milk, canned
  • ½ tsp orange extract
  • tsp salt

For the garnish

  • 2 candied orange slices optional
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
    1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 1 tbsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 2¾ cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer combine all of the ingredients, including the dry ingredients you just whisked to combine. With the mixer speed set to medium, and using the paddle attachement, mix until combined.
    1 tbsp grated orange zest, 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed, 1 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp honey, ¼ cup cognac or brandy, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup crushed walnuts
  • Pour batter into a greased springform pan and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 45 minutes.

Prepare your syrup

  • When the cake is almost done, prepare your syrup. Combine the honey and the water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep at a simmer until the honey has a very liquid consistency.
    ¾ cup honey, 2 tbsp water
  • Once your cake is fully baked, remove from the oven and use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Carefully pour the honey syrup over the cake; the holes will help the syrup penetrate through the cake. Allow to cool; do not remove from the springform pan.

Prepare your chocolate layer

  • Chop up the chocolate and transfer it to a heat proof bowl.
    300 grams dark chocolate
  • Bring the coconut milk to a boil and then pour it directly over the chocolate. Allow to sit undisturbed for a minute and then whisk. The milk will melt the chocolate. Add in the orange extract and salt and whisk to combine.
    1 cup coconut milk, canned
  • Pour the chocolate over the cake and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the cake. Decorate your cake and then chill for at least 2 hours.
    ½ tsp orange extract, ⅛ tsp salt

For the garnish

  • Prepare candied orange slices by following this recipe.
    2 candied orange slices
  • To make the candied walnuts, toast the walnuts in a non-stick skillet until fragrant. Then pour over 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix the nuts well to coat them with the honey. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and spread out. Allow to cool
    ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 1 tbsp honey
  • Decorate your cake as you like with the candied orange slices and the honeyed walnuts.
  • To serve, release your cake from the springform pan. Before releasing the sides, run a plastic knife between the sides of the cake pan in order not to break apart the chocolate layer.

Notes

Although you can purchase a double boiler it is easy to make one yourself.  All you need is a small pot and a heat proof bowl that is slightly larger than that pot and which can sit on top of it.  Fill the pot with water (not so high that the water touches the bottom of the bowl) and bring to a boil. 

Nutrition

Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 240mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 5mg

Thanks for sharing!

2 Comments

  1. This recipe looks delicious and I cannot wait to try it. What size springform pan do you use?

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thank you Vicky! We use a standard 9 inch springform cake pan. Hope you, and everyone else, loves this cake! xoxo Helen & Billie

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