Pantespani (Παντεσπάνι)


A classic Greek orange dessert with syrup

Mother’s Day is coming up! Although we are of the opinion that mothers should be celebrated every day of the year, this particular day is an opportunity to  perhaps go the extra mile in showing your mom how much she means to you.  When we were little, we would make cards for our mom; they were adorable, personal and made with such joy.  Our mother would always make a big show of telling us how much she loved these hand-crafted demonstrations of love.  When we had little ones of our own and they began doing the same for us, our hearts glowed.  There is nothing sweeter than a stick figure drawing meant to look like you, with the sweet words of your child written in crayon.  Except perhaps, this sweet cake.


Pantespani is a simple, orange-flavoured sponge cake, very light and fluffy which is then soaked with an orange-infused syrup.  Greeks love syrup-soaked cakes!  Less popular perhaps than karydopita (Greek walnut cake), we think pantespani should really receive more love. It’s dairy free, contains simple and inexpensive ingredients, and only gets better with age (like mothers!).


Helpful hints

You will need a 9-inch round cake pan for this recipe.

The egg whites need to be beaten until you form stiff white peaks.  The cream of tartar (which is actually a powder) will help you achieve this, and maintain the peaks. Stiff peaks mean that when you lift your beaters out of the egg white, you are able to create a peak which keeps its shape.


The syrup for this cake is what transforms it from a simple sponge cake to something more.  You can actually use as much of the syrup as you like, depending upon how sweet and syrupy you want your end result to be.  If you are not sure, we recommend you follow our instructions exactly, taste, and then adjust for future baking.  Trust us, this cake is so good, you will definitely be making it again.


One of us is not crazy about the flavor of orange blossom water.  The amount called for in this recipe is small, and so not overpowering.  Still, the addition of the orange blossom water is optional. If you happen to love this ingredient, feel free to add even more of it to the syrup (but go slowly…it is quite a strong taste).

Pin this if you like it!


Looking for more citrus-y recipes? Try these:

Peach and orange Metaxa cocktail

Orange muffins with dates and figs

No-knead bread with halloumi, mint and orange

We love hearing from you!  If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!,  please leave a comment below!


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A classic Greek orange dessert with syrup.


A classic Greek orange dessert with syrup.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • 9 inch round baking pan
  • hand held mixer, or stand mixer


  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp tightly packed grated orange rind
  • 1 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For the syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) water
  • 1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water optional


  • Prepare your syrup by combining all of the ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.  Allow to cook for approximately 15 minutes and then set aside to cool completely.
    1 ½ cups (375 mL) water, 1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/3 cup (80 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Prepare your 9 inch round baking pan by coating it with a small amount of vegetable oil or cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
    6 eggs, separated, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and orange rind.  When this is well mixed together, slowly incorporate the beaten egg whites and mix to combine.
    6 eggs, separated, 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, 2 tbsp tightly packed grated orange rind
  • In a third bowl combine and mix together the flour, salt, vanilla and and baking powder. Add this flour mixture into the bowl containing the eggs and mix well until just combined.  You do not want to see any flour which has not been incorporated into the eggs.  You will end up with a smooth, uniform batter.
    1 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake in the center of your oven for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes.  Then, keeping your cake in the pan, cut it into serving size pieces, usually in diamond shapes.
  • Pour the cooled syrup over the still warm cake, being sure to saturate every part of the cake.  Allow it to cool completely, and serve.
  • Enjoy!

Thanks for sharing!


  1. PlantsandBeyond says:

    Nice ! Looks very yummy

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thank you so much!!! It really is great. Hope you give it a try some day 🙂

  2. Perfect treat for Mother’s Day ! Love the golden skin and soft spongy cake beneath !!

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thanks so much! It definitely is a perfect cake to celebrate with 🙂

  3. E Paraponairis says:

    Don’t have a 9″ cake pan…what can I substitute instead?

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi there 🙂 If you don’t have a 9 inch cake pan, you can definitely use what you have. A bit smaller will be okay although you may have to adjust the cooking time. We wouldn’t recommend a larger pan however as your cake may end up to thin. Let you know how it turns out, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Marisa's Italian Kitchen says:

    This would be just perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or better yet…breakfast in bed😉

    1. miakouppa says:

      Agreed Marisa! It would be delicious any time of the day, any day of the year…especially in bed 🙂

  5. Thank you for this recipe. I made it and my husband and son loved it. Now to make it for the rest of the family.

    1. miakouppa says:

      That makes us so happy to hear Tina!! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know 🙂 We hope that the rest of the family enjoys this cake as well! xoxo Helen & Billie

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