Baklava Cake (My Mother’s Recipe)
My mother’s baklava cake is one of my favorite desserts ever. Her recipe is not like the typical Greek or Turkish baklava. It is more like a cake encased in layers of buttery phyllo dough. It super juicy and sweet because it is drenched in syrup. My mom used to prepare it for New Year’s Day or Christmas, and I couldn’t wait for it to cool down so I can have a piece. I always associate this recipe with the winter holidays.
I know that this is not my usual nutritious and low sugar recipe, but this dessert is a part of who I am. On this blog I share not only recipes I’ve created on my own but also the ones I know from my mom and were a part of my childhood.
Why should you make the Baklava Cake ?
The main reason you should make it is its unbelievable flavor. When I have this dessert in the house, I can’t control myself. I have to have a piece of the baklava after every meal. That is why I only make it once a year. So, if you decide to prepare this recipe you have been warned. It is highly addictive.
I honestly haven’t tasted better baklava than this one. The cake in the middle is like a sponge and absorbs all the syrup. Every bite is so juicy and sweet. You can still taste the classic baklava taste, but the texture is slightly different.
Please note that this recipe is not low on calories or low in sugar. Diabetics shouldn’t consume it.
Helpful tips about making Baklava Cake
You can find phyllo dough at big grocery stores. It is usually in the freezer section right next to puff pastry or pie crusts. I buy this brand, because it has two individually wrapped packs of phyllo dough. One pack is enough for this recipe.
Ground the walnuts very finely. They should look like flour.
When I make this dessert, I always start by making the syrup first. It needs time to cool off before you pour it over the baklava cake.
There is one rule when you add syrup to baklava. You add cold syrup to warm baklava or hot syrup to cold baklava. I prefer to cool down my baklava soaked in syrup because it absorbs it better. That is why I make the syrup in advance. That way it has enough time to cool down while the baklava bakes.
More tips about making Baklava
Be generous when you apply the melted butter on the phyllo dough sheets. Don’t leave any dry spots.
It is best to refrigerate the baklava cake overnight or for a minimum of two hours. This dessert needs time to absorb all the syrup.
Sometimes the baklava dries out and I have to prepare extra syrup to revive it. This happened this year since we couldn’t finish the dessert on the day I served it. To make extra syrup add one cup of sugar to a cup of water and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the burner and add a teaspoon of vanilla. Pour the hot syrup over the cold baklava. Then cool the dessert in the fridge until it is completely cooled off.
Always store leftover baklava cake in the refrigerator up to a week after you make it.
- Stand or hand mixer
- Food processor
- 1 pack of phyllo dough
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter two sticks
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup raw walnuts ground
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
For the syrup
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Start by making the syrup. Add three cups of sugar and three cups of water in a pot and heat them up on high. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat and add the vanilla extract to it.
- Melt the butter. I do it on the stove top, but you can also melt it in the microwave oven.
- Preheat the oven to 380F.
- With a food grade, pastry brush grease the bottom and the sides of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Add one sheet of phyllo dough at the bottom of the dish and brush melted butter all over that sheet. Then add another sheet of the phyllo and again brush melted butter all over. Repeat stacking phyllo sheets and brushing butter between each layer until you have used half of the sheets in the pack.
To make the cake
- Use a food processor to ground the walnuts finely. Beat 4 large eggs and a cup of sugar with a mixer until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the ground walnuts, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat on low or mix with a spatula until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
To assemble the baklava
- Pour the cake batter in the casserole dish on top of the buttered phyllo sheets.
- Continue layering phyllo sheets and butter on top of the cake batter until you run out of sheets.
- Bake the baklava for 35-40m minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
- Allow to cool off for few minutes, cut to squares and then each square in half.
- Pour the syrup on top evenly. Refrigerate until it is completely cooled off and absorbed most of the syrup (at least two hours).