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For the syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon peel (optional)

For the custard filling:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the pastry layers:

  • 1 package phyllo dough (about 16 sheets)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted


Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to create the syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a separate saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it begins to steam. Do not let it boil.

Gradually whisk in the semolina and continue stirring constantly for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until well combined and smooth.

Return the saucepan to low heat and cook the custard mixture for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and set the custard aside to cool slightly.

Brush a 9x13-inch baking dish with melted butter.

Layer half of the phyllo sheets in the baking dish, brushing each sheet with melted butter.

Pour the custard filling evenly over the phyllo layers.

Layer the remaining phyllo sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter.

Using a sharp knife, score the top layers of phyllo into diamond or square shapes.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over the hot cake, ensuring it is evenly distributed.

Let the cake cool completely and allow it to absorb the syrup for a few hours or overnight.


Once cooled and set, cut the cake along the scored lines.

Serve the Greek Milk Cake at room temperature and enjoy!

The Greek Milk Cake, or Galaktoboureko, is a delicious dessert with a creamy custard filling sandwiched between layers of crispy phyllo pastry. The sweet syrup adds a touch of moisture and sweetness to the cake, making it a delightful treat for any occasion.