Vasilopita: the effortless Greek cake recipe to celebrate New Year’s Day

Total time: 70 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
Entra nel nuovo canale WhatsApp di Cookist Wow
By Cookist
4 cups
1 3/4 cups
Baking powder
2 tbsp
butter, softened
1 cup
Orange juice
1 1/2 cup
1 tsp
Orange zest
1 tbsp
Powdered sugar to garnish

Vasilopita (pronounced vah-see-LO-pee-tah) is a traditional Greek bread-like cake people enjoy on New Year's Day. This delicious loaf is sweet and moist. You need few simple ingredients to make it. The vasilopita cake it flavored with orange, then baked and decorated with powdered sugar. Super easy to make, vasilopita cake should be cut in a certain way as it hides a coin at its base that not even the cook knows where it is because it is stuck in the bottom and then spun around.

Made to celebrate the life of St. Basil, therefore the legend says that he returned to the citizens of Caesar the coins that had been taken from him by the enemy. Since St. Basil didn't know how much each family's contribution had been, he decided to randomly distribute sweetbreads with coins inside, and the miracle occurred when everyone received exactly what each had contributed.

Today the head of the family is the one who cuts the bread-like cake at midnight and the person who has the happiness of receiving the coin in his piece of Vasilopita, will be considered blessed with a lot of luck throughout the year. Let's see who will be the lucky one!

How to cut Vasilopita

The senior member of the family is in charge of cutting the vasilopita at midnight on New Year's Eve.

Religious families usually cut the first slice in remembrance of Jesus Christ, the second for the Virgin Mary, and the third for the household. The other portions are then intended for the other members of the family starting with the hosts, through the elderly relatives to the younger ones.

The cutting of the vasilopita is so heartfelt that it also includes any member who is away on a trip or even pets. The same happens in many businesses, clubs and associations and the coin can symbolize a more important gift.

Vasilopita Coin

Vasilopita cake is known for its gold or silver plated coin, typically made for this cake. Tradition says that whoever finds the coin will enjoy good luck throughout the year, as well as receive a small gift.

How to decorate Traditional Vasilopita Cake

You can decorate a traditional Greek New Year's cake with powdered sugar or sugar glaze, once cool.

For a fancy vasilopita, you can use some stencils to create the year number or funny patterns and shapes on top of the cake.

People even drizzle melted chocolate or sprinkle nuts on top.

Tips for the Best Greek New Year's Cake

For a vegan vasilopita, use vegan alternative to dairy products and eggs.

You can also make vasilopita with olive oil instead of butter.

If you want to make an eggless vasilopita, use a replacer mixed to 6 tablespoons of water.

How to store Vasilopita

You can store vasilopita at room temperature for a week, closed in an airtight container. It lasts 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze vasilopita slices for up to 3 months.

How to make Vasilopita

Preheat the oven at 350°F/180°C. Line a springform with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder, then set aside. In another bowl, whisk sugar and butter.

Add in the orange juice, zest and vanilla. Mix for about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs and mix for extra 2 minutes.

Add the flour mixture into the butter one, then mix at low speed. Pour the batter into the springform.

Add in the coin and hide it into the batter.

Bake for up to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, unmold and let it rest on a tray until cool. If you forgot to put the coin, you can place the cake upside down and slowly insert the coin inside the dough.

Sprinkle the vasilopita with powdered sugar by using a stencil or a woven cloth

Slice, serve and enjoy!

Every dish has a story
Find out more on Cookist social networks