Traditions and Recipe for Vasilopita

Greek cakes
Select Bakery, Toronto www.selectbakery.ca

The recipe for Vasilopita differs from region to region across Greece. Mostly it is sweet, whereas in parts of Macedonia the New Years’ Cake is salty and made with cheese and filo dough. What all Vasilopita’s have in common, is that they have a coin hidden inside somewhere, that can not be seen from the outside! It is exactly this that makes the cake a Vasilopita (The cake of Agios Vasilis – the Greek name for Santa Claus).

The first piece is traditionally cut for Christ, the second for the house and the rest for the family, beginning with the Father, Mother, children of the house.

Tradition has it that the new year will be very successful for the person that finds the coin in the piece of the Vasilopita. He, she or it will be healthy, lucky and have lots of success the whole year through. In Greece this is still a vibrant and very important tradition, whose roots go way back in history. Wishing you all Happy Baking and Happy New Year!

Greek cake Vasilopita

Recipe – 

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ x cup unsalted butter
  • 2 x cups sugar
  • 1 & 1/2tablespoons orange zest
  • 6 x eggs
  • 3 x tablespoons brandy
  • 1 x teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 x cup orange juice and zest
  • 6 x cups self- raising flour
  • 1 x teaspoon baking powder
  • (Optional) almond flakes or icing sugar for topping
  • 1 x coin (wrapped in foil)

Vasilopita

Method: 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour circular pan, line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar well. This will take around 10 minutes on a high setting.
  • Add all the eggs, one egg at a time, ensuring that it has been incorporated into the batter before adding the next egg.
  • Add the brandy and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the orange zest.
  • Stir the baking powder and flour together.
  • Next add the orange juice and flour, alternating with small amounts of each as you add these ingredients, starting and ending with flour.
  • Pour the batter into the pan. Tightly wrap your coin in foil, and drop it into the batter. Ensure the top of the batter is smooth so that it is not obvious where the coin has been dropped.
  • Place in the oven for 60 minutes. Test the centre of the cake with a toothpick after 60 minutes to ensure it is cooked. Remove and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.
  • If you wish, dust icing sugar, almond flakes, or both just before serving.

*Top and featured image by Select Bakery in Toronto selectbakery.ca

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.