Vasilopita Cake Recipe (Greek New Year’s cake)

Vasilopita Cake recipe(Greek New Year's cake)

A delicious vasilopita recipe, infused with the aromas and blends of oranges and garnished with a thick and glossy vanilla scented sugar glaze! Vasilopita is a traditional Greek cake or bread served at midnight on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the life of Saint Basil. After baking the vasilopita cake, a coin is inserted through the base and when cut the person who finds the coin is said to be granted luck for the rest of the year!

Vasilopita is made of a variety of doughs, depending on the region and almost every family has it’s own recipe. The most popular vasilopita recipes are either made with tsoureki dough or like a cake. This is my family’s vasilopita recipe with which we welcome the New Year with friends and loved ones for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy it!

Vasilopita recipe – How to make the perfect Greek New Year’s cake!

Once starting to prepare this vasilopita recipe, make sure that your butter is at room temperature before using. It is very important to mix the butter and sugar thoroughly until the butter is really fluffy and creamy, like whipped cream, and the sugar has dissolved. Give this step some extra time and the result will definitely reward you.

In many vasilopita recipes, the eggs are added whole to the cake mixture but with this recipe the egg whites are beaten into meringues and combined towards the end with the rest of the dough. This is the secret to a more fluffy and airy vasilopita.

Vasilopita Cake recipe (Greek New Year's cake)
Vasilopita Cake recipe (Greek New Year’s cake)

To avoid the egg-y smell, which can ruin the flavour of your vasilopita, add the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each one to be absorbed from the mixture.

Once done mixing the rest of the ingredients, use a marise spatula to incorporate the flour and the meringue. Using an electric mixer will result the vasilopita to loose it’s fluffiness. Just add the flour (sifted) and the meringue and blend with light circular movements, trying not to overwork the dough.

Also very important is not to open the oven under no circumstances, before 30 minutes of baking, as this will result your vasilopita to deflate. Finally don’t forget to insert the coin through the base of the cake!

If you prefer to make a vasilopita using a tsoureki dough, here is a no fail tsoureki recipe, for you to succeed on your first time. To discover more Greek Christmas traditions and customs to celebrate with your loved ones have a look at my article Greek Christmas traditions and customs.

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Vasilopita Cake recipe(Greek New Year's cake)

Vasilopita Cake Recipe (Greek New Year’s cake)

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  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 45 min
  • Cook Time: 60 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

A delicious vasilopita recipe (Greek New Years cake) infused with the aromas of oranges and garnished with a thick and glossy vanilla glaze! Vasilopita is a traditional Greek cake served at midnight on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the life of Saint Basil. After baking the cake, a coin is inserted through the base and when cut the person who finds the coin is said to be granted luck for the rest of the year!



Scale

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 375g butter (13oz)
  • 600g sugar (21oz, 3 cups)
  • 6 eggs (divided into yolks and whites)
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 200g yogurt, strained (7oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 750g self-rising flour, sifted (26.5oz)

For the glaze

  • 450g icing sugar (15.8oz, 3 cups)
  • 5 tbsps hot water or milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions

  1. To prepare this vasilopita recipe, start by dividing the eggs into yolks and whites. Place the egg whites in the your mixer bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachments are clean and free of any water. Whisk the egg whites until the mixture is very thick and glossy and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted (meringues). Place the mixture in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Clean out your mixer bowl and add the butter and sugar. Using the paddle hook or the creaming attachments whisk for about 20 minutes, until the butter is creamy and fluffy like whipped cream. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whilst mixing, allowing time for each one to be absorbed, before adding the next. Pour in the orange juice, the vanilla extract, the orange zest, the yogurt and mix to combine.
  3. Remove the bowl from your mixer and add 1/3rd of the sifted flour and blend with a spatula. Add 1/3rd of the meringues and blend with light circular movements from the bottom up. Repeat with the rest of the flour and meringue, adding 1/3rd of the flour, mix, add 1/3rd meringue until all your ingredients are combined.
  4. To bake the vasilopita, preheat the oven to 200C / 390F using both top and bottom heating elements. Alternatively set to 180C/356F fan.
  5. It’s now time to prepare your baking tin. Select a non stick cake tin approx. 25-30cm in diameter (10-12 inch). Butter your vasilopita tin and dust with some flour. Alternatively, line with some parchment paper. Pour in your vasilopita mixture and spread it evenly with your spatula.
  6. Place the cake tin in the preheated oven, on the lower third rack, turn the heat down to 175C / 350F or 160C/320F fan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until nicely coloured and cooked through. Make sure you don’t open the oven in the first 30 minutes of baking as your Vasilopita will collapse! Stick in the middle of the cake a wooden skewer or toothpick to check if your cake is ready. If it comes out clean, then your vasilopita cake is done!
  7. Let your vasilopita cake cool down completely and invert the pan on a plate. If its not cold it may break! Using a second plate, invert again so the top of the cake is on top. Wrap a coin with aluminium foil and stick it in the cake. Invert the vasilopita on a serving platter with the bottom of the cake facing upwards. Having a completely flat surface will make your glaze go on so much easier and will be nice and flat.
  8. Prepare the glaze for your Greek new year’s cake. In a large bowl add all the ingredients and blend with a spatula until the glaze is smooth and glossy. If needed, add a little bit more hot water. The glaze should have a glue like consistency but be perfectly smooth when blending with the spatula. Top the vasilopita with the glaze and even out with a flat spatula. Don’t forget to carve the number of the year on top of the glaze or use some toasted almonds to shape it! Enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 616kcal
  • Sugar: 60.9g
  • Sodium: 180.8mg
  • Fat: 21.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 97.3g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 8.6g
  • Cholesterol: 121.8mg

Keywords: Vasilopita, Greek New Year's cake recipe, Saint Basil's cake, Vasilopita coin

Recipe image gallery:

Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Συνταγή για Βασιλόπιτα κέικ.15.8

23 Comments

  1. Perfect. Hard work but turned out perfect. Thank you. X Καλή χρόνια. Χ

  2. Jackie Owen

    I followed your instructions to a tee but was not sure about the sugar amount so put in less.It was amazing and was a hit with all my Greek inlaws…I am English. Am about to make it again for our roads New Years get together.ttk

  3. Is the oven temp for fan forced or conventional ovens? I have a fan forced oven and in less than 10 mins it was brown on top! I changed the temp down to 150 to avoid a burn. Might be a good idea to indicate that in your recipe? I have tried this for the first time and don’t know how it will turn out. Will let you know how it goes. Happy New Year!

    • Good question! I am making my cake today, and our oven is the same as yours. Hope it will turn out OK. A Greek friend just sent me a photo of hers, which looks wonderful- not sure I’ll be sending her one of mine! Let me know Victoria how yours turns out!

  4. Thank you for your recipe. I have made it for our family meeting on the 1st of January. Perfect cake and very good result. Tasty and flavorful is a very good choice. I have used for the glaze orange blossom water and all have been perfect. Happy New Year from Romania!

    • Mine looked amazing when it came out of the oven, but unfortunately, the middle was not cooked. I cooked it for an hour, and tested it with a skewer, and it seemed cooked. But it wasn’t 🙁

  5. I made two vasilopites from the same recipe! 150c worked perfectly for one hour. They came out beautifully and tasted superb! Thank you for the wonderful recipe. My mum was astounded that my first try at making vasilopites (without baking soda) worked so well! Happy New Year and Happy Name Day to all who share the Saint’s name!

  6. Hello,

    How far in advance can I make this?

    Would I be able to make it on the 29th December for New Years Day?

  7. Very pleased with this years Vasilopita…so light …every body loved it. Will be using this recipe from now on. Happy New Year xx

  8. Making this for the first time today and am very excited. My only concern is my oven temp setting converting to Fahrenheit. I can do both confection and fan so I elected to use the fan. Fingers crossed.

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