2 January 2015

Καλή Χρονιά! Happy new Year!

This is the traditional cake we cut and eat the first minute of the New Year!

It is called Βασιλόπιτα ( Vassilopita)      

Its name derives from the Saint it is dedicated to,  Άγιος Βασίλης ( Saint Basil).

He is the Greek Santa Claus and we celebrate his name day on 1st January.

Another exciting factor about this cake is that we hide a coin and we cut it in a specific way.

The first three pieces are dedicated to Mary mother of Jesus, Jesus and St Basil.

After the first three pieces are cut we start cutting pieces for the family of the house, the cake is cut in.

Whoever gets the coin will have good luck for the rest of the year.

If the coin is found in the first three pieces then the house will be blessed all around the year.

Whoever wishes to try this tradition next year I am displaying the recipe below!

For the Vasilopita

  • 375gr butter ( 13 ounces)
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 6 eggs ( divide into yolks and whites)
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 200gr yogurt, strained ( 7 ounces)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 750gr self-raising flour sifted ( 26.5 ounces)

For the glaze

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbps hot water or milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. To prepare this vasilopita recipe, start by dividing the eggs into yolks and whites. Place the egg whites in the bowl of the electric mixer, along with 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. Use the electric mixer, to mix the butter and sugar, 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 another. Pour in the orange juice, the vanilla extract, the orange zest, the yogurt and mix to combine. Add 1/3 of the sifted flour and blend, using a maryse spatula. Add 1/3 of the meringues and blend with light circular movements from the bottom up. Repeat with the rest of the flour and meringue (adding 1/3 of the flour and 1/3 meringue and then the remaining flour and meringue).
  3. To bake the vasilopita, preheat the oven to 200C (both top and bottom heating elements on). Butter the bottom and sides of a round non-sticking cake tin (approx.32cm diameter) and pour in the mixture. Place the cake tin in the preheated oven, on the lower rack, turn the heat down to 175C and bake for 50-60 minutes, until nicely coloured and cooked through. Check if the vasilopita is ready, by sticking in the middle of the cake a wooden skewer or toothpick. If it comes out clean, then the cake is ready.
  4. Let the vasilopita cool down (otherwise it will break) and invert the pan on a plate. Wrap a coin with aluminium foil and stick it in the cake. Invert the vasilopita on a serving platter.
  5. Prepare the glaze for the vasilopita. In a large bowl add all the ingredients and blend with a spatula to combine, until the glaze is smooth and and glossy.  Add a little bit more hot water, if needed (the glaze should be like a thin cream). Top the vasilopita with the glaze and even out with a spatula. Don’t forget to carve the number of the year on top of the glaze! Enjoy!