Vasilopita – Greek New Year’s Cake

Greek New Year’s cake

What is a Vasilopita?

Vasilopita is a cake served on New Year’s Eve. There is a coin hidden within the cake, whoever finds the coin, is said to have good luck for the new year. The cake is dusted with a layer of icing sugar then decorated with the new year coming. For more information about Vasilopites, click on the following links, Origins of the VasilopitaThe Tradition of the Vasilopita

Vasilopita - Greek New Year's Cake

Vasilopita is a traditional Greek cake served at midnight on New Year’s Eve. A coin is placed in the cake, whoever finds the coin will have luck for the rest of the year.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Keyword cake, new years
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 185 g butter room temperature
  • 1 1/5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs divided
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of orange
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 100 g yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375 g self-raising flour sifted

Topping

  • icing sugar
  • various sprinkles

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 175°c.
  • Divide eggs into yolks and whites. Place the whites and a pinch of salt into a clean mixing bowl and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Once stiff peaks have formed, set mixture aside.
  • Using your mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until it has become creamy and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the edges of the mixing bowl.
  • Add the egg yolks, one at a time, making sure the previous yolk has been fully absorbed before adding another yolk.
  • Add in the orange juice, zest, vanilla, and yoghurt.
  • Using a spatula fold in half the sifted flour and half the egg whites. Once combined, fold in the remaining flour and egg whites. The mixture will look quite thick, this is how we want it.
  • Butter the bottom and sides of your baking tin, and coat with a thin layer of flour, we do this to prevent the vasilopita from sticking.
  • Pour the mixture into a 32cm diameter tin then place a coin (wrapped with foil) into the mixture. Smooth out the top, and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to check if the cake is done.
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
  • Once cooled, dust with icing sugar and decorate.

MaKING THE VASILOPITA:

As stated previously, make sure all your ingredients are room temperature. This makes baking life much easier.  When dividing your egg yolks and whites, be extra carful not to get any yolk into the whites. I do this by cracking the egg into the palm of my hand and letting the white naturally seperate from the yolk. There is a chance of piercing the yolk if you do this using the shells. Using your hands may be messy, but it’s better being safe than sorry.

Some recipes say to add the coin after baking, but my Giagia would always add the coin to the mixture before it’s baked. Simply wrap the coin in some foil and place it in the cake. With a spatula, try and smooth the top of the mixture as much as possible. Bake in the oven for about an hour, or until cooked. Use a wooden skewer to check if the cake is cooked all the way through. Simply poke the cake, if the skewer comes out clean, the vasilopita is done. Once cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before decorating. If you add the icing sugar before the cake is completely cooled, the icing will slightly melt and change colour. Decorating the vasilopita is fun, you can decorate it with chocolate, with sprinkles, or whatever you have handy. This year, we opted for sprinkles.

Tips and tricks for the perfect vasilopita:

  1. Make sure your butter is at room temperature.
  2. Mix butter and sugar until the butter is fluffy and creamy and the sugar is no longer grainy. This step does take time, but it is extremely rewarding.
  3. Whisk egg whites separately to achieve a fluffy vasilopita.
  4. Adding the yolks one at a time, prevents the vasilopita from having an eggy smell.
  5. If your vasilopta has a crack or slightly sinks in the middle, simply flip it and serve the bottom as the top.
  6. To prevent cracks and sinking middles, refrain from opening the oven door while the vasilopita is cooking.

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