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Vasilopita Recipe: Saint Basil’s Cake

Published by: Chef Alison Stringer • Updated: January 23, 2024 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

When planning a New Year celebration this year, why not try this Vasilopita recipe? It’s a traditional Greek New Year’s cake to enjoy?

Traditionally, the Vasilopita is served soon after midnight on New Year’s morning. Vasilopita means  ‘Saint Basil’s Cake’ as it is the Saint’s feast Day on 1 January. This delicious cake incorporates ingredients that grow in abundance in Greece – fresh oranges and almonds. It also includes some Greek brandy; lighter than its French cousins, but gives the cake an excellent flavour. 

For extra fun, the cake always has a coin hidden inside it, and the person who finds the coin is assured of happiness all year through….

Vasilopita Greek New Years Day Cake Recipe

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5 from 2 votes
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 45 minutes
COURSE Dessert
CALORIES 2517 kcal


  • Sieve
  • Electric hand mixer
  • 20cm Cake tin plus cooking parchment for lining
  • Cooling rack
  • 1 Coin wrapped in silver tin foil
  • Cake plate or cake board for serving


  • 375 grams plain flour
  • 75 grams butter
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Grated rind of a large orange
  • 50 grams chopped almonds.
  • 150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek/ Cyprus Brandy
  • Almond halves to decorate
  • I coin, tightly wrapped in tin foil (suggest £1 coin, 1 euro or similar)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F /Gas mark 4.
  • Beat the butter, egg yolks, sugar, orange rind and oil in a large bowl until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • Add the brandy and the orange juice.
  • Very gently fold in the flour, baking powder and finely chopped almonds using a large metal spoon.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they are stiff and hold their shape. Very gently add them to the cake mixture using a metal spoon.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined 20cm tin. Slip the wrapped coin into the mixture and smooth the top of the mixture gently.
  • Using the almond halves write ‘2023’ in large numbers on the top of the cake.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes. Until the cake is golden brown.
  • Test the cake with a skewer and if it is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes.
  • Carefully remove the cake and place on the cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To serve, carefully lift the cake onto a serving plate or cake board.
  • Sprinkle with a little icing sugar if desired.
  • If you prefer, you can write the date on the cake using icing or icing sugar.
Chefs Tips
Families all over Greece share a Vasilopita as soon as they have heard the bells chime the arrival of the New Year at midnight. The cake should be sliced and served in a particular order. The first slice is set aside for Christ, the second for the house and the third is set aside to give to a poor person. The rest of the cake is distributed to everyone present – in descending age order. Happy 2023!
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Nutritional Information
Calories: 2517kcalCarbohydrates: 420gProtein: 75gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 663mgSodium: 1188mgPotassium: 1431mgFiber: 17gSugar: 121gVitamin A: 1389IUVitamin C: 79mgCalcium: 864mgIron: 24mg
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If You Are Ever In Greece

Spend time wandering in the local market to appreciate the freshness of the produce. Greek housewives shop almost daily for fresh local produce, which is seasonal and enjoyed by the family for the short period it is available. For example, fresh, locally grown apricots taste delicious but are only available for about six weeks annually.

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Chef Alison Stringer
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