If you are planning a New Year celebration this year, why not bake 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 which is 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
- 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.
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 very 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 every year.