Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you have all had a wonderful start to 2016.
We love celebrating New Year’s Day with our Greek friends – a somewhat cosy affair which doubles as a belated Christmas celebration for the little ones but without the stress of Christmas Day itself. In the spirit of Greek family gatherings, there is always an abundance of deliciously-prepared food on offer, and always a Vasilopita – a Greek New Year’s Cake – to celebrate the first day of the year.
There are many different versions of Vasilopita, ranging from a cake in plain form to a yeasted bread with spices. Like a King’s Cake or Galette des Rois, a coin is hidden inside this cake and the person who finds the coin is said to be granted luck for the entire year!
I think this cake is traditionally eaten at midnight on New Year’s Eve, but I couldn’t wait another year before eating it again, so I baked it in a fancy cake tin instead of the usual round cake tin.
You could slice the cake as per normal and serve them to guests at random, but our friends follow the tradition of serving the cake from oldest to youngest in the room.
This year, our friend produced the most delightfully moist and fluffy Vasilopita that I swiftly begged her for the recipe. To start the year on such a delicious and sweet note can only be a good omen, even if I wasn’t the recipient of the lucky coin.
How do you celebrate New Year’s Day?
- 2 cups plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 110g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 180ml (3/4 cup) full cream milk
- 150g (5 oz) plain Greek yoghurt
- zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Butter and flour a 23cm (9 inch) Bundt tin or round cake tin.
- Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Cream the butter with sugar until it is light and fluffy.
- Add one egg at a time, beating well after each egg and with a spoonful of the flour mixture to stop the mixture from curdling.
- Slowly beat in all of the flour mixture, and then add the milk, Greek yoghurt and lemon zest. Mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Wrap a coin (preferably a large one to avoid the risk of choking) in aluminium foil and drop it into the batter.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, before turning the cake out of the tin to cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar before serving.
To serve a larger crowd, you can double this recipe and bake it in a 12 inch cake tin. You might need to bake the cake for a bit longer.
Share your photos!
If you have used this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird