vasilopitaA delicious vasilopita recipe, infused with the aromas and blends of oranges and garnished with a thick and glossy vanilla scented sugar glaze or sprinkled with icing sugar!

Vasilopita is a traditional Greek cake or bread served at midnight on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the life of Saint Basil. After baking his, Fillipos inserted a coin through the base and is waiting for you to come and cut it to give luck for the rest of the year! Almost every family has its own recipe but this is his.

To make this an extra special cake Fillipos whipped the egg whites into a meringue before adding them to the mixture.

For the vasilopita

375g butter (13 ounces)
3 cups sugar
6 eggs (divided into yolks and whites)
zest of 2 oranges
1/2 cup orange juice
200g yogurt, strained (7 ounces)
1 tsp vanilla extract
750g self-rising flour, sifted  (26.5 ounces)
For the glaze

2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsps hot water or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
or sprinkle with sieved icing sugar


  1. To prepare the vasilopita, start by dividing the eggs into yolks and whites. Place the egg whites in a bowl with a pinch of salt. 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. 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 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. Preheat the oven to 200C (both top and bottom heating elements on). Butter the bottom and sides of a round non-stick 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!

7 thoughts on “Vasilopita

  1. Thank you Sara, What a wonderful recipe for everyone to try. Love the sharing of a Greek custom. I will make this on New Year’s Eve.

  2. Love the Greek village books, cant wait for the next instalment !!
    Will also read your new but different book about Cyril !!

    • Septic Cyril first appears in The ‘Art of Being Homeless’ as a client of Michelle who was pushed on her by the other lawyers who didn’t want to deal with him.
      The single street village Cyril lives in is the same place Ellie from ‘The Reluctant Baker’ lived in with her teacher husband who is mentioned in ‘Saving Septic Cyril’ as he gives Cyril a pile of magazines about pottery….

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