Vasilopita cake is served at midnight on New Year’s Eve. A lucky coin is baked into it and whoever ends up with the piece of cake with the coin in it is considered to have good luck for the entire year. Such a fun Greek tradition! This vasilopita is infused with rosewater, cardamom, and pistachios. It’s light, and not too sweet and goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee.
The Vasilopita Lucky Coin
Traditionally, a special coin (usually gold or silver plated) is baked into the vasilopita. I never have any on hand so, I use a dime or a nickel that I wrap tightly in some aluminum foil. It works perfectly. If you’d like to purchase a decorative coin for your cake, you can buy one right here (amazon affiliate)
Whoever ends up with the slice of cake that has the lucky coin in it is considered lucky for the following year. A gift of money is also usually awarded to that person. This is a Greek tradition that is loads of fun. I usually bake 2 cakes: one for the adults and another for the children.
Flavor Combination Options
The combination of rose, pistachios, and cardamom pairs well and is aromatic and delicious. Definitely worth a try. Here are a few more delicious flavor options that you can substitute:
- Vanilla & Citrus: 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract plus the zest of an orange or a lemon
- Vanilla & Almond: 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract plus 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract with a half cup of finely ground blanched almonds
- Tsoureki Flavored: 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of ground mahlepi, the zest of an orange, a 1/2 teaspoon of ground mastic gum.
- Vasilopita Spiced Cake
- Vasilopita Fruit Cake: add candied or dried fruit to the batter along with 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
What are your favorite flavor combinations for this cake? Let me know in the comments section 🙂
How to Garnish the Vasilopita
Traditionally, lots of confectioner’s sugar is sifted over the top of this cake and then decorated with any Christmas/winter decorations. Stencils can also be used. Either lace stencils or stencils with the numbers for the following year can be placed on the cake and then powdered sugar can be sifted over top.
Sometimes a glaze is poured over the top of the cake like the one that I made for my Spiced Vasilopita Cake. You can find that recipe here.
My favorite way to decorate this cake is simply with powdered sugar. I found these candles at the supermarket and set them on top of the cake. How do you decorate your vasilopita?
What to do if you do not have a 10-inch round Baking Pan
This recipe fits a 10-inch by 3 inch deep cake pan perfectly but if you don’y have one on hand, you can still make this cake.
Fill an 8 or 9-inch cake pan 3/4 full and use the remaining batter to make cupcakes. If you’re making a smaller cake (such as a 6-inch cake) either make cupcakes with the remaining batter or place the remaining batter in a loaf pan. Either way, never fill your cake pans more than 3/4 full to prevent the cake from spilling into the oven during baking.
This cake freezes well so, allow it to cool completely and then wrap it in plastic wrap then freeze fro up to 2 months.
Watch the Video
I hope that you give this recipe a try and you let me know what you think. This is a fun tradition to start with your family.
I hope that the New Year will be filled with blessings! I’ll see you back here soon with another delicious recipe worth sharing. xxDimitra
Rose & Pistachio Vasilopita (Greek New Year's Cake)
Vasilopita cake is served at midnight on New Year's Eve. A lucky coin is baked into it and whoever ends up with the piece of cake with the coin in it is considered to have good luck for the entire year. Such a fun Greek tradition! This vasilopita is infused with rosewater, cardamom, and pistachios. It's light, and not too sweet and goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee.
The Wet Ingredients:
- 3/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons rosewater
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
The Dry Ingredients:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds or mastiha
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios
- a coin wrapped in foil
- confectioner's sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
Line a 10-inch cake pan with parchment paper and spray the inside with pan spray or brush with melted butter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and rosewater on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, pale, and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
Beat the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until smooth.
Add the yogurt and beat on high speed until incorporated.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and ground pistachios. Whisk together until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the mixer in a few batches until just incorporated.
Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. Insert the foil-wrapped coin into the batter.
Bake in the center rack of the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. It is ready when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with some crumbs attached.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release it from the pan and set it aside to cool completely.
Invert the cake onto a cake platter and remove the parchment paper. Flip the cake back around and dust with lots of confectioner's sugar.
Serve with tea or coffee. Enjoy!
Place a lace stencil over the cake and then dust the top with confectioner's sugar for an embroidered design.
Top the cake with the following year's numbers, fruit, or your favorite decorations.
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