Greek New Year's Cake - Vassilopita efkoli Recipe
Greek New Year's Cake - Vassilopita efkoli
Flavors of Greece
Total time: 1hr to 2hr

Prep. time: Under 30 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note
Who will see the new year under the auspices of gold and silver?
The St. Basil cake is traditionally placed in the centre of the table. It always contains a piece of gold. The honour of cutting the cake falls to the father of the family at the stroke of midnight, dedicating the first piece to Jesus, the second to the church.

Then come pieces for absent loved ones; finally it is the turn of those gathered, family and friends, to receive their share, beginning with the oldest person. Even the baby in the cradle must have his share of the symbolic cake.

- Zest of 1 lemon (or 1 orange in the Smyrna version)
- 1 tsp. aniseed (leave out for the Smyrna version)
- Icing sugar
- 400 g (14 oz., about 4 cups) sifted flour
- 6 tsp. baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 200 g (7 oz.) butter
- 400 g (14 oz.) sugar
- 4 eggs
- 75 ml (5 tbsp.) milk (use 4 tbsp. milk or orange juice for the Smyrna version)
  1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together;
  2. cream the butter and gradually beat in the eggs, milk and the flour mixture until the batter is very smooth; add the lemon zest;
  3. grease a round 30 cm (12") cake pan and line with parchment paper or brown paper that has been greased on both sides;
  4. pour the batter into the pan and stick in a gold or silver coin;
  5. bake in a preheated 180° C (350° F) oven for about 40 minutes;
  6. remove from the oven, let cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Port wine

In Smyrna
Greek New Year's Cake - Vassilopita efkoli 1

The year starts out under the protection of the Byzantine eagle. Instead of hiding a coin in step 4, the image of the eagle is stamped on the cake, using 2 cloves to make the eyes.

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