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Vassilopitta – St. Basil's Cake (Greek)

The Greeks eat Vassilopitta, a cake in which a gold coin has been baked. The cake is served in a sequence, the first piece is set aside for St. Basil, a founder of the Greek Church, the second for the home, and the remaining is distributed amongst family members, from oldest to youngest. Whoever finds the coin in their serving of cake will have a lucky year.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk, heated 20 seconds in microwave
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup white sugar


Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add flour and mix. Add eggs one by one, mixing after each egg is added.

Add baking powder to the warm milk and then add to flour mixture, blending well.

In the same container the milk was in, mix the baking soda and lemon juice, add to flour mixture and stir well.

Pour cake batter into a greased 10" round pan and bake in preheated 350° F for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle nuts and sugar on top of cake, and bake for approximately 30 minutes more, until cake is done.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve cake warm.

According to Greek tradition you should cut a hole in the bottom of the cake (while cooling it) and add a foil-wrapped coin in the hole. Slice cake and serve, ensuring everyone knows there is a coin in one piece so that they don't bite on it.

Yield: 1 cake

Contributor: Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal

click to see Rushina's entire New Year menu

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