Greek New Year’s Cake Vasilopita

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Greek New Year’s Cake Vasilopita

Happy New Year!

My aunt Liza made this delightful light cake for her Greek New Year’s Day celebration every year. It had a wonderful orange aroma from the orange zest of one orange. It’s not a sweet cake but has just the right amount of flavor, once the powdered sugar is added to the top. I would not serve this cake without the powdered sugar dusting. With an orange peel scent and a dusting of powder sugar this cake is irresistible! Many cultures have a cake similar to this with the addition of a toy object hidden inside. We place a coin, may it be a small token or a gold piece, this symbolizes good luck throughout the year if you have selected the special slice.

You may also enjoy the Greek New Year Bread version of this traditional baked good for the holidays.  It’s my mother-in-laws New Year’s Eve bread recipe , which takes hours to make and bake but it makes four to five loaves to pass out to your family members. It also has the coin added to the dough and the added date on the bread for your celebration.

Note: If an oven is too hot, it can cause the cake to rise too rapidly and thus, it will sink in the remainder of the baking process. Always check your oven’s temperature, it will vary oven to oven.




Vasilopita New Year's Day Cake

Using pantry staples this Greek New Year's bread is buttery delicious - and don't forget to place the coin inside for the traditional good-luck coin.
Course New Year's Bread
Cuisine Greek
Keyword bread, new year, redeggs, vasilopita
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1/2 pound butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Butter the bottom and sides of a 12x3 - inch round cake pan.
  2. ( Wilton makes a round cake pan )
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Melt the butter and beat on medium high with the mixer until light in color. Set aside.
  5. Beat eggs until light in color for about 3-4 minutes .
  6. Add sugar and continuing beating until fluffy another 3-4 minutes..
  7. On medium low speed add milk, baking powder, orange zest to eggs.
  8. On low speed add flour and cooled butter alternately to batter.
  9. Do not over beat.
  10. Place wrapped coin in the bottom of the pan. (I wrap my coin with wax paper)
  11. Pour batter into baking pan.
  12. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees, for 30 -35 minutes until lightly brown.
  13. Test with a toothpick for doneness.
  14. Let cool.
  15. Place cooking rack or plate on top and flip over. Flip once more so top is face up.
  16. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Recipe Notes

If you change the size of the pan, add more time if the pan is smaller than in the recipe. Or less time if the pan is larger. Use a toothpick to help determine if it's done.

The coin is optional, but traditional for New Year’s. Don’t forget to wrap the coin it in wax paper or parchment paper before adding it to the baking pan.

I just love showing our original family recipe.

And don’t forget the coin! It happened to me many times…yikes!

Happy New Year to you and your Family!







© 2010 – 2024, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Banana Wonder

Great vasilopita! Xronia Polla!

2 Sylvia Metos

Xponia Polla! I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s celebration! Yia sou!

Sylvia Metos

3 Bekki

Kali Xronia Mary, Mike and family! Hope your holidays were GRAND!!

4 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Thank-you Sylvia! Kali Xronia to you and your family! xoxo Mary

5 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Bekki, Have a wonderful New year and may your family be blessed with all the New Year has to offer!
xoxo Mary

6 Tzinaki

Made this for my daughter’s New Year’s Eve Party>>>>Nothing but raves!!!! very easy thank you!

7 Mary Papoulias-Platis

I’m so happy to hear how simple it was! Happy New Year and thanks for the comment.
Kali Chronia!

8 Sandra Vanderbrug

I am married to a Greek man and this past year his mother, who usually baked the New Year’s Cake, sadly passed away. I am taking up the challenge and giving your recipe a try. I love my husband’s Thea Fanny, so you sold me at the title of the name!

9 George Magalios

Thanks for this. I am going to try it today. Happy New Year, Xronia Polla!
George Magalios

10 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Happy New Year George! Don’t forget the coin!

11 Darcy Patsalos

I am going to try this vasilopita and I hope it will turn out alright. My mum passed away in May this year and she use to make the vasilopita and now I will make it. I cant seem to find her recipe so I am going to make yours.

Happy New Year all the way from Adelaide, South Australia

12 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Darcy,
This recipe is so easy and gratifying! My mother and aunt made it every year, and they have passed as well. I think of them every time I bake it. I hope your memories of your mother also bring you happiness throughout the year. Happy New Year, Mary

13 Caroline

I am on it!!!!

14 Mary Papoulias-Platis

I just baked mine for today’s dinner…I hope you enjoy it!

15 Alethia

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been making it since 2012.

This year, I baked several and shared them with my coworkers. I am so grateful to share our tradition with staff, friends and family.

16 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Thank you Alethia! What a nice gift to share! I’ll have to remember this for next year. We have such a big family, I make them for each family to take home.

17 Mary Stivastis

i am thinking of trying this recipe but am wondering about the amount of baking powder. Is 6 teaspoons correct?

18 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Mary,
Yes, that’s the correct amount. No worries, I have made this several times and it turns out beautifully.
Let me know how you did?

19 Dianne

I wish I had seen this recipe earlier today. I just finished dusting the icing sugar on the one I made earlier this evening.
This sounds like it will be a nice light cake.
It was my first time making Vasilopita today, the recipe I followed had larger quantity of ingredients, so think it will turn out more dense.

I just book marked your recipe to try another time.

Happy New Year from Adelaide Australia

20 Helen Kouloumbas

Tried to make this today but baking for 30 minutes didn’t seem like long enough. Was still raw inside. Hope it turns out!

21 Christina

I followed the directions but my batter was very thick. I baked it, but had to do it longer I’m guessing because of the pan I chose. It’s cooling now. The batter tasted yummy, so I’m guessing the cake will too.

22 Christina

I just inverted it and it collapsed in the middle. A tester came out clean so we will see once it is cut after dinner.

23 Deborah Guenther-Alexiou

I am anxious to try a new Vasilopita recipe… I am back in the USA after 28 years in Greece and trying to keep some precious traditions alive. Wish me luck. Xronia polla!!!!!!

24 Mary Papoulias-Platis

This recipe has been my go-to for years. But, I have never won the coin! Enjoy!

25 Mary Papoulias-Platis

I always pray when I flip it over. I hope it survived. Please let me know.

26 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Helen,
Baking times vary from oven to oven. Your oven may take 45 minutes, please don’t give up . This is a reliable recipe. Also, when baking placing the bread in the middle of the oven helps with the even cooking. Make sure you have the right size pan, or adjust the baking time. Good Luck!

27 Theodora

Best Vasilopita recipe. Turns out perfectly. We loved it.

28 Marylouise Lambert

Thank you. We’re on the Old Calendar, so I made it yesterday for St Basil Feast today. Was well liked, with requests for the recipe. I used two 8″ cake pans. I weighed them to be sure they were equal. The batter was very think. I wet my hands to smooth out the top of the cakes. They baked closer to 45 minutes. I was going to cover them with foil if they weren’t done- by toothpick test- by then. Wasn’t necessary. I have several oven thermometers in my oven because it runs about 15 degrees above the setting. I also used the zest from two oranges. I think it could have used more, but that was adequate.

29 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Thank you Theodora for trying out this recipe. Happy New Year!

30 Mary Papoulias-Platis

It’s interesting how weather may have a different result on this recipe. The butter can seize up when its cold and cause a thicker batter.Similar to baking bread. I like the fact you use thermometers with your ovens. This is so very important in the cooking process, especially baking. Thank you for trying this recipe. Best to you, Mary

31 Maria

Hi there,
I am making this recipe right now and I am confused as to how long it will take the melted butter to get light in color after whipping.

32 Mary Lazarakis

Thank you Mary for a beautiful delicious recipe! Happy New Year!

33 Donna Spronk

Cake sunk in the middle
Was baked on the edges and browning, almost too much
What did i do wrong?

34 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Donna,
As you know baking is a science. Here are a few tips; place your cake in the bottom third of your oven.It helps in even cooking. Did you have room temperature butter? That helps in lifting the batter. Did you use the same size pan? I divide the batter in half, for two 8-inch pans. All that helps to make it perfect.
Try again, everyone tells me how much they like this recipe.

35 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Maria,
I just saw this so sorry for my late response. The color will change to a light yellow, around 15 minutes. If you start with softened butter it will whip up faster!

36 Patty

Hi Mary, just discovered you. Looking forward to trying all your recipes. Asking about your Thea’s vasilopita recipe. It stated 6 tsp baking powder. Is that correct? Seems like a lot. Just wanted to verify the amount to make sure it’s not a typo.
Really want to try it.

37 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Yes Patty, that’s correct.
It’s a 12-inch cake so it’s quite large. It makes the cake light and moist. The 12-inch pan is from Wilton. It can be purchased at Michael’s stores or online.
Happy New Year,

38 Rose

This is a Fun and Easy Vasilopita Cake to Make! I made it with my son and it turned out great! Thank You!

39 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Happy New Year to you and your family!

40 Kathy Rodgers

Mary – Going to make your recipe – have you ever substituted olive oil or half & half butter and olive oil in this cake? Would it work, or does it need to be butter?

41 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Kathy,
I haven’t changed the original recipe. But, I will try it with olive oil, it should be fine. Normally, it’s 3/4 oil to one cup butter. Let me know how your version comes out.
Best, Mary

42 Marina V.

I have used your vasilopita recipe several times and it always comes out perfect! My family loves it! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us!

43 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hello Marina! Happy New Year to you and your family! Thank you for your kind comment!

44 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Maria,
A light yellow shade should take 8-10 minutes.
Let me know how it turns out.

45 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Happy New Year Deborah!
Try and make the recipe in the right size pan and use a toothpick to test if it’s done. Clean with few crumbs.

46 Tess Skudlark

This recipe was perfection!

47 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Tess, I’m so happy you enjoyed the cake.

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