Traditional Vasilopita Cake Recipe + Video

Vasilopita, which translates to Saint Basil’s pie, is a traditional New Year’s Day dessert. Every Vasilopita has a coin hidden inside; the family head cuts the pie into pieces, and whoever discovers the coin is considered to have a prosperous year ahead of them. This practise stems from the legend that citizens of Cappadocia gathered money and jewellery to pay a tax to the region’s oppressive prefect. Saint Basil was able to persuade the prefect to relieve the locals from having to hand over their valuables. Because they didn’t know how to return the items to their respective owners, the villagers took Saint Basil’s suggestion and baked little pies. The jewellery and money were then miraculously placed into the pies, and each person received their personal valuables. 

The Greek New Year’s Cake is full of wonderful aromas from the oranges and mastiha, so soft and moist from the butter and the yogurt. Don’t forget to wrap a coin with some foil and hide it inside the cake. The person that discovers the coin will have luck for the whole year ahead!


– 220gr / 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
– 2 cups / 260gr powdered sugar
– 4 eggs
– 2 orange zest
– 3 cups / 400gr self-raising flour
– 1 teaspoon of baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon (1.5gr) mastiha
– 1 cup / 200gr greek yogurt
– 1 tablespoon of sugar

Many may be thinking, what is mastiha and where can I find this?

Mastiha is a resin coming from the mastic tree that mainly grows on the Greek island of Chios. It was used in ancient Greece as a medicine for digestion and colds, and also as a breath freshener. Today, if you travel to Greece, you will find many shops that sell products using mastiha as a key ingredient. It’s used for beauty products, cooking and baking, alcohol and chewing gums.

Outside of Greece, you can buy mastiha online in North America at Greek Food Shop

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