New Year's Day Cake Vassilopita

Photo courtesy of

Coming from a Greek and Italian background our holiday celebrations always centered around food. One Greek tradition that I vividly remember is the New Year’s Day good luck cake which in Greek is called Vassilopita. There are various forms of this pastry but I wanted to share with you my Mom’s recipe. The New Year’s Day cake or bread would be baked with a coin inside the batter. Usually a dime though it could be a quarter. On New Year’s Day morning the family would sit around the table and each family member, old to young, would be given a piece of the cake. The person that found the coin in the cake was to have good luck throughout the year. I think I received maybe 6 coins my entire life although I have to say I’ve been pretty lucky. I did not have a photo of the cake so I searched the internet and found the above photo which shows the cake and the coin. In any case I wanted to share with all of you my Mom’s recipe for the cake.

3 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lb. sweet butter
1 cup sugar
6 eggs well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbls. honey
1 cup flour
1 cup farina (cream of wheat)
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
3 tsp. baking powder
Dime or Quarter.

Bring the water to a boil in saucepan. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in lemon juice then remove from heat. Cool at room temperature. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl, Add sugar. Cream 5 minutes longer. Beat in eggs, vanilla, honey and walnuts. Add flour, farina, the dime or quarter ( make sure to boil the coin before adding) and baking powder. Beat until smooth. Pour into a buttered 9 x13 x2 baking pan. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and glaze top with honey. Let it set 1 hour before serving.



Jupiter Family said…
Happy New Year !!!

2010 New Year's Fireworks show
Margie and Edna said…
Margie: Well, it's not black-eyed peas and cornbread but I suppose I can try it. Actually, I'll bake one for Edna's homecoming and make sure she doesn't get the coin.
Ann said…
Sounds pretty good and what a cool tradition. Although, my weird brain has to wonder what it does for ones luck if they choke on the
Jupiter, thanks and Happy New Year.

Margie, or you can substitute the coin with a lump of coal and make sure she gets it :D

Ann, lol! I never thought of that. I'll have to google some stats on it :D
betchai said…
wow, what a very interesting and cool tradition Jo, I would have love it when I was a kid and would always be excited to have the coin :) thanks for sharing the recipe, i will give it a try and put a coin there as well, and hope i get the coin :)
Ratty said…
It looks like an excellent recipe, with or without the coin.
fullet said…
I absolutely like the idea of starting the year eating a piece of cake. :) Thank you for the recipe and have a happy new year!
rainfield61 said…
It is fun to learn about this tradition.

(You get the most means the others get very less... less luck.. LOL)
Icy BC said…
This sounds so delicious, and I must try..
*MrsMartinez* said…
This is something new to me... I follow chinese tradition. And we put the coins on top of a cake where everybody can see it hehe Maybe for safety reasons? lol
Happy New Year xoxo
betchai, I hope you do as well - it will bring good luck all year.

Ratty, :) it is so no need for a coin.

fullet, I do too. Whenever cake is involved, I love the idea. You have a fantastic New Year as well.

rainfiled, exactly, though all I care about is the cake :)

Icy, you would love it :)

Mrs. Martinez, yep that makes more sense to see the coin before you bite into the cake :) Have a wonderful new year.
C said…
Dear Joanne, at the dawn of this new horizon we have in front of us, I want to greet you and wish you all the beautiful things that your soul has to offer to you and to the world and I also wish for you all the blessings you desire, from up above!

May you have a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Now, I must say, I think you remember how much I love Greek food? And this tradition is tremendous! I love it! How wonderful for you!

You should have seen my Christmas Eve table! I am so proud of it! And Im going all out for my New Years Eve table!!!!! I have so much work to do in the next few hours!!!!!

Wish me much luck!!!!!

DK Miller said…
Mmm, that looks good! I'm gonna have to print this to try it out.

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