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Lemon Buttercream Vassilopita

Vassilopita new year's cake


Vassilopita is our traditional New Year’s cake which is also made as a Sweet Brioche Bread, called Tsoureki”

There are many ways to make this cake, so you can learn all about the tradition behind the cake and another recipe in my last year’s post for a different Vassilopita.

The traditional recipe is usually an orange flavoured cake with almonds and icing sugar sprinkled on top, in which a coin is inserted for good luck.

Vassilopita cut


The above pictures are from my cookbook.  I am sharing an alternative cake I made with lemon flavour.

Lemon Buttercream Vassilopita


  • 260 grams (about 2 cups) cake flour or use all purpose flour (minus 4 tbsp) plus 4 tbsp corn flour, sifted*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 250 grams (about 2 sticks+) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225 (about 1+ cup) grams icing sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 coin, wrapped in aluminium paper
  • Icing sugar and lemon buttercream for decoration (optional)

*To make 1 cup cake flour:  In a measuring cup add  two tablespoons corn flour (starch) and fill it with all purpose flour. Sift the two kinds of flour into a sifter set over a bowl before using, a few times so that they are well combined.  Use it in any recipe using cake flour.


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C 350 degrees F and place the rack inthe centre of the oven. Line a 35 cm (10 inch) diametre baking tin with parchment paper and butter or spray the sides.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, corn flour, baking powder and mix in salt, vanilla sugar and lemon zest.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter with sugar until creamy and smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. After about five minutes the batter should be light in color and fluffy in texture.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. You will notice that the batter will look curdled. Don’t worry as the batter will come together again after you add the flour mixture.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Wash and wrap the coin and drop it in the cake.
  7. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely.
  9. Using a stencil, sift some icing sugar on top.

For the lemon buttercream:

  • 60 grams butter, softened
  • 1 tsp  lemon flavoured vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 120 grams icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Put all the buttercream ingredients into a bowl and beat together with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. When the cake has cooled, spread the filling on top and decorate as you like.

lemon buttercream vassilopita

Update for Vassilopita 2014:

I used the above basic recipe and flavoured it with orange

Orange Flavoured Vassilopita

Baking time:  about 1 hour


  • 250 unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225 grams sugar
  • 200 ml orange juice
  • 100 ml milk
  • 30 ml orange liqueur or Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 400 grams cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 120 grams almonds with skin on, powdered
  • 4 large eggs, (about 65 grams each) at room temperature, separated
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt

For red sugar icing (optional):

  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons blossom water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • A few drops of red colour

The directions to make the cake are similar as the above.  As I used a hand mixer,  I whisked the egg whites with lemon juice and a pinch of salt, separately into a meringue.

The dry ingredients were sifted together.

I then whisked the butter with sugar until fluffy and added the yolks one by one.  I added the remaining wet ingredients and turned off the mixer.  I then used a spatula and gradually incorporated the flour mixture with meringue, alternating until all was added.

Here’s the remaining:

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Remove the cake from the pan and place on a platter.  Sprinkle with some icing sugar on a stencil.

Put the remaining icing sugar in a bowl, add lemon juice and colour.  Mix and add enough blossom water to make a thick paste.  Add more sugar if needed.

Put it in a piping bag and pipe out the design you like.


My best wishes to all of you for a

Blessed New Year

Above recipes are adapted from my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” or in Volume 2 of my e-cookbook.


Other relevant recipes:

Vassilopita (Greek Traditional New Year’s Cake):

Vassilopital Tsoureki

Almod Vassilopita

Almond Vassilopita 2  

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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15 Responses

  1. Very nice Vasilopita Ivy! Who found the coin? My wife found it in ours. 🙂 Καλή Χρονιά!!!

  2. May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!

    Happy New year Sis. It has been a pleasure to follow your blog for the past year, to get to know you and share so many delicious and tasty dishes. Eutichismenos o kainourgios chronos!!!!

  3. A delightful cake! It looks really delicious!



  4. Your cake looks so good and I love the way you decorated it. With the orange juice and brandy, I’ll bet it was moist and tasty. 🙂

  5. Wowww wat a gorgeous Cake!!!! Happy 2009 to u n ur family…

  6. Great looking vasilopita. Ivy. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  7. I loved the story of the coin! Were you the ‘lucky’ one this year? The bread looks delicious! Happy New Year!

  8. vij

    Soft n moist! looks so tempting ivy! Gr8 baking again. 🙂

  9. Ivy

    Happy New Year to all of you. My husband was the lucky one this year.

  10. giz

    This is exactly the type of cake I love – not loaded with creams and icings and even has money in it. Can it get any better :).

  11. Loving this cake Ivy. Happy New Year!

  12. Ivy, again Xponia Polla and that’s a big Vassilopita! I prefer the pound cake version like yours here…it’s actually edible after the cutting of the cake.

  13. Happy New Year, Ivy! What a great cake to ring in 2009! I like the powdered sugar year on top! 🙂

  14. A beautiful recipe for vassilopita! I’m Greek-Cypriot-Canadian myself and I was really happy to find your site! Happy New Year!

  15. Paras

    Hi there,

    I am Paras from Melbourne Australia, and just by chance I got onto your site.

    I am a chef and it is great to see all the traditional recipes on line. It is up to our generation to keep the culture alive.

    I have been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, and Greek food is under estimated by many people, only recently it has come back in vogue..fashion

    One question do you have a recipe for Halva Farsalo,(the baked one) I had a friend that made the topping with goats fat..(he passed away not sharing their fantastic recipe…what a waste of knowledge)
    they usually make it up the Northern part of Greece. I am from the Pelloponiso we only make the semolina one on the stove.

    I would be very grateful if you could email me a recipe.

    Keep up the fantastic work.
    Bravo sas!!