Greek New Year’s Cake Made with Olive Oil -Vasilopita-


I usually make my mom’s recipe for Vasilopita New Year’s Day (or Eve). In case you are not familiar with this tradition, Greeks make a cake with a coin hidden in it, that is cut on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve. Each person present is provided a piece, and he or she that has the coin in their piece is promised good luck for the rest of the year. You can check this post for another Vasilopita recipe and a little bit more about the tradition.

This year I wanted to make a lemon flavored Vasilopita (instead of orange) with olive oil instead of butter. I was inspired by this recipe from a Greek flour company, which requires egg whites added in separately giving it a light texture. I also used yogurt in place of some of the fat and was able to reduce some of the olive oil. This recipe here also gave me the idea of using ground almond, and having just come back from Belgium where they use plenty of almond powder, I thought I would use it here.

So here we have a recipe that has much less saturated fat than your typical vasilopita, a bit more protein due to the almond powder and eggs plus a nice lemony touch.

Happy New Year!

Greek New Year’s Cake Made with Olive Oil -Vasilopita-

Greek New Year’s Cake Made with Olive Oil -Vasilopita-


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons hard flour (bread flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs yolks and whites separated
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cognac (brandy)
  • 3 ½ ounces low fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 ½ ounces almond powder (ground almond)


  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, zest and sugar. Once combined add the yogurt and mix well. Then add the vanilla and cognac and mix.
  4. In a small bowl mix the egg yolks with the lemon juice and add to the olive oil mix. Once blended add the almond powder and mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture, stirring until flour has blended in, do not overmix (I did this with a wooden spoon).
  6. Beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Fold in the batter.
  7. Line the base of an 8 inch pan (20 cm) with wax paper (I use a springform pan). Grease the whole pan and sprinkle with flour.
  8. Pour the batter in the pan (it will be thick).
  9. Bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes. The top of the cake will brown (don’t worry about it). Check with a toothpick for doneness.
  10. Remove from oven and let it cool. Remove from pan. And let it cool. Turn upside down and push your coin in the cake (wrap in foil first).
  11. Turn right side up. Once completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add any designs you like on top.

Photo by Elena Paravantes

18 comments for “Greek New Year’s Cake Made with Olive Oil -Vasilopita-

  1. December 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    This looks awesome! Will have to try it out sometime soon :-)Happy new year!

    • Elena Paravantes RD
      December 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks! Happy New Year to you too!

  2. January 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Καλή χρονιά Ελενα, με υγεία κι ευτυχία. Οτι καλύτερο εύχομαι.

    Πολύ ωραία βασιλόπιτα. Απο τα υλικά φαίνεται πως είναι αφράτη.


    • Elena Paravantes RD
      January 6, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Ευχαριστώ Marion,
      Καλή Χρονιά!

  3. Sian
    January 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    There is no mention of the ground almonds in the method – where are they meant to go? In with the flour?

    • Elena Paravantes RD
      January 6, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Hi Sian,
      Thanks for pointing that out. It is corrected now. You add it to the eggs.

  4. Andrew
    December 31, 2014 at 12:25 am

    What is “hard flour”?

    • Elena Paravantes RD
      December 31, 2014 at 6:30 am

      Hi Andrew, Hard flour is bread flour.

  5. December 31, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Hello Elena,
    are you sure this recipe calls for just 1 c. flour…? Does not sound right…

    • Elena Paravantes RD
      December 31, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Hi Mary,
      Yes it is correct, it is 1 cup hard (bread flour). However, please note this recipe is for a fairly medium to small vasilopita (8 inch cake).

  6. Diana
    January 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Elena, I made this Vasilopita and it’s absolutely fantastic! I love how light but flavorful it is! I did make a few small tweaks… I didn’t have ground almonds so I substituted the same weight of spelt flour. I also wanted the mastica / mahlepi / orange flavors going on, so I skipped the lemon and used orange instead, then added 1/4 tsp ground mastiha and 1 1/2 tsp mahlepi seeds, which I ground with the sugar in the food processor. I also decreased the sugar by 1/4 cup. It was wonderful and proof that I think this cake could be the base recipe for many different flavors… Thank you for the inspiration and Καλή Χρόνια!

    • Diana
      January 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Oops one more thing, I just used all purpose flour, not bread flour

      • Anonymous
        December 31, 2015 at 11:42 pm

        Diana, did you use a total of 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour?

      • Dee
        December 31, 2015 at 11:44 pm

        Diana, did you use a total of 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour?

    • Elena Paravantes RD
      January 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for sharing Diana! Happy New Year

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