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  • The Chopping Blog

Ring in the New Year Greek Style

Erin P
Posted by Erin P on Dec 11, 2015

Growing up there were a lot of different things I loved about the New Year holiday. As a child, it was watching the ball drop and banging pots and pans in the street at the stroke of midnight. As a young chef, it was all about hustle and flow of a busy night on the line with champagne toasts (so many toasts!) to celebrate another successful service. Now, as a mom, my favorite holiday moments are those that encourage us to slow down a bit, step away from the travel plans and to-do lists, and bring the whole family together for a quiet-ish moment. For our family, one of these moments is when we gather together to cut the vasilopita, the traditional Greek New Year's cake.

Teddy Cake
For anyone familiar with Mardi Gras traditions, the vasilopita will seem somewhat familiar. It is cake or sweet bread baked with a coin inside. When the cake is cut, a slice is made for each member of the family and one for the "house" as a whole. The slice with the coin side is said to bless that person with luck for the coming year. Everyone wants the coin and my mother-in-law makes a great ceremony of carefully dividing the cake and marking each person's initial in the top to discourage any shenanigans. By the end, we're covered in powdered sugar ready for another year of family craziness.

teddy sugar face


2 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs, separated
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
One orange, juiced and zested
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar, for dusting

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.

Beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed and until very light and fluffy.

mixerAdd melted butter and continue to beat on high for 2 more minutes.

Add orange juice and zest along with the optional brandy.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.


Fold half of the egg whites into the batter, followed by half of the flour mixture. Continue with the second half of the whites and the second half of the flour.

flour in doughdough incorporatedTransfer the batter to a buttered 10" springform pan (don't forget to add the coin!) and bake at 350 until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (~ 40-45 min)

dough coincake
Cool the cake to room temperature, dust with powdered sugar, and say Καλή Χρόνια! 

cake 2016

If you would like to ring the new year in with us here at The Chopping Block, we have just a few spots left open in these cooking classes:

Editor's note: Erin's family tradition of Vasilopita was also recently featured in Mommy Nearest's Notable Chicago Parents Share their Favorite Holiday Traditions.


Topics: new year, Recipes, Greek

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