Vasilopita (St. Basil’s Bread) or New Year’s Cake is a tradition for the Orthodox Church here in Greece. It can be a loaf of sweet bread, cake or a pie. A coin is baked in the dough. On New Year’s Day, after the family dinner, the cake is traditionally cut by the senior male member of the family, and the person who receives the portion of the Cake which contains the coin is considered blessed for the New Year.
Each portion of the Cake is distributed as follows: The first portion is cut for Jesus Christ. The second is for The Virgin Mary. The third is for St. Basil the Great and the forth for the house. The other portions are cut for the members of the family beginning with the eldest.
If you are interested, you can read more about the Vasilopita and its history here.
Since I went vegan 5 years ago, it became a tradition for me to bake the Vasilopita every year. Not just for our house, but pretty much for everyone in the family. For my mom, my aunts, friends etc. This is a really tasty cake and you can make it any time during the year – just don’t write the year on it. It’s great with a morning coffee or a cup of tea.
1/2 cup vegan margarine (1oo grams)
1 cup sugar
2 cups coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 1/4 cup of water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
2 Tbsp corn flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1 cup ground walnuts
Mix the coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix the ground flax seeds with the water and set aside until it forms a gel. In a mixing bowl sift the flour, corn flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix with a fork. In a big mixing bowl place the margarine and the sugar and use a hand mixer to mix them until the margarine becomes fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla extract, flax seeds mixture and a little bit of the coconut milk and blend. Start adding the flour mixture and the coconut milk, 1/2 cup at the time and mix with the hand mixer in low/medium. Once you have added all the milk and flour add the ground walnuts. Use a fork to distribute the walnuts all over the dough. Do not forget at this stage to slip a coin (covered in tinfoil) in the cake dough. Grease and flour a baking pan, pour the dough in it and bake in preheated oven at 180 for about 40 minutes, until the cake is ready. Let it cool before removing from the pan. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and write the year on it.