Orange-Brandy Cake (Vasilopita)

about 1.5 hours
about 60 min
Makes 1 large cake, about 30 slices

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 & 1/2 tbs orange zest
1/2 tbs lemon zest
6 eggs
3 & 1/2 tbs brandy
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup orange juice
3 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
icing sugar coconut shavings for topping (optional)

1.Preheat the oven to 176C. Grease and flour an 10 inch circular pan, line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar well. This will take around 10 minutes on a high setting. The mixture has to change to a very pale yellow colour.

3.  Add all the eggs, one egg at a time, ensuring that it has been incorporated into the batter before adding the next egg.

4. Add the brandy and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the orange and lemon zests. Don’t worry if your batter begins to curdle at this stage.

5. Stir the baking powder and flour together.

6. Next add the orange juice and flour, alternating with small amounts of each as you add these ingredients, starting and ending with flour.

7. Pour the batter into the pan. If adding a coin into the cake, tightly wrap the coin in plastic wrap, and drop it into the batter. Ensure the top of the batter is smooth so that it is not obvious where the coin has been dropped.

8. Place in the oven for 60 minutes. Test the center of the cake with a toothpick after 60 minutes to ensure it is cooked. Remove and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

9. If you wish, dust icing sugar and coconut flakes on top before serving.

Thank you 2013. Goodbye 2013. You were a wonderful year. I took a photography course. Started my food blog. And met a guy. So all in all, I liked 2013. In a few days 2014 will start. I wonder what is around the corner. If you had asked me 5 years ago where I would be in 2013 I doubt I would have said: I will have quit my lawyer job in London, moved to Cyprus – a country I have only ever visited on holiday, and be learning how to make traditional Cypriot foods and writing about it. Or that I would have a little (fat) pug called Ernie who snorts and begs for food non-stop. But that’s life I suppose.

As for the website, I am so, so thankful to all who have taken an interest. Really, truly thankful. It’s so nice to be able to share something I love to do with you. I really mean it and I don’t know how else to express it except by saying thank-you and baking sweet goodies so that we can enjoy them together via the internet. It’s only been a few months, but the facebook page has just reached “2000 “likes” – which is a huge milestone. Really, I extend a HUGE thank-you to all. Thank you to those reading in Cyprus, Greece, and all over the world.  And thank you to Cypriot & Proud, Toutoukki Niouz, Foodgawker and Tastespotting for all featuring Afrodite’s Kitchen. OK, so now to the recipe. In Cyprus, when the “New Year” arrives, it is tradition to cut a cake with a coin hidden inside. This cake is called a “vasilopita” and it is said that the person who finds the coin will have good luck for the rest of the year.

It is a nice tradition and often results in family members wanting large pieces of cake. OK, only some. There are a variety of ways to prepare a “vasilopita” and my favourite is to make a sweet-style orange-brandy cake. So that is what you will find below. I think you could substitute the brandy with bourbon if you wanted. Because “that bourbon is so hot right now”. (That’s a “Zoolander” reference in case anyone thinks I am crazy.)  I took it to a boxing-day Christmas dinner the other day and those there had seconds so the recipe is a keeper. Anyway, I wish all of you reading a very happy New Year and good luck in finding the coin! Much love to you all, and see you in the New Year with some healthy recipes!


  1. Happy new year to you and your family! Καλή Χρονιά! I love your version of Vasilopita. In my family (I’m Greek from Athens) we make the Politiki Vasilopita which is like a tsoureki. I’m glad to have found you through instagram and love all the delicious Greek-Cypriot recipes you post here.

    1. Hi Magda, so happy you stopped by and left a comment! Happy New year and nice to meet you – I was really happy to connect with you on Instagram. I love your website – it’s an inspiration to me! I’m a Canadian-Cypriot and have been living in Cyprus for the past couple years. Your family’s version of vasilopita sounds really yummy – I love tsoureki. A lot. I always like finding out about Greek and Cypriot recipes – I am always curious to know what the differences (if any) are! Looking forward to staying in touch. Καλή Χρονιά xx

  2. Hi Christina! A fellow Canadian-Cypriot stopping by to say that I’ve enjoyed visiting your site. My family has enjoyed following your vasilopita recipe the past couple of years. Overall, your site is pretty awesome (featured recipes, photography, good read). Happy New Year and all the best to you in 2016!

    1. Hi Nick, thanks! It’s so wonderful to read your lovely words! I am happy to hear that you enjoy the vasilopita recipe – we literally just took ours out of the oven! And nice to meet another Canadian-Cypriot! 🙂 Happy New Year and all the best to you and your family too in 2016!! <3

  3. I made your vasilopita today – well, yesterday, on the 1st – and oh, the smell! I think I overcooked it a little, as it dried out a touch, but that’s entirely my fault for getting distracted.
    Thank you for posting the recipe!

  4. Hello from Toronto, Canada.

    I made the vasilopita on Dec 31st, it was really moist, very light, as opposed to the heavier versions of vasilopita (bread like). I love the orange and lemon zests. This is my go to vasilopita recipe from now on!
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Happy New Year from Canada!

    I’ve been making your beautiful Vasilopita for the last 2 years and it is always a crowd pleaser. I’m curious to try it with cake flour. Would you recommend it or do you think it’s best I stick with all purpose flour?
    Thank you:)

  6. I have tried in vain to find the recipe for a gorgeous orange and walnut cake with a glossy syrupy topping.On my till receipt from Papantoniou in Paphos it states it is ‘Atomiko Siropias’ Can you help please. I would so love to make this beautiful cake.Thank you Yvonne from Kissonerga Cyprus.

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Cyprus Cuisine

“Cyprus Cuisine”, published by Whitecap Books in 2021, is now available for purchase. Christina Loucas shares over 80 recipes that showcase the very best of Cypriot cooking.

Cyprus Cuisine