RECIPE: Vasilopita with Chocolate Ganache from Sweet Greek’s Kathy Tsaples

Try this special recipe for a vasilopita with a chocolate twist. It's sure to be a crowd favourite with your guests

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, which means it is almost vasilopita time.

Kathy Tsaples, founder of Sweet Greek, has generously shared a particularly special vasilopita recipe with a chocolate twist. It’s sure to be a crowd favourite with your guests.

Give it a go, and let us know what you think.

Prep 45 minutes Cook 1 hour
Serves 10–12


250 g combination of dried figs, dates and prunes, chopped
200 mL cognac
250 g unsalted butter
250 g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 × 800 g eggs
1 tsp baking powder
350 g whole almond meal (skin on)
200 g hazelnut meal
a coin wrapped in foil

Olive oil ganache
130 ml pouring cream
25 g caster sugar
200 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
½ tsp instant coffee granules
40 g Greek extra virgin olive oil

Edible gold leaf
Edible silver balls

Start this recipe a day ahead.

1. Place the dried fruit and cognac in a bowl to soak overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
3. To make the cake, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment of an electric stand mixer. Add the spices and vanilla extract, and beat to a light, fluffy, creamy texture.
4. Pulse the dried fruits with the cognac in a food processor a few times — they don’t need to be puréed. Add this to the butter mixture. Beat to combine. Continue beating and add the eggs, one at a time.
5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, sprinkle the baking powder over the top and gently fold it in, along with the almond and hazelnut meal.
6. Butter and flour a 30-centimetre round baking tin and pour the mixture in. Place a coin, wrapped in foil, strategically in the cake — the person who finds the coin is the lucky person for the year.
7. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a metal skewer comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven, allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, covered with a tea towel, before transferring it to a wire rack.
9. To make the ganache, heat the cream with the sugar until small bubbles start to appear. Place the chocolate and the coffee into a small stainless steel bowl and pour the heated cream over it, and leave it to melt for a few minutes. Stir the olive oil into the chocolate mixture to form a smooth and glossy ganache.
10. Place the cake rack on a tray and ladle the ganache over the cake, ensuring the sides are completely covered. Decorate with gold leaf and silver balls.

* For more delicious recipes by Kathy Tsaples, see her cookbooks ‘Sweet Greek’ and ‘Sweet Greek Life’.