I hope you enjoyed the Christmas celebrations, I definitely did, that’s why I have been so quiet: too busy relaxing with my favourite people and stuffing my face with melomakarona and kourabiedes. Non-stop chatter with friends and family somehow makes you forget to pull out a camera or write down a recipe.
I am really excited about this one though: it’s New Year’s cake! We call it Vasilopita, after St Basil, our Santa Claus who actually visits on the first day of the year. It is not just another dessert, it’s the centrepiece of the evening. No matter how much we love Christmas, our New Year celebrations come with a bit more glam and lots more partying. Vasilopita is the start of it.
Not just a cake, a cake filled with anticipation for the New Year and a hidden coin! The cake is traditionally cut by the head of the family and a piece is allocated to all. The lucky slice with a coin will guarantee its happy muncher a very satisfied tummy, a little present and good fortune for the year ahead.
I remember very fondly my childhood years due to this little coin. Waiting to cut the cake, running around all day long among a cluttered kitchen filled with baking smells. and remembering the coin mysteriously disappearing into freshly made dough. Who would find it? Luckily my uncle was considerate enough to hide one in every piece, so there was no sulking on the day! Even when I realised the trick, it made no difference whatsoever, who can say no to a little surprise?
So coin or not, the cake is delicious and here is what you will need:
- 500 gr of flour
- 350 gr sugar
- 150 gr ground almonds
- 200 gr butter
- 200 ml milk
- 70 ml cognac
- 15 gr vanilla powder
- 20 gr baking powder
- 1 tbsp orange rind
Melt the butter and blend with the sugar until fluffy. Add the milk and cognac and now start integrating the sieved flour, vanilla and baking powder. Follow up by adding the orange rind. Don’t worry if the consistency is thicker than you’re used to. Stir in the ground almonds and pour your batter into a cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 180 oC and bake for 50 mins to 1 hour.
Happy New Year! May 2015 bring you peace, health and lots of merry baking days ahead!