Cyprus Cooking by Liz
Vasilopita - New Year's cake
Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Vasilopita, New Years cake, baked only today to honor St. Basil who celebrates his name day tomorrow, the first of the new year in Cyprus and Greece. The story goes like this, when St. Basil was bishop of Caesarea, the then prefect of Cappadocia claimed taxes. The scared Caesareans, following the advice of the saint, gathered whatever precious items they possessed and went out to welcome the prefect. Saint Basil managed to persuade the prefect not to deprive the locals of their jewellery. Then, the problem of returning each item to its owner arose! The saint advised the locals to prepare small pies and then he placed one piece inside each pie. Miraculously, each one got back the item they had offered! (ref: www.visitgreece.gr) To symbolize the precious item, a coin is added to the cake before baking and after the cake is cut and shared among the ones present the one who finds the coin in his or her piece of cake has good luck for the whole new year! The cutting of the cake is done as follows, first a cross is cut in the cake, then the first piece is for Jesus Christ, the second for St. Basil and the third for the house and one for the poor depending on the custom, then the next piece is for the oldest family member present and descending in age everyone gets a piece of the cake. You can imagine the fun around cutting the cake for who will be lucky one to find the lucky coin!! I tried hard today to put this recipe on my blog for all my blog friends to be able to prepare the cake tonight or tomorrow. Traditionally the cake is cut tonight at midnight or tomorrow on New Year's day, but can also be prepared for any near future New Year's party!! This recipe was brought into the family by my sister in law and immediately adapted by us as this cake is a great success!! It brings always happy eaters!
Happy New Year to all my Blog followers!
250 gr margarine or butter (room temperature)
400 gr sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
400 gr flour
1 orange peel grated
130 gr milk
95 gr fresh orange juice
40 gr brandy
The cake cuts 12 large or 16 medium pieces.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Line a spring form 26 cm diameter with baking paper. (the baking paper stays better in place when the form is lined with a little butter).
Split the eggs.
The egg whites to be poured in a large mixer bowl and the egg yolks to be set aside for now.
Beat the egg whites with a few drops of lemon juice to a meringue. The meringue is so stiff, it can be cut with a knife.
In another large mixer bowl beat the butter with sugar until soft.
Add the egg yolks one by one. Mix on lowest mixer stand.
Add the orange zest and baking powder. Mix on lowest mixer stand.
In a large glass add orange juice, brandy and milk, pour this mixture by the dough.
The milk is reacting with the orange juice and that is correct, it needs to be like this.
Add meringue batch by batch, and mix careful with a spatula. In this way the air in the meringue will help the cake to be delicious moist and fluffy.
At the last stage, add the flour batch by batch by hand with a spatula.
The ready mixture is kind of soft.
Add the mixture to the prepared oven form.
Wash the coin really well and wrap it in some aluminum foil.
Place the coin on top of the cake.
Whilst baking the coin will fall to the bottom.
Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Check with a knife, if it comes out dry, then the cake is ready.
Cool entirely, place on serving plate and decorate with roasted almond accordingly.
Good luck and Happy New Year!!
Enjoy - Καλή όρεξη!!
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