Guest Author - Clare Stubbs
Vasilopita (meaning St. Basil’s Bread) is a type of cake traditionally served on New Year’s Day. By taking part in this popular annual custom, you and your family could have plenty of good luck for the year ahead.
Serving vasilopita has links with the Greek Orthodox Church and is a respected tradition which sees the eldest member of a family cutting the cake. Adding a coin to the mixture before baking is part of the surprise with the person who finds it being considered the lucky one.
Ingredients (serves 6 – 8, based on using an 8" / 20cm cake tin)
150g / 5.29 oz softened butter
˝ cup of granulated sugar
2 cups plain / self-raising flour
˝ cup of milk
3 medium or large eggs
Handful of blanched almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1. Prepare your cake tin by lightly greasing the base and sides with a small amount of butter. Put to one side for later.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees / Gas mark 4
3. In a medium bowl, add the butter and sugar together and stir well.
4. Add the flour to the mixture and stir again.
5. Place the milk in a saucepan and heat gently. While you wait for the milk to heat up, add one egg at a time to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
6. Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder with the other ingredients and finish by pouring the milk in slowly before doing one last stir.
7. Pour all batter into the cake tin and place the almonds on top. If you are going to follow the tradition then wrap a coin in foil and insert it in the tin.
8. Place in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour - until golden brown and leave on a wire rack to cool before serving.
9. Dust with a small amount of icing sugar to finish.
This recipe is very simple but it produces a very tasty and equally filling cake. Serving vasilopita is a custom that the entire family can enjoy and with the delight of finding a coin, it is likely to become a permanent tradition in your household.