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Traditional Greek Recipes: Vasilopita

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By Georgene Dilernia

Vasilopita is a Greek household favourite, and the perfect dish to celebrate and enjoy the new year. 

Hidden inside the Greek dessert is a gold coin wrapped in foil, and the family member who is fortunate enough to receive the coin in their slice is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.

The Vasilopita is cut and served to share and enjoy with the family, serving up to 10 people. In total, it only takes 15 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to cook. Let’s take a deep look into the recipe below to see how to cook this tasty treat to bring in the new year!

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 220g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Icing sugar and chopped or flaked almonds, to decorate (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 175˚C and line and lightly grease a 25 cm round cake tin.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar and vanilla  together in a mixing bowl until pale, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together then add to mix alternately with orange juice, finishing with flour. 
  4. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated well and form a thick cake batter, but be careful not to over mix or the vasilopita will lose its light, fluffy texture.
  5. Pour half the cake batter into the greased tin. 
  6. Wrap a gold coin in foil ($2 usually works best as it is smaller) and drop it into the cake tin. Cover with the remaining cake batter and spread evenly with a knife or spatula. This will ensure you don’t know where the lucky coin is hidden once it’s baked! Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to sit and cool for 20 minutes. The cake should be warm when you remove it from the tin but not hot to the touch. 
  8. Place a large flat plate on top of the cake tin and flip so the cake falls upside down onto the plate.
  9. Decorate the vasilopita how you like but it is tradition to dust the cake with icing sugar and chopped or flaked almonds. One way to decorate the cake is to put the numbers of the new year, which can be written on with cake frosting/icing, or made by cutting out paper in the shape of the numbers, placing the paper cut-outs onto the cake, and then dusting with icing sugar. You can also use flaked or chopped almonds to write out the numbers too if you prefer.

Kali Oreksi!

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