Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year's Cake

Greeks love to celebrate the New Year with their "Vasilopita",a New Year's cake. Every family has their recipe, some yeast based and others more like a cake. The fun of this tradition is that a coin is hidden in the cake and on New Year's Day it is cut into as many pieces as there are people present, including one "gia to spiti" (for the home) and one "gia to xristo"(for Christ). The person who receives the coin is thought to have good luck all year round.

Every year my "yiayia"(grandmother) bakes this cake for our family but this year I thought I would bake one myself.


2 cups sugar
225g softened butter
5 eggs (separated)
1/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
zest of an orange
1/2 cup orange juice
500g self raising flour
pinch of salt

(Makes enough to fill two 23 cm cake tins)
1) Beat the sugar and butter together till pale.
2) Gradually beat in the egg yolks along with the vanilla essence and orange zest.
3) Combine the orange juice with the baking soda and add this to the batter as well.
4) Pour the milk into a jug along with the brandy.
5) Alternating between the two, fold in the flour and milk mixture into the batter.
6) Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold this into the mixture.
7) Finally mix in the walnuts.
8) Grease and line the tins and pour in the cake batter.
9) Bake at 150C for 50 minutes,you know it's done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top has gone a lovely honey colour.

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