Although we’re a few weeks into January – it is still January so I wanted to do a quick post on Vasilopita.
Last year, there were several things going on within our family plus wedding planning plus trying to maintain calm, patient, hopeful and sane. My mother-in-law was not able to bake the traditional bread/cake that she would normally make for the New Year, but one of the sisters and myself had the same thought – we each baked our own Vasilopita on her behalf. Vasilopita is a bread/cake that is traditionally baked for the New Year. The cake is cut to bless your home and bring good luck in the new year. It is usually cut at midnight by the head of the house hold and a slice of cake is designated for each member of the family.
The reasons that I fell in love with this cake is because not only is it delicious but it is traditional and it is something that I have easily taken in to become a yearly part of mine and my husband’s little family celebration. I love the idea of my husband and I combining both our Mexican and Greek traditions. The fun part about this tradition is finding out who gets the coin that is inserted in the cake batter before it is baked. Another thing that I love about this Greek tradition is how similar the Mexican tradition is with Rosca de Reyes. When my husband and I first met, we were fascinated with how many similarities there were between the Greek and Mexican culture as well as the dynamic between families. I think we were both comforted in that because we could understand the quirks within our families.
I was very happy with the result of this Vasilopita recipe, especially when it is MOTHER-IN-LAW APPROVED!! Nobody has gotten the coin in the cake that I baked this year so the suspense continues in our home.
Vasilopita (dedicated to Mamá Voula)
- 18 tbsp of butter, softened (equals 2 sticks and two tbsp of butter)
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 6 eggs
- 4 cups of self-rising flour
- zest and juice from two oranges
- 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp of freshly grated nutmeg
- powdered sugar for decorating (optional)
- almonds for decorating (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter pan that you are going to use for your cake. I like using a spring form pan because it is easy to remove the cake and set out for slicing. Zest and juice two oranges and set aside.
Gathered ingredients. This has been making my life so much easier!
With the whisk part of your mixer, beat butter with granulated sugar on low/medium until well incorporated. The mixture will be white and will start to gain volume and look a bit fluffed up.
Once granulated sugar and butter are well combined, add eggs one at a time and continue to beat on low/medium speed. After adding all six eggs, add the orange zest, vanilla and nutmeg. Continue to beat for 2-3 minutes until orange zest, vanilla and nutmeg are well incorporated. At this time, turn off mixer and switch attachment to the flat beater (if you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer).
Once you have switched attachments, start mixer at the lowest setting and add flour at 1/2 to 1 cup at a time. After you have added the first two cups of flour you can then add the orange juice then add the remaining flour that you have. Blend batter at the lowest speed for a few minutes until all the flour is mixed in. You can stop mixer to scrape your bowl after you have added the orange juice and flour to make sure that there are not any pockets of flour in your batter.
Pour batter into buttered pan and set aside. I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment paper so that it wouldn’t stick to the bottom portion of my pan. I am still trying to get the hang of this, but I found it to be very helpful. I found this tip from theKitchn.
Now!! Time to get your dime ready! Cut a piece of foil and wrap your dime in foil.
I always cut an additional piece of foil and wrap my already wrapped dime in another piece of foil to make sure it is well protected and it does not get released into the batter.
Insert wrapped dime anywhere in the batter. I usually insert the dime toward the edge of the cake, up-right so that it will not interfere when I am slicing the cake. Bake cake for about 40 minutes. At the 40 minute mark, check your cake with a toothpick, if the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is ready. If toothpick is still a little sticky, bake for about 5-10 more minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.
I normally like to decorate my cake by sifting powder sugar all over the top of it and displaying the new year with almonds and honey. This year, my almonds were not photographing very well so I grabbed my bright red frosting and wrote the new year boldly right on top. Happy New Year! Xronia Polla! Feliz Año Nuevo!
( joanna )
Recipe adapted from MyDinnerToday