V is for Vasilopita

Cake with Slice

I honestly thought I would have finished my ‘alphabet challenge’ by now, but due to hurting my knee in the middle of January, I have been off my feet for at least 6 weeks and am only just back to standing long enough to be able to bake.  I’m happy again, I can stand and bake – the simplest things in life are sometimes the best.

Anyway, onto this cake.  I’ve found quite a few recipes for this cake online and in various books I have.  The recipe that I’ve baked  is a bit of a mix of quite a few of the recipes.  I have included ground almonds in my cake, some recipes did and some didn’t.  Others added extra juice, some just the juice from the fruit you were using.  I added extra juice, although in hindsight I think I may have added a little too much, so if you decide to bake this recipe, it may be an idea to cut down on the juice, to say 125g.  The addition of juice may make the cake rise and sink, so don’t worry if it does, it will still taste wonderful.

Anyway, Vasilopita is a Greek recipe which can either be a bread or a cake. It is normally served on New Year’s Day and hidden inside the cake is a small coin or trinket.  If you decide to do this, make sure you wrap the item up in silver foil before putting it into your cake mixture.  If you are the person who finds the coin in your slice of cake, then you will have good luck for the year.  This is certainly something that I will consider baking this coming New Year as the cake itself is very yummy and not too heavy after all the rich food most of us have consumed over the Christmas period.

Recipe

  • 175g butter (softened)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250 g plain flour (or you can have a mix of plain flour and ground almonds, approximately 2/3 plain flour to 1/3 ground almonds
  • 3/4 tbsp baking powder
  • Grated zest of two oranges (again you can use lemons instead or limes, grapefruit of any other citrus fruit)
  • 150ml in total of juice (to include the juice from the oranges)  I actually used grapefruit juice in mine!
  • A handful of flaked almonds

Method

  1. Grease and line the bottom of a 23cm round tin (remember to line the tin, I didn’t and the cake stuck!).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C, Fan 160C, Gas Mark 4.
  3. Cream together the butter and caster sugar either by hand or in a mixer.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and if necessary add a spoonful of flour between eggs to stop the mixture from curdling.
  5. Fold in the flour, ground almonds (if using) and baking powder
  6. Finally add in the zest of the fruit and the juice.  Stir until incorporated.
  7. Pour the mixture into the tin and level the surface.  Scatter the ground almonds over the top of the cake.
  8. Place the cake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Have a look at it after 35 minutes, as it may well be ready.  To see if it is ready, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s ready.
  9. Leave in the tin for approximately 10 minutes and then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cake

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