In Cyprus, when the “New Year” arrives, it is tradition to cut a cake with a coin hidden inside. This cake is called a “vasilopita” and it is said that the person who finds the coin will have good luck for the rest of the year. It is a nice tradition and often results in family members wanting large pieces of cake. OK, only some. There are a variety of ways to prepare a “vasilopita” and my favourite is to make a sweet-style orange-brandy cake. So that is what you will find below. I think you could substitute the brandy with bourbon if you wanted. Because “that bourbon is so hot right now”. (That’s a “Zoolander” reference in case anyone thinks I am crazy.) I took it to a boxing-day Christmas dinner the other day and those there had seconds so the recipe is a keeper. Anyway, I wish all of you reading a very happy New Year and good luck in finding the coin! Much love to you all, and see you in the New Year with some healthy recipes!
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 & 1/2 tbs orange zest
1/2 tbs lemon zest
3 & 1/2 tbs brandy
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup orange juice
3 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
icing sugar coconut shavings for topping (optional)
2. With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar well. This will take around 10 minutes on a high setting. The mixture has to change to a very pale yellow colour.
3. Add all the eggs, one egg at a time, ensuring that it has been incorporated into the batter before adding the next egg.
4. Add the brandy and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the orange and lemon zests. Don’t worry if your batter begins to curdle at this stage.
5. Stir the baking powder and flour together.
6. Next add the orange juice and flour, alternating with small amounts of each as you add these ingredients, starting and ending with flour.
7. Pour the batter into the pan. If adding a coin into the cake, tightly wrap the coin in plastic wrap, and drop it into the batter. Ensure the top of the batter is smooth so that it is not obvious where the coin has been dropped.
8. Place in the oven for 60 minutes. Test the center of the cake with a toothpick after 60 minutes to ensure it is cooked. Remove and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.
9. If you wish, dust icing sugar and coconut flakes on top before serving.