New Year Lucky Food in Greece
Happy Healthy Holidays!
Today, this cake is baked in honor of a miracle (see below) and one Vasilopita Coin is baked inside of it. The person who bites into his piece of cake and finds the coin will be blessed with good luck in the year to come.
1 cup softened butter
1-3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, blend together the butter or margarine and the sugar. Separate 3 of the eggs; add the yolks and the 2 remaining whole eggs to the butter mixture. Stir in the vanilla and water. In another bowl, sift together the baking powder and flour. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.
Whip 3 egg whites until they are foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar. Continue to whip the whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Fold whipped whites into batter.
Pour the batter into a greased 10 x 4 inch tube pan. Wrap a large coin in foil, and place the coin in the batter. Press the coin down; it should be completely hidden. Sprinkle the nuts and seeds on top of the batter.
Bake the cake for about 70 minutes, or until done. Cool on a wire rack. Makes one 10 inch tube cake.
New Year's Fact
The Greek tradition of eating Vasilopita (a cake baked with a coin inside) originated from the famously high taxes that the Ottoman Empire imposed on the Greek people during the long Ottoman reign. It is believed that a Bishop of Greece, through some miracle, managed to recover a large portion of the Greek people's riches from the Ottoman's grasp. When he attempted to return the riches to their respective owners fighting among the Greek people broke out -- no one could agree on who had owned what! The second miracle of the story unveils itself here: Saint Basil asked the women to bake a large cake with the valuables inside. When he sliced the cake, the valuables miraculously found their way back to their rightful owners!