Every Greek family on the first day of this New Year will be cutting into a version of this cake, known as vasilopeta. It is one of the great traditions, which is still maintained in Greek communities of the Diaspora. In Greece, we also celebrate today the feast day of Saint Basil, and the name of the cake bears its origins from this holiday. Enjoy, and happy New Year!
1 cup softened butter2 1/2 cups caster sugar
8 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup almonds crushed
1 dime (or 10 pence coin) washed with soap, and covered in aluminum foil
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat egg whites over medium speed until you reach an nice stiff and frothy consistency. Keep to the side.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar over medium speed for 10 minutes. Add yolks, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Beat for a minute. Then slowly add the flour, the baking powder, milk, and almonds.
4. Fold in with a spatula the egg whites, using a smooth motion and ensuring you blend everything well.
5. Grease a 14" round cake pan and pour batter smoothly in the middle of the pan. Drop in your coin and allow it to submerge into the batter.
6. Bake for 45 minutes (first 30 minutes DO NOT dare open your oven or the cake will sink).
7. When finished baking, take out cake and let it cool. Once cooled, flip over onto a cake plate.
8. Generously sprinkle confectioner's sugar. Take whole almonds and arrange them to create the numbers '2009' on top.
When you are ready to eat this delight, cut each piece for a specific person in the household. Whoever gets the coin will have great prosperity and luck in the coming New Year!