Cooking With Cathy: Vasilopeta 

Yield: One 10” cakeVasilopeta is a cake made for the feast day of Saint Basil, which is on January 1st. The cakes can be made in a variety of ways ranging from light risen breads to dense cakes. Included in all is the traditional coin which symbolizes good luck for the year to the person who finds it. Traditionally the first piece goes to Saint Basil, the second to Christ, the third to the oldest member of the family and all following pieces to the family members in descending order of age.1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened2 cups sugarPinch of salt1/2 tsp. vanilla1 tsp. lemon zest1 tsp. orange zest6 eggs3 cups all-purpose flour2 tsp. double-acting baking powder1 cup lukewarm milk1/2 tsp. baking soda1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice1/2 cup slivered almonds1 1/2 Tbsp. sugarPreheat oven to 350°.Grease and flour a 10” x 2” cake pan. Set aside.Clean and sterilize a quarter and wrap in a small piece of aluminum foil. Set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and 2 cups of sugar until lightened. Add the salt, vanilla and zests. Beat until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add the flour in thirds using a spatula to occasionally scrape down the sides and mix until just combined. Stir the baking powder into the milk. On low speed gradually add milk mixture to the batter. Stir the baking soda into the lemon juice. On low speed gradually add lemon mixture to the batter. Use a spatula to ensure that the batter is completely incorporated and pour into the prepared cake pan. Place prepared quarter into one side of the cake.In a small bowl combine the almonds with the remaining sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake. Place in center of oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until top is golden and cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely.Recipe Courtesy: Cathy Speronis