Citrus Cake Vasilopita

Five years ago, I made my first variation of the Greek New Years Cake, Vasilopita, for Sophaki Cooks. Rather than a single loaf or cake, I used the same traditional ingredients to make cupcakes. And while I still maintain cupcakes are a brilliant form for a cake with a lucky coin baked inside, this variation is about flavor over form.

Whole pureed citrus is the main source for this cake’s bright taste while the olive oil and ground almonds create its moist texture and density. Having made this several times now, you can trust me when I say this cake does not disappoint.  It’s perfection is best celebrated alongside some bubbly.

New to Vasilopita? Read the beautiful (and short) story of it’s origins with St.Basil here.

HBD Sophaki Cooks
Five years ago also marks the birth of this blog! When I first started Sophaki Cooks, I wasn’t sure how long it would hold my interest. I wasn’t even sure I would enjoy the blogging process, but it’s been fun sharing my passion for food with each and every one of you. Cheers to many more!

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Tip: There are countless ways to dress up your Vasilopita so don’t be afraid to get creative! Some of my favorite decorative toppings include candied orange slices (found at Trader Joe’s), sliced almonds, and fresh pomegranate seeds. 

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CITRUS CAKE VASILOPITA
Inspired by NYT  Cooking

1 small to medium orange
1 lemon
6 oz raw almonds (slightly over one cup)
1 c all-purpose flour
t tbsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c sugar
2/3 c olive oil
2 tbsp brandy (I used Metaxa)
1 sanitized small coin (I used this Vasilopita coin, but dimes work great)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Place citrus fruit in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain fruit and allow to cool. Once completely cool, cut lemon in half, and remove pulp and seeds. Cut orange in half and remove any seeds. Place lemon and orange in food processor and puree.

In an oven, toast almonds at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Grind almonds in a food processor.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Whisk flour and baking powder in a bowl. Beat eggs and salt until foamy. Beat sugar into egg and salt mixture. Stir in flour mixture. Beat in citrus puree, ground almonds, olive oil, and brandy. Drop coin into batter, pour mixture into pan and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Release springform pan. Dust Vasilopita with confectioners’ sugar.

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