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RECIPE: Vasilopita

Start off 2017 on a sweet note with this traditional recipe

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23/12/16

Ingredients
(serves 8 to 10)

3/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds and hazelnuts
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp mahlab or 1 tbsp anise seeds
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
A coin or hard candy

Method

1. Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and a 4-inch round cake pan.

2. To make the cake:
Combine the nuts, brown sugar, and honey in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and anise (or mahlab) and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and mix well.

3. Bake:
Divide one-third of the nut mixture between the two prepared pans, scattering it in an even layer over the bottom of the pans. Fill the smaller (4-inch) pan two-thirds with batter, then pour half of the remaining batter into the larger (9-inch) pan. Bake both layers for 20 minutes, until the cakes become a bit firm.

Sprinkle half of the remaining nut mixture in an even layer over both cakes, and place the coin on top of one of the partly-baked cakes. Pour the remaining batter on top of each cake. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre of each comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes.

4. Serve:
Remove the cakes from their pans, and place the smaller one on top of the larger. Top with the remaining nut mixture, and serve warm.

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