While I am Greek by birth, I didn’t grow up with any knowledge of my heritage. When I connected with my roots in my late teens this cake was one of the first homemade things I tried. Vasilopita ( St. Basil’s Pie), is a Cake or bread traditionally served on New Years Day in Greece and throughout the Balkans. I took liberties with the traditional recipes that are out there and tried new techniques…. like boiling oranges!! Game changer. The result is a slightly dense, clementine infused olive oil cake that I think St. Basil would love any day with tea or coffee :). The best part….. a coin is place in the cake before baking and whoever gets it in their slice is said to be blessed with good luck for the coming year. Powdered sugar is the traditional garnish as well as displaying the year but I thought garnishing with roasted citrus made it so pretty. Happy New Year!
Prep time: 90 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes
Special equipment: food processor
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brandy
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons powdered sugar (garnish)
1 orange sliced (optional for garnish)
One clean coin wrapped in foil or parchment.
Place clementines in a small sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes. Remove boiled oranges from pot and let them cool for about 20 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle. Cut into quarters and remove any pits. Purée in food processor until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and line with parchment paper 9 inch round pan.
Add olive oil, sugar, brandy and eggs to the oranges and process for about a minute. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan. Add the wrapped coin and bake on middle rack for 30 -35 minutes. Let cake cool then dust with powdered sugar.
For citrus garnish. Place slices of orange on a parchment lined baking sheet and “roast” for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Cover cake with plastic wrap.