This Vasiliopeta recipe is a traditional cake served at New Year's in Greece.
1 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 quarter, washed, wrapped in foil
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 325°.
Cream butter with 1 3/4 cups sugar until fluffy. Gradually beat in 3 egg yolks, 2 whole eggs, water, vanilla, and almond extracts. Sift flour and baking powder into a small bowl. Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture (batter will be very thick). Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold egg whites into batter.
Pour batter into greased and floured 10 x 4 inch tube pan pan. Press wrapped quarter into cake. Top with nuts and sesame seeds. Bake about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.
When serving the dish, the first slice is set aside for St. Basil and the second slice for Christ. The following slices go to members of the family in descending order of age.