A very traditional cake we usually do every Christmas in Greece & Cyprus with a chocolate twist! The King Cake (Vasilopita in Greek or galette des rois in French), is a New Year’s Day cake which contains a hidden coin or trinket which gives good luck to the receiver. It is associated with Saint Basil’s day, January 1, in most of Greece, but in some regions, the traditions surrounding a cake with a hidden coin are attached to Epiphany or to Christmas.
On New Year’s Day families cut the vasilopita to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. This is usually done at the midnight of New Year’s Eve. A coin is hidden in the cake by slipping it into the dough before baking. At midnight the sign of the cross is etched with a knife across the cake. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time, by order of age from eldest to youngest. Slices are also cut for various symbolic people or groups, depending on local and family tradition. In older times, the coin often was a valuable one, such as a gold sovereign. Nowadays there is often a prearranged gift, money, or otherwise, to be given to the coin recipient.
- 250 g. dark chocolate 72% cocoa
- 400 g. butter
- 300 g. brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bulb fresh ground nutmeg
- 400 g. almond powder
- 10 eggs
- 175 g. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Decorative nuts and bonbons
- 125 g. butter
- 150 g. brown sugar
- 30 g. dark chocolate 72% cocoa
- 125 g. flour
- 50 g. almond powder
- Melt the chopped chocolate with the butter in the microwave.
- In a bowl add the eggs and beat with a hand blender or whisk.
- In another pan , place the melted chocolate with the butter , add the brown sugar , cinnamon, cloves , nutmeg , the almond powder , beaten eggs , flour and lastly the baking powder.
- Mix well and pour the mixture into a 28cm diameter tin, with a built bottom foil.
- Bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees C for 30 minutes and at 160 degrees C for another 30 minutes.
FOR THE ALMOND CRUMBLE :
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
- In a bowl add the butter, brown sugar, almond powder and stir briefly with an electric mixer.
- Add the melted chocolate and flour, continuing to stir.
- Take it out of the bowl and roll it out into a thin sheet of thickness 3 mm with a roller pin and place it in the fridge.
- When frozen cut a disc diameter smaller than the hoop of the Kings Cake.
- Cover the surface of the almost cooked cake with the crumble and continue baking for 15 minutes until the crumble is cooked.
- Garnish with decorations of your choice .
WARNING: THIS RECIPE CALLS FOR RAW, UNCOOKED EGGS!
Cookie (You can skip this part and just use the cookie parts of Oreos):
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (for dusting)
French Silk Pie Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cool, but not hard
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- Dark Chocolate pieces (about 5 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, cold
- Stabilized whipped cream* (recipe below) or 1 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles or shaved dark chocolate
- Mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut 1 cup of the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cream and form the dough into a ball. Divide dough into thirds, flatten into a rough disk about 1/2 inch thick, and wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The original recipe calls for the cutting in of the butter.)
- Dust a cutting board with the sugar/cocoa mixture. (I like to roll my dough between two sheets of wax paper and dust that with the sugar/cocoa.) Roll dough out 1/8-inch thick and cut with a 2 ” circle or flower cutter for three-bite pies, or 1 1/2” circle or flower cutter for tiny pies. Place circles/flowers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick cookies three times with a fork.
- Bake at 190°C for 10 minutes. Cool on pan for 5- 10 minutes before removing carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a double boiler, melt chocolate about 2/3 of the way. Remove top of double boiler and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool further. I recommend cooling until the chocolate starts to thicken slightly so that it won’t melt the butter.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whip attachment, cream butter. Gradually add sugar, creaming well. Blend in melted and cooled chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 4 minutes after each addition with mixer on medium speed.
- Transfer filling either to a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip or a large zip top bag that you will later cut 1/2 inch off the corner. If the filling seems a bit loose and you don’t trust that it will hold its shape and stay on the base, then refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes, or until you can pipe it and have it hold its shape. If the filling seems firm, start piping onto cookie bases. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Top with whipped cream squeezed out of another pastry bag with open star tip or zip-top bag. Top with sprinkles or shaved chocolate, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve
- Makes about 70 three-bite pies, OR about 120 one-bite pies
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
- 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 cup whipping cream
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften.
- Scald 2 tablespoon of the cream; pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.
- Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white. (This takes about 10-15 minutes.) Then, with a whisk, beat until smooth.
- In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, or with a hand beater, whip remaining cream and sugar just until soft peaks form; whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl twice. You will probably only need to whip it another 10-20 seconds before it’s done.
*A note about the stabilized whipped cream: this is really the way to go if you plan for these to last more than one day.