Vasilopita cupcakes

Vasilopita cupcakes

Unconventional vasilopita for an unconventional year

Purists and traditionalists may cringe at this post, and we’re prepared for the fall out. We know that there are certain things that are sacred and should not be tampered with. Like garlic in tzatziki or bechamel on pastitsio. We get it, we really do!

But let’s face it guys, 2020 has been a very unusual and unconventional year and 2021 is starting off that way as well. In our part of the world we are in the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications are huge. Restaurants remain closed except for take-out, retail shops are now closed, schools are either closed or via distance learning, and gatherings of any kind are prohibited. For those who prefer to ring in the new year in the comfort of their bed, sleeping, this is great! For many others, this sucks – big time!

Vasilopita cupcakes

We have never been huge, glitzy New Year’s Eve party-goers; our most memorable December 31st gatherings have been with family and friends, at home. We’ve hosted murder-mystery nights, game nights, fondue nights and we’ve had so much fun over the years that we often come close to missing the actual countdown to the New Year.

New Year’s Day itself has always been special. One of us celebrates her Nameday on January 1st, as does one of our dear cousins. For years, we gathered at our Aunt’s home where the grown-ups would convene upstairs and the cousins would sprawl out all over the basement, full from the holiday gorging. We would eat, watch movies, eat, play board games, eat, play video games…and then repeat. It was during gatherings like this that our usually loving cousin relationships would be shaken during the mad dash to Thea Voula’s cheesecake. Competition for the first and largest slice was almost as great as the competition of who would get to be the car during our Monopoly marathons.

Vasilopita cupcakes

Over the years, regardless of whose home New Year’s Day was celebrated in, among all the desserts there was always a vasilopita, the Greek New Year’s cake (some families make it as a bread) with a coin baked into it. As tradition has it, the vasilopita is cut and served to everyone present and the person who finds the coin is expected to have good luck in the coming year. You can read more about the meaning and symbolism of the vasilopita, as well as our family’s tradition, here in our original vasilopita recipe post.

But as we said when we started out, this is no usual year. This year, our extended family will not be gathering – we will remain in our own little family bubbles. Still, we will try to maintain much of what we typically enjoy about the day, even if it is different this year. We will still eat too much, we’ll play games (some of them through Zoom), and we will make and enjoy our vasilopita, but the 2021 vasilopita too will be a little different. The idea for this came from a Mia Kouppa friend over on Facebook who asked how to enjoy a vasilopita when it will only serve 2 people. That question gave rise to what we think is a great solution, our vasilopita cupcakes!

Although any other cake can have extra pieces easily frozen, that is not the case with vasilopita. There is the coin to consider! Someone, even if it’s just one of two people, needs to find the piece with the coin; 2021 depends on it! So one option is to bake vasilopita cupcakes instead of an entire cake. You may find this idea either brilliant, or sacrilegious! We hope you think it’s brilliant!

Pin this recipe if you like it!

Vasilopita cupcakes

Helpful hints

How can I be sure that someone will find the coin if I make vasilopita cupcakes?

Because the recipe which follows is essentially our original vasilopita recipe, it makes a lot of cupcakes, between 24 to 26 actually. Chances are you won’t need them all (otherwise, just make the cake!). To make this idea work, all you have to do is decide how many people will be served vasilopita on January 1st, and mark the same number of cupcakes with a nut. Into one of the nut-marked cupcakes be sure to insert the coin and then, when it is time to enjoy your vasilopita, offer one of the marked cupcakes to everyone present and eat carefully (choking on the coin is the opposite of good luck).

What can I do with my extra vasilopita cupcakes?

All extra vasilopita cupcakes can be frozen for future enjoyment (unless you plan to eat them all within a few days, in which case you can keep them at room temperature).

But, the added benefit of baking your vasilopita this way is that you can do curb-side deliver of vasilopita cupcakes to family and friends that you would have seen in person pre-pandemic. So, for example, you could keep 4 vasilopita cupcakes for your immediate family, deliver another 4 or 6 to your sister and her family, a couple to your parents, … you get the picture. Then you can all eat your vasilopita together on Zoom to see who gets the coin! How fun!


Looking for more individualized ideas? Look no further than here:

Orange muffins with dates and figs

Sugar doughnuts

Mini apple pies with phyllo

We love hearing from you!  If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!,  please leave a comment below!

Things you might need:

cupcake tins

baking cooling rack

baking whisk

Vasilopita cupcakes
Vasilopita cupcakes
Vasilopita cupcakes

Vasilopita cupcakes

An unconventional vasilopita, for an unconventional year
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Bread, Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Mia Kouppa, MIa Kouppa vasilopita, Vasilopita
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or hand-held mixer with paddle attachment
  • Muffin pan
  • Cupcake liners

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups (525 grams) sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) white granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest tightly packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cognac or brandy
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 1/3 cup (45 grams) icing sugar, for dusting on top of vasilopita cupcakes
  • almonds or other nut You need enough to identify the number of vasilopita cupcakes you will be serving on New Year's Day

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl combine the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer and at medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat until well combined and smooth, approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
  • To the sugar and butter add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the orange zest, vanilla extract and cognac. Mix well.
  • Slowly add one cup of the flour to the bowl of the electric mixer. Mix well. Then add the milk and the remaining flour. Mix well at low speed to prevent splattering. When the ingredients have been combined, turn the speed to medium and continue to beat for another minute or two. Your batter should be smooth and without any lumps.
  • Take a silver coin (see note) and wash it well. Dry the coin and then wrap it in securely in either food grade plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Set aside.
  • Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners; this recipe will make a total of 24 - 26 cupcakes so you may need to bake in batches.
  • Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way with the batter.
  • Using a knife, make an indentation in the batter of one of your cupcakes and place your coin into the batter, ensuring that it does not poke through the top. Be sure to remember which cupcake has the coin!
  • Decide on how many vasilopita cupcakes you will serve on New Year's Day and mark these with an almond or other nut by placing it on top of the batter. Be sure that one of the cupcakes that you have marked has the coin in it.
  • Bake your vasilopita cupcakes in the middle rack of your oven for between 24 - 26 minutes. Check if they are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of one of your cupcakes (an unmarked one is easiest so that you don't accidentally hit the coin). If the toothpick comes out clean, the vasilopita cupcakes are ready. Remember, each oven is different so you may want to start checking your cupcakes after 20 minutes or so.
  • Allow the vasilopita cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tray and then transfer them to a cake rack to cool completely. Once fully cooled you can dust those that you will be serving on New Year's Day (those marked with the nut) with icing sugar. Any remaining vasilopita cupcakes can be wrapped securely in plastic wrap and frozen.
  • Be mindful when serving the vasilopita to small children and the very elderly; the coin could be a choking hazard.
  • Enjoy, and Happy New Year!!

Notes

In measuring out your flour, sift it first and then measure it out.
We usually use a quarter as the silver coin in our vasilopita cake, and have also used it in these cupcakes.  However, you can also choose to use a nickel or a dime, which are smaller and may be easier to hide in the vasilopita cupcakes.
Extra frozen vasilopita cupcakes can be enjoyed by bringing to room temperature to thaw.

12 thoughts on “Vasilopita cupcakes

  1. Omg I shared your idea with my mom and I guest she is a purist. I was surprised by how strong her reaction was! No cupcakes for use. LOL

    1. Ha ha ha!! We hate upsetting moms…but we knew that this idea would not sit well with some people. That’s okay. Show her our original vasilopita cake post so that she can love us again 🙂 xox Helen and Billie

  2. Vasilopita Cupcakes…ladies…absolutely BRILLIANT IDEA!!
    A great way to include family and friends during these unsettling times.

    I wish both if you a very healthy, prosperous and delicious New Year. Much love and thanks for a tasty 2020!!

  3. Thank you! We made them and they came out amazing! There are 4 of us, so 2021 in foil topped our 4 and our 8 year old found the coin! Then my 6 year old and I did door drops to family and friends with the rest today! What a wonderful idea to share during this unique time! Delicious! Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

    1. So happy that this idea was fun for you and your family!! Thank you for including us, in a small way, in your New Year’s celebration. Wishing you and your family a blessed 2021, with health, joy and peace. xoxo Helen & Billie

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