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!!