new years are full of hope, tinged with optimistic intentions and promise. for me, with this gift of a clean slate, of blankness, also comes anxiety. will i put my energies towards the best, most productive project? am i growing or will i hide in the comfort of more of the same? it comes down to: am i doing it right? ...i hate to say it, but john mayer (who i've been told is the michael bolton of our generation...marinate on that for a second.) was feeling the feelings with "why georgia". (and am i really blogging about john mayer? i really am rusty.)
i think these restless feelings stem from the fact that i'm a gemini. it is my gift, it is my curse. and i also think that being in the no mans land of the 25-30 age group contributes its fair share to this aimlessness. not in school, not married. not the most junior at work, most definitely not in charge. somewhere in between, with a regrettable feeling of waiting. things aren't quite on autopilot yet and i want to make sure i'm becoming the person i should be. but maybe that's just the thing. there is no autopilot and this thing called my life will always be stamped with the cautionary "work in progress" or "wet paint" (working title of my memoir?) maybe it's about trusting the process and finding joy, contentment in the in between. because it all is the in between.
on new year's day, it's greek tradition to bake a light, moist pound cake for the new year called "vasilopita" (translation: st. basil's cake.) the tradition is to bake a trinket or prize (my family uses a dime) into the cake and to cut a slice for the home, the church, and each person in the family (my family includes pets, obviously). the person who gets the dime is meant to have a lucky year. since leaving home, i've carried this tradition with me, offering a slice to friends, family, and roommates that i share the new year with. after years of tradition, i've won the dime, i've forgotten to put the dime in the batter (doh!), and i've always enjoyed kicking off the new year with renewed intention and this delicious cake.
Vasilopita (Greek New Year's Cake)
my mom's recipe
1/2 lb. butter, softened
2 c. sugar (370 g)
3 c. flour (420 g)
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 c. lukewarm milk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
juice of 1/2 lemon
a dime, cleaned with dish soap, folded in wax paper, and sprinkled lightly with flour
1/4 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a layer cake pan about 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and stir until the mixture is mealy, like so:
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Eggs never fail to amaze me in how they bring things together. Nature's glue.
Separately, stir the baking powder into the milk and stir the milk mixture into the butter/egg mixture. Separately, mix the soda and lemon juice together (this will fizz!) and stir into the batter.
Mix well and (this part is important!...i have a very special note that reads "ADD DIME!!!!" on my recipe) carefully add the prepared dime into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, sprinkle the cake with the nut/sugar mixture and return to oven to bake for another 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool before cutting. When cool, cut a piece for each member of the family and hope for the dime!. The church was the lucky winner in my household this year (womp womp womp.) My brother and his fiancee tied for the dime back at home...fittingly so as they're getting married this year. St. Basil doin' big things in 2013.
These slices are mile high and are delicious, regardless of whether St. Basil has deemed you favorable. Hoping your new year is off to a great start!