Friday, April 27, 2012
Daring Baker's Challenge Part I - Armenian Nutmeg Cake
The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.
Until this challenge, I had never heard of Armenian Nutmeg Cake. Little did I know my life was poorer for it. First off, this cake tastes amazing. The spices make something that your tastes buds will recognize as comfort food even if, like me, you have never bit into this peace of heaven before. Second, even though kids will love it, the flavours are quite sophisticated and filled with depth. Third, this cake is super easy to make!
This dessert is perfect for a tea party, a dinner party or a pity party! Try it. You're gonna like it!
Armenian Nutmeg Cake
Makes one 9”/23cm cake which yields 12 servings
• 1 cup (240 ml) milk
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
• 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) butter, preferably unsalted, cubed
• 1/2 cup walnut pieces or pumpkin seeds, may need a little more
• 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (try to grate it fresh yourself)
• 4 pods of green cardamom, seeds removed and crushed (discard pods) or ½ tsp ground cardamom
• 1 large egg
What to do
(using food processor, and a 9-inch spring form pan)
1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F
2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder) into the milk. Set aside.
3. Put the flour, baking powder, and the brown sugar into your food processor. Pulse until uniformly mixed.
4. Toss in the cubed butter. Pulse until uniformly mixed into tan-colored small crumbs.
5. Pour HALF of the crumbs into your spring form (9”/23cm) pan. Press out a crust using your fingers and knuckles.
6. Crack the egg into the food processor with the rest of the crumbs still in it.
7. Toss nutmeg and cardamom into the food processor, too. Pulse until well-incorporated.
8. Pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until a slightly lumpy tan batter is formed.
9. Pour the batter over the crust in the spring form pan.
10. Gently sprinkle the walnut or pumpkin pieces over the batter.
11. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. It's ready when the top is golden brown, and when it passes the toothpick test (comes out clean).
12. Cool the cake in the pan, and then dig in. Yum yum!
Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips: Armenian nutmeg cake will keep (covered) at room temperature for 2-3 days. Taste better still warm from the oven.
Allow to cool completely before attempting to freeze. Armenian Nutmeg Cake will freeze fairly well if completely sealed. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.