The Daring Bakers April 2012 challenge hosted by Jason at Daily Candor presented 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.
I very much wanted to bake both but thus far have managed to bake only the nutmeg cake. If the nazook is anywhere near as delicious as the nutmeg cake, then I know I’m in for a treat. The nutmeg cake was so delicious it inspired me to write a new list titled, “If I owned a bakery, I would sell this.”
The cake uses the same crumbly beginnings as a crust and a batter. Despite the two parts, the cake is very easy to assemble and takes little time to go from pantry to oven. I loved the way the bottom layer of crust became almost toffee-like when baked, and the cake itself was moist, tender, and full of flavor.
Not into nutmeg? In his instructions to the Daring Bakers, Jason wrote that nutmeg cake can be made with cinnamon or cardamom instead of nutmeg. Instead of walnuts, different nuts on the top, or none at all, are also possibilities.
Whether you are looking for a new coffee cake to bring to brunch or a new dessert to serve after dinner, nutmeg cake is the cake you need. Enjoy!
Armenian Nutmeg Cake
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces, may need a little more
- Mix the baking soda (not the baking powder) into the milk and set aside.
- Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl.
- Add the brown sugar and the cubed butter to the bowl, then use a fork to mash the butter into the dry ingredients. Stop when you have created a uniform crumbly mixture.
- Press half (about 2 cups) of the crumbly mixture into the bottom a springform pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and the nutmeg until frothy; about one minute using a stand mixer or about 2-3 minutes if whisking by hand.
- Pour the milk and baking soda mixture into the egg and nutmeg mixture and continue to mix until uniform.
- Pour the rest of the crumbly mixture into the mixing bowl with the egg and the milk mixtures.
- Mix until well incorporated.
- Pour this batter over the base in the springform pan.
- Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The top of the cake will be a golden brown color, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean when done.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan before releasing.