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.


  1. This cakes goes anytime with anything :)) Wonderful photos and I love the pumpkin seeds, they provide great contrast and accentuate the texture.
    Great job!

  2. LOVE the spices in this, and its gorgeous!

  3. What an interesting cake!! I've never thought to use nutmeg as the main spice!

  4. Ahhh, so you are the creator of the pumpkin seed topped cake! I loved it when I first saw it earlier this month and I now love it again. Beautiful!

  5. Your cake turned out so well - it's gorgeous! Great job!

  6. Nice job! I like the look of the pumpkin seeds on top. I might have to make another one and try that.

  7. This cake sounds sooo good! I really wish I had the opportunity to make both challenges this month. Your cake looks lovely!

  8. Wonderful idea to add pumpkin seeds instead of nuts. Love the color of your cake. Nice one!!!

  9. Your cake is GORGEOUS! The pepitas make such a beautiful (and I'm sure, tasty) contrast. I'm so jealous!

  10. How creative! And I applaud you for taking on both of the challenges this month. I'm afraid I only completed the nazook, but will be trying the nutmeg cake later. Yours is beautiful!

  11. I really like the pumpkin seeds on top. Looks wonderful!

  12. The pumpkin seeds are such a beautiful contrast! Gorgeous looking cake.

  13. Beautifully done!! I've fallen off the Daring Bakers' bandwagon...but wish I could have a slice of yours :)

  14. Beautiful cake ! You are so right when you say this cake is sophisticated and can be enjoyed by kids as well. Great job on the challenge !

  15. I feel like I should have done this too, I will try it at some stage!!! The nazook looks really good too!!!