Dare to bake?

Wonderful aroma and subtle flavours

Armenian nutmeg cake

When I first started blogging, seeing my enthusiasm for baking a friend directed me to The Daring Kitchen site. I read up on a few other blogs about these challenges. They seemed a little daunting, after all I was just taking baby steps and making puff pastry or even bread for that matter wasn’t really my cup of tea. So I decided to wait it out.

Finally I signed up for the Daring Bakers challenge and I couldn’t have been more delighted to see what it had in store for us bakers this month. It was Jason’s, who blogs at dailycandor.com, turn to pick the challenge for April and he picked two delicious Armenian recipes – nazook (a filled puff pastry) and an exotic sounding Armenian nutmeg cake. I was intrigued by the cake, I’ve never baked with nutmeg before (other than using it in a cheesecake or a panna cotta) so I was even more eager to try my hand at the cake. I didn’t have time to do the nazook but it is something that I will be making very soon, the recipe has been bookmarked!

The recipe that Jason had given us seemed pretty simple and straight-forward but me being me, well, I didn’t follow the recipe to the T. The reason isn’t because I was attempting something different, it was simply because I ran out of walnuts so I used melon seeds instead, I hadn’t kept the butter out of the freezer for it to soften so I’d to use oil and I generally bake with whole wheat flour these days, so there. Oh and, I also ran out of demerara sugar so I added jaggery to complete the recipe. You can’t tell the difference but the crust has this yummy nutty flavour which is almost addictive.

Here’s the original recipe

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And here’s what I did

2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1 cup of milk
1 egg
1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg (what an awesome aroma!)
1 cup of demerara sugar
1/2 cup of jaggery, coarsely powdered
3/4 cup of olive oil (you can use vegetable or canola oil too)
1/4 cup of watermelon seeds, slightly roasted

Sift the whole wheat flour and baking powder into a bowl. Mix the baking soda with the milk and keep it aside for a while.
Add the sugar, jaggery  and oil to the whole wheat flour and mix well using your fingertips until it begins to resemble coarse sand.

Looks like cookie crumb, isn’t it?

Take half of this mixture and spread it across the base of your cake tin, use your knuckles to press it down in place.

That’s the base for this delicious cake

In another mixing bowl break the egg and whisk until it becomes a little frothy, add the nutmeg to this and then the milk-soda mix then use an electric beater to whisk for about 2 minutes until it becomes frothy. Now add the rest of the flour mixture to this and beat well until you have a smooth batter and the sugar & jaggery have dissolved completely. Pour the batter into the baking tin, on top of the prepared crust, sprinkle the watermelon seeds and bake for about 30 minutes until it is completely done. The top of the cake should have turned a warm golden brown by now. Remove from the oven, allow this to cool on a wire rack and cut into slices. Serve with some coffee or tea.

Perfect for tea time

* You can substitute the nutmeg with any other spice, I know cinnamon will work well too as this cinnamon cake is a huge favourite of mine.
* Use crushed almonds or pistachios to top the cake, any nut will work.
* Will I make this cake again? For sure! I absolutely loved the nutty, crunchy crust but the next time around I’m going to try an eggless version.

Thanks a ton Jason & the Daring Bakers Challenge, I’ve got a cake we’ve all fallen in love with!

I’m sending this recipe to the Bake fest at Sumee’s Culinary Bites that was started by Vardhini of Cook’s Joy


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