I saw this recipe on a few blogs because it was the daring bakers challenge (on Lorraine’s blog here and Sawsan’s blog here) and I was immediately drawn to it. I love spice cakes and combined with nuts and rose petals? I just couldn’t resist. Poor Sawsan had an issue with her cake, but I loved that she posted it anyway! It’s a very tasty cake and I will more than likely make it again.
We were having friends Rae and Monica over for dinner and they like dessert (but not rich chocolate, for some reason) so I am always on the lookout for something new to try. Lorraine topped her cake with a gorgeous combo of pistachios and edible rose petals…OMG so lovely, and she also made a light syrup to drizzle over it, which I also did. Unfortunately I did not have edible rose petals nor pistachios so I used dried cherries and mixed nuts. I also added a bit of cognac to the honey drizzle for some adult effects!
Now I must digress for a moment and talk about that jar you see in the background. It is a jar or Turkish nuts (variety) in honey. My friend Barb of Profiteroles and Ponytails gave it to me last year and I have hesitated to open it because of my previously bad behaviour (I devoured the last jar in a matter of months, just standing at the pantry and spooning copious amounts into my mouth); so I stashed it at the back and immediately forgot about it. We were out for dinner with Barb and Carol, a good friend from out East when I remembered that I had the jar in my pantry. I mentioned I was going to bake this cake and we all agreed the nuts would be exceptional on the cake as décor, texture and flavour. Carol asked how I used up my first jar: I said I stood in front of the pantry and ate it by spoonfuls until it was no longer. I don’t think she believed me, but it’s true!
Armenian Nutmeg Cake
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk
- 1 tsp baking soda (bi carb of soda)
- 2 cups all-purpose (unbleached) flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3/4 cup butter, cubed, chilled
- 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
- 1/4 cup Turkish nuts with honey (or just 1/4 cup nuts and 1/4 cup honey)
- 2 tbsp cognac (you can also use rosewater instead, however I find the flavour a little too strong, plus I prefer booze )
- Preheat oven to 340°F. Line a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper on the base and sides. In a cup mix the baking soda and milk and set aside. In a large food processor add the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and butter and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Place half of the above mixture in the base of the pan patting it down with fingers to make a base and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg and nutmeg for 2 minutes until fluffy and pale. Add the vanilla and the milk and soda mixture and whisk until combined. Then add the remaining half of the flour and butter mixture and mix until smooth (you can still use the whisk for this as it is quite liquidy still). Pour on top of the base crumbs and then sprinkle the walnuts on top (my walnuts baked right into the cake, they actually fell into the centre, so I will suggest you fold the walnuts into the cake. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean – many have found that while the top looks cooked, the batter is runny underneath so try the skewer in several places.
- When cake is ready, remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan (thank you Sawsan for your experience). While doing this, heat nuts and honey mixture gently and add the cognac. Pour the nut and honey mixture over the top of the cake allowing the honey to soak into the cake. Sprinkle the chopped dried cherries over the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I used the loaf pan because I knew I wanted a certain sized cube as a small portion. I dressed each portion individually for my dinner party. I froze the remainder of the cake.