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Armenian Nutmeg Cake: April’s Daring Bakers Challenge -Part 2

Armenian Nutmeg Cake was the first of this month’s Daring Bakers recipes. It’s very tasty, very moist, sweeter than would be expected (but not too sweet), and easy to make. However, I did find that the directions provided would not have left me with good results, had I followed them exactly. The main discrepancy I had (which was easy to fix) was that I had to bake my cake for extra time. The directions read 30-40 minutes. At 30 minutes it was nowhere near ready, I left mine in for about 45. So…..If you decide to make this cake, don’t be surprised if it takes extra time to bake.

Ingredients

1 cup (240 ml) milk (I used whole milk)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) baking powder
2 cups (480 ml) (400 gm/14 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed (I used one cup dark and one cup golden. That’s just what I had available.)
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) butter, preferably unsalted, cubed
1/2 cup (120 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) walnut pieces, may need a little more (I omitted the nuts)
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons (5 to 7 ½ ml) (5 to 8 gm) ground nutmeg (try to grate it fresh yourself; the aroma is enchanting)
1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F/175°C
2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder; that’s for the next step) into the milk. Set it aside.
3. Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. One sift is fine
4. Add the brown sugar. Go ahead and mix the flour and brown sugar together. Or not.
5. Add the cubed butter

6. Mash the butter with a fork into the dry ingredients (you can also use your fingers if you want). You’ll want to achieve a more-or-less uniform, tan-colored crumbly mixture.

7. Take HALF of this resulting crumbly mixture into your springform (9”/23cm) pan.Press a crust out of it using your fingers and knuckles. It will be easy.

8. Crack an egg into a mixer or bowl.
9. Toss the nutmeg in with the egg.
10. Start mixing slowly with a whisk attachment and then increase to medium speed, or mix with a hand whisk if you’re doing it manually. Once it’s mixed well (about 1 minute using a standing mixer, or about 2-3 minutes of vigorous beating with a whisk), pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until uniform.
11. Pour in the rest of the crumbly mixture. Mix that well, with either a paddle attachment, or a spatula. Or continue to use the whisk; it won’t make much of a difference, since the resulting batter is very liquidy.

12. Pour the batter over your crust in the springform pan.

13.If desired, gently sprinkle nuts over the batter.

14. Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes, possibly more.  It’s done when the top is a golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

15. Allow to cool in pan, then remove from pan.

Not knowing how sweet the cake would be, I decided to make some caramel sauce with fruit and whipped cream to try along with it. I thought the caramel flavor really complimented the taste of the cake. Next time I’ll certainly serve it with a bit of caramel sauce (I used the recipe off of Sarabeth’s website, but any recipe you like should do).

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