What makes a cake Armenian? Good question. You can imagine my surprise when I excitedly told my neighbor that I was making an Armenian Nutmeg Cake and she responded with, "I don't think there is such a cake." My neighbor who is an Armenian cook par excellence checked all of her cookbooks for me...there was no mention of a Nutmeg Cake. I researched Armenian cooking to see which spices were most often used when preparing sweet dishes....cinnamon was the winner.
My neighbor talked to her mom and her sisters...they had never heard of it. I did find a Walnut Cake..maybe that morphed into this fabulous Nutmeg Cake. Who knows? Whatever its origin, it meets the taste test....my neighbor even requested the recipe so she could make it for her mom.
Armenian or not Armenian, this cake meets the taste test! Could I have another slice, please? What, it is good for breakfast, too? That works for me!
And why would I be making an Armenian cake? Well, today is reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club and I was assigned Susie's wonderful blog, Eat Little, Eat Big. Susie's blog is all about "striving to eat healthy without sacrificing the pleasures of good, tasty food and the occasional splurge." I must admit that I really struggled to select a recipe...there were so many that appealed to me. I looked at the Chicken Curry and the Greek Salad but the Armenian Nutmeg Cake won! I will be visiting Susie often but since she is on Maui, I will have to limit myself to desk chair visits!
This cake can double as a dessert or a breakfast cake. It has two wonderful layers. The bottom layer is a mixture of brown sugar, flour and butter. It is firm and a great base for the cake layer which has a delightful crumb. Susie discussed that some bakers had issues with the nuts migrating to the bottom or that it wasn't done in the allotted baking time. Looking at the ingredients I did a little adjusting. Instead of using 1% milk, I substituted sour cream...I used a whole egg instead of just the white. Okay, I missed the healthy point......but...it was so delicious.....and I only ate it for dessert and for breakfast....twice.
Armenian Nutmeg Cake
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup cold butter, roughly chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (You may use your fingers or the food processor. I used the processor.)
Add the sugar and combine.
Press half of this mixture evenly over the base of the prepared pan. Reserve the other half.
Dissolve the baking soda in the sour cream, add the beaten egg and nutmeg, then the reserved mixture. Combine well.
Pour into the pan and sprinkle the nuts and some cinnamon, if desired, over the top.
Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Start testing for doneness at 45 minutes. My cake was done at 45 minutes.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
You won't be sorry that you made this delightful cake!!