Monday, May 22, 2017

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Technically, I made this cake the first time back in 2012, when I was still involved in the Daring Bakers and trying to keep pace with their monthly challenges. This simple cake didn't go so well the first time around, and it overflowed the pan I tried baking it in. When I needed something to bring to my book club's annual potluck and book pick party, I thought back to the year. We read one book about the Armenian genocide, and I had made nazook that were not good enough to share for that gathering. I decided to make this cake again, but in a bigger pan!

I put the cake on the table with all the dishes and forgot to take a picture of it. So I snapped this quick photo next to a pile of some of the books we are considering. You can't really see it, but I did notice a few people having multiple pieces (to me: always a sign of success!)

Is it bad to admit that even though I did want to bake for my reading class, the main reason I baked this cake again was to take a better picture of it? I brought another one in to eat while we watched a documentary on the romance novel industry. The cake starts with a crumble, a very unusual method, and half the crumble of flour, brown sugar, and butter gets dumped into the pan and makes a crust. The rest gets whisked with milk and eggs and is more of a coffee cake type batter. Everything is sprinkled with nuts - the recipe said walnuts, I used hazelnuts. It is simple yet delicious. Some of the book club members felt they tasted rosemary but I think it was just a large amount of fresh hazelnut that had a somewhat mysterious taste.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake
(recipe from Jason at Daily Candor)
  • 1 cup milk (whole preferred)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (or more) walnut pieces (or another nut)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz (170 g) butter, preferably unsalted, at room temperature
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp ground nutme, freshly grated
  • a springform pan (9"/23 cm should be perfect)*


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Mix the 1 tsp of baking soda (not baking powder; that's for the next step) into the milk. Set it aside.
  3. Sift the 2 cups of flour and 2 tsp of baking powder into a large bowl. One sift is fine
  4. Add the 2 cups of brown sugar. Go ahead and mix the flour and brown sugar together.
  5. Toss in the 6 oz (170 g) of butter in cubes.
  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  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. Grate 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Toss that in with the egg.
  10. Start mixing with a whisk attachment, or a whisk if you're doing it manually. Once it's mixed well and frothy, 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 the crust in the springform pan.
  13. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
  14. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 350F (175C). You'll know it's done when the top is a golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  15. Allow to cool in the pan, and then release. Enjoy!
*Both times, I used a 9x13 pan and it was perfectly baked at 30 minutes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bakery Review: Buttermilk Bakery, Winter Park, FL

On a long drive home from Orlando last weekend, my husband and I stopped first at Buttermilk Bakery. It had been recommended to me by one of the other librarians, and I had been following them in Instagram for a few months. I knew from their feed that they were champions of brunch and laminated doughs, among other treats. I expected there to be a line outside the door, but we got there pretty early and before brunch started, and after the academic year ended, I think. Good timing, anyway.

All the treats are visible where you order, lines of savory and sweet pastries. The loaves of bread available that day were immediately behind the cashier, and they looked amazing. It was incredibly hard to choose, but because we'd had a bit of a sweet overload, we went mostly with savory (but Nathaniel did get one of the cinnamon sugar donuts.) Libby's favorite treat is the kouign aman and I wish I'd tried one of those; I am also regretting not getting a homemade pop tart!

This is the kind of bakery I would want to work in if I had gone that direction in my life. Creative offerings, incredible quality, and I highly recommend it.