Monday 23rd April: a succinct message pings into my Outlook at work 5 minutes after I have left cake out for my department. It is from one of my contemporaries. ‘Sarah there is a queue for your cake’.
Let me explain the origins of this unusual cake. 3 weeks ago, after a tense month of waiting, I gained approval to become a ‘Daring Baker’. The somewhat clandestine ‘Daring Bakers’ community comprises baking bloggers who every month are set a baking challenge which they all blog about after a certain date.
And there are rules. Blog about or reveal the challenge early and you’re out; miss more than 4 challenges a year and you’re escorted out of the building. What can I say, I like to live life on the edge.
This month’s challenge- Armenian Nutmeg Cake- was set on 1st April. I had never heard of Armenian Nutmeg Cake before but I suppose that’s the point of the Daring Bakers. I was pleased that my first challenge was a straightforward one- we will see what next month brings. This cake turned out better than expected and apparently went down a treat. It’s unusual, moreish and goes very well with a coffee or two. My only quibble is with the sugar content- my eyes watered when I read that I had to add 400g of brown sugar.
The Monday morning email kept me amused all week. I was told by someone else that I might never be allowed to move department- I laughed uneasily. I’m not sure they will still be thanking me four months down the line.
Armenian Nutmeg Cake (adapted from a recipe by Jason at DailyCandor.com)
240 ml whole milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
280g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
400g brown sugar (I used dark but light would probably be fine)
170g unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line a 9 in/23cm springform tin.
2. Mix the baking soda in with the milk.
3. In a food processor, whizz together the flour, baking powder and brown sugar.
4. Add the butter and continue to mix.
5. Take half the mixture out of the processor and press into the base of the springform tin with your hands to create the crust (the mixture will resemble crumble topping).
6. Break the egg into the remaining mixture and add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Continue to mix.
7. Finally, add the milk and blend until the mixture is well combined.
8. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for about an hour. Cover with foil if it is browning too much. It is done when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
9. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds as soon as it is out of the oven and cool in the tin.