Friday, April 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Armenian Nazook and Nutmeg Cake

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

I had never heard of nazook or Armenian nutmeg cake before this challenge, but both of these treats were delicious and very simple to prepare!  The nazook reminded me of rugelach, with its flaky dough and sweet filling.  I tried the traditional vanilla filling, but I definitely plan on making this again and experimenting with other flavors.  The nutmeg cake was a very sweet coffee cake with just a hint of nutmeg.  I really liked how the brown sugar crust caramelized in the oven, giving the cake a toffee-like flavor.

Rolling up the nazook dough with vanilla filling.

Ready to bake.


Makes 40 pieces

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, for egg wash (optional)

1. Make dough: Sift flour into large bowl and mix in yeast.  Add sour cream and butter and work into a dough with your hands.  Knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is no longer sticky, adding a little bit of flour if needed.  Cover dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours.

2. Prepare filling by mixing together flour, sugar, butter and vanilla.  Mixture should have a sandy texture.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F.

4. Cut dough into quarters.  Roll one of the quarters into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll into a thin rectangle.

5. Spread 1/4 of the filling over dough.  Roll dough into a long, thin log.  Apply egg wash and cut log into 10 equal pieces.

6. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 30 minutes, until tops are browned.  Allow to cool and enjoy!

Ingredients for Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Ready to bake.


Nutmeg Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake

1 cup whole milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix baking soda into milk and set aside.

3. Sift together flour and baking powder into large bowl. Mix in brown sugar.  Add butter and mash with a fork or your fingers, until mixture is uniform and crumbly.

4. Press half of the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, forming a crust.

5. Beat egg and nutmeg together with whisk or stand mixer.  Beat until frothy, then add milk and baking soda mixture.  Continue mixing until uniform.  Stir in the rest of the crumbly flour mixture with a spatula, until well mixed.

6. Pour batter over crust in springform pan.  Sprinkle walnut pieces onto top of  batter.  

7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan, then release.

-Posted by Jennifer