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Armenian Nutmeg Cake

November 1, 2014

An old lunchbox favourite

An old lunchbox favourite

Where is Armenia?

This tiny country is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran to the south. I didn’t even know there was a country called Georgia. Forgive my ignorance. On researching, I note that Armenian cuisine is very similar to that of Turkish or Iranian.

Lamb, eggplant, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine.  Armenians use lots of cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to maize and rice popular among their Caucasian neighbours (Georgia and Azerbaijan).

But try as I might, I cannot find any traditional recipe or history on the Armenian Nutmeg Cake.

I dug out this recipe after watching the nutmeg episode of Spice Trip, a good British TV series. It was an old favourite and an easy “food-processor” cake in the days before making cake in a blender became normal!

The traditional recipe is copiously sweet with equal amounts of sugar and flour! It has a crunchy base and light cake topping, and tastes delicious. Apparently Armenian cooking is noted for its use of spices although I could find very little to substantiate this. The nutmeg adds an earthy fragrance as the main focus.

Nutmeg is known for its many health benefits and has been used to help indigestion, pain relief and is a brain tonic. It has great antibacterial properties, and has been used for centuries in dentistry. In fact, I have vivid memories of the nutmeg cloud wafting from my childhood dentists’ clinic. It’s little wonder that I still love this spice!

I have adapted this aromatic recipe to be gluten & dairy free. As I felt so guilty using a GF flour that I didn’t make, I added some grated carrot too. (Yep, I know, there’s a warped sense of logic in that!)

I also reduced the amount of sugar which causes the base to be less crunchy but it doesn’t detract at all. The cake freezes well and I always get asked for the recipe whenever I serve it to friends. In my picture, you will see a few green specks. This is because I used some sunflower seeds as I ran out of almonds. They have a tendency to go green in baking – feel free to substitute all of the nuts for sunflower seeds to make this nut-free!

1 whole nutmeg
50g almonds
280g GF flour
4 teas baking powder
150g rapadura or coconut sugar (I used Natvia)
30g molasses or honey
100g macadamia or olive oil
1 tab water
200g almond milk (or any nut milk)
3 eggs
100g grated carrot
50g chopped walnuts
 
Mill the nutmeg on SP 10 for 1 minute. Add the almonds and mill for another 10 seconds on SP 9. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, oil & honey and mix on SP 6 for 20 seconds. It will be crumbly and loose. If it is too dry, add the tablespoon of water.
 
Weigh out 200g of the mix and press into a lined square tin. With the remaining mix, add the egg & milk and mix on SP 6 until smooth & creamy. Stir through the carrot and pour on top of the base. Sprinkle with walnuts and cook for 40 – 45 minutes at 170°C. 
 

 

 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jude Irwin permalink
    February 7, 2017 2:16 pm

    Hi. I am again finding your abbreviations confusing. As far as I know, after 67 years of life and much cooking, teaspoon is always abbreviated “tsp.” or “Tsp.” and tablespoon as “Tbsp” or ” tbsp”. The SP references are lost on me. Also… I’m not a health freak and this harping on about “gee, this has gluten, and I didn’t make the flour myself” makes me cringe. Please stop trying to be “worthy” and “greener that green” and just let us have the recipes!

  2. November 3, 2014 9:55 am

    Made this on the weekend and was quickly eaten up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. November 2, 2014 4:31 pm

    My house smells divine! I used to make a nutmeg cake before I broke up with gluten…thankyou for doing the homework for me..I put you in my newsletter!

  4. November 2, 2014 6:30 am

    I love with these ingredients – I need to pin it 🙂

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