I honestly didn't have a whole lot to do with Turkey Day this year. We keep trying to cut back on the normal mass quantities of food we prepare, and this time around, I was asked to make just one new side and one new dessert. It didn't occur to me until Thursday morning that this was the first holiday since I was probably 12 that I haven't made any of the usual Armenian goodies - there were no stuffed grape leaves, no paklava, kadayif, simit, tabouli, etc. We did, of course, have pilaf, and there was Jajig (a cheese dip) and pita chips, but that's as far as it went. I didn't even make one cookie or pie! It's not that we didn't have enough food, so it wasn't missed in that way. It just seemed to me like something was missing. Anyhow, when trying to think of a new dessert, eggnog automatically came to mind because of the season. What goes in eggnog? Nutmeg -- so I got it in my head to make a Nutmeg Cake with Eggnog Frosting. I looked online for Nutmeg cakes to find a starting point and had to laugh when I was faced with page after page of ARMENIAN Nutmeg Cake. Who knew?!?
I looked at a few, then modified a bit. In looking at the pictures, I had expected this cake to be along the texture of a banana bread, but it was really more on the drier end of the spectrum, like a tea cake. As for the frosting, that was an epic fail! The only recipes I saw involved eggs and flour, etc., so that didn't appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. I decided to wing it and start with a stick of cream cheese, a stick of butter, and some eggnog and see where it went. Does "From Bad To Worse" sound familiar to anyone???
I beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, then mixed in a half cup of eggnog and a tablespoon of brandy. It soaked it right up, and I hadn't even added any sugar yet, so I thought OK, great - I can use a whole cup. WRONG!!! I added another half cup, then started adding powdered sugar. I added, and added, and added. It just wouldn't come together. I stopped when it got to the point where you were about to no longer taste the eggnog and just taste sugar. I was contemplating scrapping the whole thing and trying again, but then I said the heck with it. It tasted good. I just couldn't torte and frost the cake like I had planned. Instead, I sliced it, spooned on some "sauce," and sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon on top.
This will now torture me until I make it right. Hopefully, I can forget about it for now and try it again next year, but knowing me, it will nag at me and not let me go until I do it again - soon. Regardless of the frosting aspect, I think when I do the cake again, I'll try adding a tablespoon or two of either yogurt or apple sauce.
2 c flour
2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground clove
1 1/2 c light brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
10 T (1 stick + 2T) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c milk
1 t vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 350 and spray loaf pan with cooking spray (baking version with flour).
In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients, then cut in the butter, using a fork or pastry cutter.
Measure out 3/4 c milk in a measuring cup, then beat your egg right in the cup with the milk, stir in the vanilla, then blend into the dry ingredients.
Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for about an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 5-10", then remove to rack to cool completely.