Daring Bakers’ April Challenge : Nazook and Nutmeg Cake

Hey guys!

Ready to try something new?

” 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.”

This is exactly what I like about the Daring Bakers’ Challenges: going out of my confort zone.  Yes I do try a lot of recipes, but they revolve mostly around things I do know and, well, chocolate (just look at my keywords cloud!). But I’m really glad I try both of these recipes. They are different and very good! Oh and I’m not usually a big fan of nutmeg but the crust, the cake and the walnuts just go so well together!

You can see the whole challenge here (with step by step pictures). I made half of each recipe and used salted butter.


Yields 40 pieces

Pastry dough
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup sour cream
1 cup softened butter (room temperature)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 whole egg

Make the Pastry Dough

1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling

7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook

10. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
14. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
15. From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.
16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
20. Allow to cool and enjoy!


Armenian Nutmeg Cake
Makes one 9”/23cm cake which yields 12 servings

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup butter, preferably unsalted, cubed
1/2 cup walnut pieces, may need a little more
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
1 egg

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F .
2. Mix the baking soda into the milk. Set aside.
3. Put the flour, baking powder, and the brown sugar into your food processor. Pulse until uniformly mixed.
4. Toss in the cubed butter. Pulse until uniformly mixed into tan-colored crumbs.
5. Pour HALF of the crumbs into your springform (9”/23cm) pan. Press out a crust using your fingers and knuckles.
6. Crack the egg into the food processor with the rest of the crumbs still in it.
7. Grate 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Toss that into the food processor, too. Pulse until well-incorporated.
8. Pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until a slightly lumpy tan batter is formed.
9. Pour the batter over the crust in the springform pan.
10. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
11. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 30-40 minutes. It’s ready when the top is golden brown, and when it passes the toothpick test (comes out clean).
12. Cool the cake in the pan, and then dig in. Yum yum!

Cookie and Cream White Chocolate Mousse

Cookie and Cream White Chocolate Mousse

Hey everyone!

Hope you are all having a great time, at work, at school, at home, etc 😉 I cannot say I’m having that great a time this week but vacations are coming. 😀 I’m going to see the ocean for the first time in my life!!! I guess at 26 it’s not too early 😉 Punta Cana here we come!

This mousse was inspired by a delicious dessert we ate at Disney World, the Oreo Bon Bons. Apparently it’s one of their signature desserts and it’s available at The Cape May Cafe only (Beach Club Resort). It was very good and this mousse is too! But I found that it’s better the day after you make them!

Cookie and Cream White Chocolate Mousse

Cookie and Cream White Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Pastry Pal 

1/2 cup milk
6 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup heavy cream
9 whole Double Stuff Oreo cookies (you can go with simple, but, you know, it’s not the same 😉 )
6 Oreo cookies crumbled (without the stuff, 12 cookies in fact)
9 tiny Oreos and about 1/2 cup whipped cream to garnish

1. Prepare the mousse collar. Cut 9 pieces of wax paper of approximately 6.5 inches (16 cm) by 4 inches (10 cm). Place each Oreo Cookie in a pan line with parchment paper. Wrap a waxed paper collar around the base of each Oreo, keeping bottom flush with baking sheet (Example with Neapolitan Mousse). Secure each collar with tape. Try to make them very tight because the mousse will be runny when you pour it.
2. Bloom the gelatin. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cool water and allow to bloom
3. In a saucepan, simmer the milk. Add the gelatin and let it dissolve.
4. Pour the gelatin/milk over the white chocolate. Whisk it up until smooth.
5. Whip the cream to soft peak stage and fold a third of it in the chocolate to lighten. Fold the remaining cream and add the cookie crumbs.
6. Pour over each Oreos using a funnel.
7. Refrigerate until set then garnish with whipped cream and a tiny Oreo.

Cookie and Cream White Chocolate Mousse

Mousse au chocolat

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Ganache

Hello everyone!
Hope you all had a great Easter holiday! We did! We ate waaayyy too much chocolate though! Well we ate too much period 😉 Here are the cupcakes I have shown beside the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. They are pretty much the same as Sweetapolita’s cupcakes, but I didn’t take her cupcake batter recipe. It should be the last Sweetapolita’s recipe for a while, I know I’ve been all over her recipes for the last few posts 😉


Perfectly Chocolate Cake
From Sing for your Supper
Yield : 24 cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 F and line cupcake pans with liners.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin).
Pour batter into cupcake liners.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
From Sweetapolita
Yield: 5 cups

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Add egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).  Add vanilla and salt, mix well. Add about a 1/2 pint of fresh washed & dried raspberries. Add a drop or 2 of pink gel colour to get a pinker look.


Add chocolate ganache.

Cupcake Assembly
1. Frost the cupcakes.
2. Drizzle the top of the cupcake with chocolate ganache.
3. Top with sprinkles and a fresh raspberry.


Campfire Cupcakes

Campfire Cupcakes

Hey guys!

How are you? How about trying out this A-MA-ZING recipe from Sweetapolita. These cupcakes were a huge hit! My boyfriend even told me that it was the best chocolate recipe I had done so far, nothing less! So you want to try it now, right?

 But before stepping into the recipe, I’ll tell you how I did the “fire” chocolate toppers. I’m writing “fire” because it doesn’t look much like fire (would make great ghosts or fleur-de-lys) :S It’s really simple you’ll see. Just draw the design you want on a sheet of paper (draw the number you need). Place a piece of wax paper over the designs.


Then trace the designs with melted chocolate (you can just use a Ziploc bag and cut a corner).


If you know how to temper chocolate, then do it, you’ll have a great result! Me? I still have to learn it. My first “fires” were in black chocolate, they were perfect until they set and became a little white : ewwww. So when I will know how to temper chocolate I will do a nice post on the subject 😉


Campfire Cupcakes
Recipe from Sweetapolita

Yield: about 24 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee (can be hot)
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared cupcake pan until 2/3 full (or just less). Batter will be liquidy.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks in pans for 5 minutes then gently turn cupcakes onto racks until completely cool.

Toasted-Marshmallow Filling         
Yield: Enough to fill ~18-24 Campfire Cupcakes

8 large white marshmallows
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 oz Marshmallow Cream or Marshmallow Fluff

Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them–they burn very, very quickly.


Combine butter and icing sugar in electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low until blended (about 1 minute). Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream, toasted marshmallows, and salt, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

Malted Chocolate Frosting         
Yield: With half of the recipe I frosted 5 cupcakes

1 cup butter  at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup Ovaltine (Classic) or malt powder (I use original Ovaltine Classic, brown in colour)
4 oz  bittersweet chocolate, chopped and  melted
1/4 cup whipping cream

In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and Ovaltine (I use original, brown in colour), and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute. Best used right away, but once piped, keeps well at room temperature.

Assembly of the Campfire Cupcakes
1. Once cupcakes are cool, cut a cone shape hole from the top centre of the cupcake downward, using a sharp paring knife.
2. Using a small spoon fill the cupcake hole with Toasted Marshmallow Filling until it’s level with the top of the cupcake.

3. Swirl the Malted Chocolate Frosting on top of the cupcakes.
4. Add the decoration of your choice.

Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Here is a close-up of the frosting. You will hate me for that. I’m a bad person 😛