Do you want to know how I seduced Mr NQN into liking me? Well it was with an animation of Santa with a turkey down his pants. I'm pretty smooth that way don't you think? ;)
I should explain that Mr NQN had made a Christmas card animation for his work and sent it around to all of his friends, me included. It was an Australian themed Christmas card of Santa's North Pole house so among the usual Santa paraphernalia there was a beer, sausages and a turkey on the table. We were supposed to position the objects in his room accordingly and write a Christmassy message. So with nothing to lose except my dignity, I stuffed the turkey down his pants and put a beer in one hand and a sausage in the other. I typed out my message to read "Want some turkey?" and pressed send.
The minutes that passed felt like slow moving honey. It was a few minutes later that I got a message back from Mr NQN.
"LOL you're funny" he said allowing me to take a breath.
Cake making is also all about seduction. It's about making people like you, after all if you just wanted to feed someone, you could make them a sandwich. But cakes are like wearing a push up bra and high heels and doing your hair and make up. They signify that much more trouble that you've gone to. This month's Daring Bakers challenge of an Armenian Nutmeg cake was seductive indeed. Surprisingly, it was an easy cake to make and can be done without any special equipment and if I could urge you to bake a cake this month, please make it this (and it can stand substitutions if you prefer cinnamon to nutmeg or other nuts to pistachios).
The cake itself is aromatic with spices but with three layers. The bottom layer is dense and crumbly, like a buttery pastry biscuit, the middle layer so soft and light and the top with the scattering of pistachios is nutty and crunchy. Honey is then drizzled on top and tiny edible rose petals scattered to give the cake a pink and green hue with a glistening finish and you might just have seduction personified. The closest relation I could think of this cake was probably baklava with the buttery honey and nutty flavours and if that aint sexy I don't know what is.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever used food to seduce someone? And if so, what did you cook? And what food do you think is sexy?
Blog-checking lines: 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.
Armenian Nutmeg Cake With Rose, Honey & Pistachios
Adapted from DailyCandor
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda (bi carb of soda)
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (? oz) baking powder
1.5 cups (300 gm/10.5 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup (1½ sticks/170 gm/6 oz) butter, cubed, chilled
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons (5 to 7 ½ ml) (5 to 8 gm) freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
Edible dried rose petals
1/4 cup runny honey
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Line a 21cm springform tin with baking paper on the base and sides and wrap some foil around the outside of the tin as the butter tends to leak from the springform tin when baking. In a cup mix the baking soda and milk and set aside. In a large food processor add the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and butter and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can also do this with a pastry cutter or by rubbing the butter between your fingers). Place half of the above mixture in the base of the springform patting it down with fingers to make a base and set aside.
Step 2 - In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg and nutmeg for 2 minutes until fluffy and pale (you can do this by hand, just whisk for a few minutes longer until you get it to the right consistency). Add the vanilla and the milk and soda mixture and whisk until combined. Then add the remaining half of the flour and butter mixture and mix until smooth (you can still use the whisk for this as it is quite liquidy still). Pour on top of the base crumbs and then sprinkle the pistachio on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean - many have found that while the top looks cooked, the batter is runny underneath so try the skewer in several places.
Step 3 - When cake is ready, remove from oven and allow to cool. While doing this, heat honey gently and then using pastry brush, spread honey over the top of the cake. Sprinkle edible rose petals which will stick to the honey. Serve warm.