My turn hosting the Daring Bakers challenge



This month I baked, filmed, photographed, and ate…but well before the usual first of the month start date. I had the pleasure of hosting the Daring Bakers challenge, and, as a nod to my Armenian heritage—I refuse to have Kim Kardashian be the only association people have to Armenians—I introduced participants to an easy-to-make nutmeg coffee cake and that most Armenian pastry of all, nazook. For the latter, which I had eaten since I was a kid but never actually made, I made a flight down to L.A. and filmed my aunt Aida making it. She’s the one featured in the video below (after the jump).

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 loved all the pictures of the variations people made to both. For some reason, lots of people had difficulty with the nutmeg cake not cooking in the time I specified, and had to cook it for much longer. I’m not sure if their ingredients were cold, if the oven hadn’t completely preheated, or if my oven just runs hotter than normal. The nazook variations were awesome. I remember my aunt said you could fill it with just about anything. My cousin Vivian, her daughter, asked, “Chocolate?” to which Aida answered, “No. Not chocolate.” Some of the challenge participants were nevertheless undeterred, and baked them with chocolate anyway. They were reportedly very delicious.

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30 Comments »

  1. Thanks for a great challenge! I’m one of the people who had to bake the cake longer than expected. My ingredients had been out only for about 15 min while preheating the oven (checked temp via thermometer). Was the butter supposed to be room temp? I assumed it was supposed to be cold since we were cutting it together like pie crust and the recipe didn’t say to soften it. I was also wondering if the longer cooking time might have been because I eyeballed dividing the crumb mixture in half. Maybe if I had less crumbs in the batter portion it would be more liquid and therefore take longer to bake? I also set my cake pan on a sheet tray so there wouldn’t be any leakage on the oven bottom, so perhaps that should have been preheated as well. No matter, the result was very tasty even if it did take a bit longer!

    Comment by Rebecca — April 27, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  2. Jason, thank you SO much! This was one of my favourite Daring Bakers’ challenges. Uncomplicated recipes and instructions, yet they produced some of the best baked goods I’ve tasted. The challenge also prompted me to learn more about the history of the Armenians in Malaysia. Great job! BTW, have you started baking these pastries yourself? ;-)

    Comment by Jane @ The Wayward Oven — April 27, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  3. Thanks for a fun challenge! I only had time to make the nutmeg cake this month, but I’ll be making the nazook someday soon, too. I’ll definitely be making the nutmeg cake again!

    Comment by Jeanne — April 27, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  4. I just wanted to thank you for the amazing recipes for this month’s challenge. The nutmeg cake was ahhhmazing. I truly think it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.

    Comment by Rhyann — April 27, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  5. [...] 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 [...]

    Pingback by Nazook: April’s Daring Bakers Challenge « Home Schooled Baking — April 28, 2012 @ 12:54 am

  6. Hi Jason,

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful recipes at the Daring Bakers Challenge. I made both and cannot decide which one I prefer, they are just so scrumptious.

    Comment by Kristin — April 28, 2012 @ 2:54 am

  7. Jason, I was wondering when you were going to write about it…Thank you, it’s been a great challenge! I went with the classics and loved them so much. And don’t worry, not everyone associates Armenia with KK – at least to us Europeans, they are almost unknown :))

    Comment by Irina — April 28, 2012 @ 3:39 am

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the DELICIOUS challenge. Both recipes were outstandingly amazing, and I plan to make them both again in the future! Thank you to you and to your wonderful Aunt Aida for helping us all learn a little bit about your heritage! :)

    Comment by Shelley C — April 28, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  9. Thank you so much for a wonderful challenge.
    I only tried the nutmeg cake but really can’t wait to try the nazook.
    This challenge was different and I really loved it. Thank you and please pass my thanks to your Aunt

    Comment by Sawsan (Chef in disguise) — April 28, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

  10. Hi, Jason, I only made the nazook sweets, my whole family enjoyed them. Quick to make and really delicious for a sweet tooth like me :))
    Most interested also because you are thus allowing to learn something about Armenian traditions. I will be adding to my post a little research work in the next few days.

    Comment by Rosy — April 29, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  11. [...] over to Jason’s site for the recipe. He’s also filmed a video of his Aunt Aida making the pastry, how adorable ;) Thank you Jason [...]

    Pingback by April 2012 Daring Bakers – Nazook! | From Cass with Love — April 29, 2012 @ 2:55 am

  12. Thanks for a great challenge! I made 2 cakes and a batch of nazook. The cake recipe reminded me of an Armenian orange cake with allspice that I used to make using the same crumb technique. i must dig it out next time I visit my mother.

    Comment by Mary — April 29, 2012 @ 7:31 am

  13. Hey Jason!

    That was a fun challenge to participate in. It was my first DBC and I’m more than just pleased with the result :) I thought the timing and the measurements of the ingredients that you gave were spot on, this is definitely something that I’m going to make again and maybe very often too!

    Here’s the link at my space, do take a look: http://renuka-pinchofsalt.blogspot.in/2012/04/dare-to-bake.html

    Comment by Renuka — April 29, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  14. Jason, I loved this challenge! I made the nazook (mmmm….), and now want to try the nutmeg cake as well. Thanks for the great videos, too!

    Comment by Jessica — April 29, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  15. Thanks for introducing us to these gorgeous recipes, Jason. I’ve only tried the nutmeg cake so far (delicious!), but I’m very keen to try the nazook too. Soon! Soon! Thanks again. :)

    Comment by Suz — April 29, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  16. I have some nazook in the oven right now and the first piece I snagged out as a tester is gorgeous! Thanks very much for posting the recipe and the fabulous video with your auntie. She was great.

    Comment by Valerie — April 30, 2012 @ 1:00 am

  17. Thank you Jason for a great challenge ! I had a good time making the nutmeg cake and thanks to your wonderful Aunt Aida’s video instructions making nazook would be a breeze ! :)

    Comment by Amruta — April 30, 2012 @ 3:20 am

  18. Jason, thank you sooooo much for this challenge! I had never heard of or tasted nazook (or mahleb!) before, and it is definitely now a comfort food stable. I was just wondering – is the yeasted dough traditionally kneaded for such a long time? I have never tasted nazook before, but have a feeling it’s supposed to be flakier than I made it.

    Comment by Melissa Bedinger — April 30, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  19. I made the Nazook and it was SO good! It also was unlike any other pastry I’ve ever made… Thank you for a great challenge.

    Comment by Sarah — April 30, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  20. Thank you so much for the challenge. It was my very first one too. I made the nazook, which finished within 24 hours between 4 family members :) Much thanks for your Aunt Aida’s video- it truly was enlightening!

    Comment by Tisa — April 30, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  21. I loved this challenge. Great job hosting.

    Comment by Barbara @ Barbara Bakes — May 1, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  22. Thanks for the challenge Jason – everyone loved the Nazook!

    Comment by Todd — May 1, 2012 @ 8:41 am

  23. Thank you for the delicious challenge! The nazook was new to me — and delicious.

    Comment by Erica — May 1, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  24. Thanks for such an awesome challenge Jason! I only had the time to make the Nutmeg cake this month, but I loved how it turned out! I am still planning on making the nazook, too!

    Comment by Jenni — May 1, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  25. Thanks for sharing these delicious recipes with all of us, Jason! Both were so good and so simple!

    Comment by Korena — May 1, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  26. Hey, thank you Jason for such an innovative challenge, it’s lovely to try things from different cultures! I baked the nutmeg cake and it was great to break away from fruit inspired sweets as is my usual!

    Comment by jo @ includingcake — May 3, 2012 @ 8:28 am

  27. Thanks for sharing a delicious new treat with us. Our nazooks came out beautifully, and the recipe was a cinch!

    Comment by Sara C. — May 3, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  28. Thank you so much for hosting and the Nazook recipe in particular. They were amazing!! Something I will definitely make again.

    Comment by Monica (@gastromony) — May 6, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  29. [...] tirei fotografias do processo, mas aqui fica uma do vídeo original, que podem encontrar aqui (assim como a receita original, onde falam das variações do recheio), e onde vão poder ver uma [...]

    Pingback by Nazouk – Desafio Daring Bakers de Abril « Mogu-Mogu — May 9, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  30. Thanks so……much for the awesome video. I am trying the Nazook today and I am sure my family will love it :)

    Comment by Asha — May 27, 2012 @ 4:03 am

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