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Indonesian Nutmeg Cake

October 24, 2010

My idea of the perfect weekend? One with friends spent eating, drinking, drinking and eating with an occasional interruption for a walk on the beach. We’ve just resurfaced from just such a weekend with our dearly departed neighbors, a visit that torrential rain couldn’t damped (hehe). And not only did they supply us with eating (steak!), drinking (bubbly!), dog-friendly accommodation (sorry, kittehs!) and a walk on the beach, there was also a baby so sweet you could eat him for dessert.

Hence the need for an alternative after dinner confection. But what to make in a prosecco-and-laughter-fueled haze?

Jessie had bookmarked the Indonesian Nutmeg Cake in the regretfully named Bake Your Cake and Eat It Too, a book full of other really delicious sounding (and pointedly international) things like Austrian Maple Cake and Israeli Pecan Date Cake.

The Indonesian Nutmeg Cake was singled out because it had the least number of ingredients and shortest list of instructions: perfect criteria when it’s 8:30 PM, the steaks are about to be popped on the grill and the third (or was it fourth?) bottle is ready to be popped open.

And though the cake is simple enough to make while half in the bag (see crumbs on recipe page), its flavors and textures are complex and surprising. After mixing some of the ingredients together, you push half of the batter, which is made entirely by hand – no mixers, no melting, no creaming – into the bottom of a greased cake tin; you mix the rest with the remaining ingredients, then pour the batter over the pressed crumbs. This results in a fantastically crunchy, buttery crust topped by a sticky, moist cake.

And while the addition of mixed spice and nutmeg lends what could be construed as an exotic air, I’m not convinced that that air is more Indonesian than Christmas. But it hardly matters. It’s like an alternative version of gingerbread, both the best and the easiest all-purpose holiday cake I’ve ever made, and was appreciated equally with vanilla ice cream for dessert and with coffee for breakfast.

It is just another thing to add to the list of things that made me happy about the weekend, which was, all in all, pretty great: the dog’s exhausted, my belly’s full, and the baby lived to see another day.

Printable Recipe


Gorgeous, easy, and delicious…the perfect cake? All I know is I can’t wait to keep trying this cake with a different mixture of spices though I’m fairly sure you could exclude the spices altogether and this would still be a fantastic cake. But unless you have an aversion to nutmeg, I don’t recommend it. You could swap out the mixed spice (which is a typical British combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) for just cinnamon or add some cardamom or ground ginger. Recipe adapted from Bake Your Cake And Eat It Too by Tamara Milstein.

2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon mixed spice (cinnamon + nutmeg + allspice)
130 grams (9 tablespoons / 1 stick + 1 tbl) butter

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a springform cake pan.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and mixed spice. Crumble in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Press almost half of this into the base of the buttered tin.

Mix together the egg, milk, baking soda and nutmeg; add this to the remaining batter and mix until combined, then pour over pressed batter in tin. Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serve for dessert with ice cream or whipped cream or custard sauce, or for breakfast.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kath permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:52 am

    mmm…this looks delicious!


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