When it comes to her family's passion for baking, Redditor Ninette, who posts as flyGERTIfly, has always believed in sharing the love.
So when she found herself baking through some old family recipes at the start of the COVID-19 quarantine, Ninette, who lives in New York City and asked to keep her last name anonymous, took to the Old_Recipes subreddit to share her family's recipe for Armenian perok cake.
The buttery, jam-covered delight quickly went viral within the group, and has since been named one of Reddit's top five most-discussed recipes of 2020.
"According to my mom, this particular type of perok, a cake topped with apricot jam and a lattice crust, originated from Armenian diasporans living in Tabriz, Iran, which is where my family is from," Ninette told TODAY Food. "This recipe was passed down from my maternal grandmother and has always been a staple in our homes."
Ninette says her family has never been one to "hoard secret recipes," so she was eager to share a part of her family's history with the subreddit. Seeing the cake take off and gain popularity has been a sweet bonus.
"I wasn't expecting the post to get any attention at all, but soon after, people started making it and posting photos of their own versions and it was exciting to see more pop up every day," she said. "I sent every photo — around 60 — that was posted or DM'd to me to my mom. Those early pandemic days felt so grim and dreary, so I was just grateful for the bit of joy that it brought my mom."
Eager to experience the perok joy myself, I gathered the simple ingredients for the cake. After lining my kitchen island with butter, eggs, flour, apricot jam and more, it was time to get to work.
The cake's batter was simple, buttery and thick enough that it stood up to the next instruction to spread the top with apricot jam.
At Ninette's instruction, I saved a bit of batter and added more flour to it so I could roll it out and lay strips of crust across the cake. Unlike the expert baker of Armenian delights, I had an epic fail with my cake: The center collapsed, due, I believe, to using too small a pan.
Nevertheless, the cake was delicious. Warm from the oven, the buttery cake and warm apricot topping melted in my mouth. Sliced and plated, there was zero indication of my mistake.
I'd love to try the perok with other types of jam as well, something about which Ninette has a horror story from her teenage years, so if you want to keep your appetite, skip the below.
"My family took a trip to Iran, and we visited an older family friend for tea one evening," she said, explaining that the friend presented them with a freshly-baked perok when they arrived. "I noticed the jam was a little different … but it was tasty so I didn't think much past that."
"My mom complimented her on the cake and the lady told us for the past couple of months she had been scraping the leftover jam off her and her husband's plates after breakfast every morning so it wouldn't go to waste, and saved it to bake this cake," she continued. "Needless to say, we didn't go back for a second piece and laughed about it as soon as we left."
While I won't be scraping the breakfast dishes, I will be trying this delightful cake again. It would be delicious with a cup of coffee or tea at breakfast, and since the texture reminds me a bit of a cobbler, topping it with vanilla ice cream would be delicious, too.
However it's served, this cake's Reddit renown is well-deserved.