(serves 8 to 10)
3/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds and hazelnuts
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp mahlab or 1 tbsp anise seeds
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
A coin or hard candy
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and a 4-inch round cake pan.
2. To make the cake:
Combine the nuts, brown sugar, and honey in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and anise (or mahlab) and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and mix well.
Divide one-third of the nut mixture between the two prepared pans, scattering it in an even layer over the bottom of the pans. Fill the smaller (4-inch) pan two-thirds with batter, then pour half of the remaining batter into the larger (9-inch) pan. Bake both layers for 20 minutes, until the cakes become a bit firm.
Sprinkle half of the remaining nut mixture in an even layer over both cakes, and place the coin on top of one of the partly-baked cakes. Pour the remaining batter on top of each cake. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre of each comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes.
Remove the cakes from their pans, and place the smaller one on top of the larger. Top with the remaining nut mixture, and serve warm.