For most of my life, there has been one thing, and one thing only, that I associate with prunes. Can you guess what it is?! 😉
Fibre. Yep, prunes have always been strongly associated in my mind with the gut, and getting things moving. So when I noticed that two of my newest cookbooks contained recipes for Chocolate Prune Cakes, I was intrigued. Could I really eat prunes without it being for dietary reasons?
As it so happened, I had a packet of prunes lurking in my pantry, and this long weekend I decided it was high time I investigated. PhD life has been exceedingly busy and stressful lately, so I was well overdue some baking therapy.
My Honey & Co. cookbook contains a recipe for gluten-free Spiced Chocolate & Prune cakes, cooked in mini bundt trays, which uses a whole 250g of chocolate! Decadent. My Vintage Tea Party cookbook has adorable Chocolate Prune tea cakes, which are cooked in a large tray, then cut into rounds and iced. I got this latter book for Christmas, and since I still hadn’t gotten around to making anything from it, I felt weirdly sorry for the cookbook, and decided to opt for that recipe. Anthropomorphising cookbooks like the cool kid I am. Besides, I didn’t have mini bundt tins.
I’ve made a few modifications on the original recipe, such as cooking it as one big cake. As it turns out, this recipe works beautifully in a large bundt tin, as the top doesn’t rise to a peak, but remains flat. The cake is extremely moist, almost pudding-like, and slid out of the greased tin like a dream.
The prunes get pretty mashed up, so while you can tell that the cake is fruity, it didn’t taste strongly of prunes. For me, this is good, because the smell of prunes kind of takes me back to being a little girl and being forced by my grandmother to eat prunes and drink prune juice.
Instead of icing it with buttercream, I just drizzled over some melted chocolate and topped it off with some toasted pecans. I think the cake is rich enough without an intense icing, and to be honest, I rarely can be bothered with icing. I just want to tuck into the cake already!
Chocolate & Prune Cake
- 300g pitted prunes
- 750ml tea (I used Earl Grey)
- 250ml/1 cup milk
- 200g flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 175g butter, softened
- 350g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 70g dark or milk chocolate, melted and cooled, to decorate
- 25g chopped, toasted nuts, e.g. pecans, to decorate
- Preheat oven to 160ºC, fan bake/180ºC, conventional bake. Grease a bundt tin with oil or butter.
- In a large pot, cover the prunes with tea and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot, and add water if it is drying out too much.
- Strain the prunes, discarding the liquid, and return to the pot. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, mash the prunes with the back of a fork. Add milk and mix to combine.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
- Fold one third of the dry ingredients through the creamed mixture. Add half the prune mix and fold together. Add another third of the dry ingredients, and fold in. Add the remaining prune mix, and then the remaining dry ingredients.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 – 55 minutes, or until the sides have pulled away from the tin and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before tipping onto a wire rack to cool.
- When completely cool, transfer to a serving dish and drizzle melted chocolate over the cake and top with chopped, toasted nuts.