This cake was made for Dom’s birthday. Well actually for the second birthday of his blog, Bellau Kitchen, and his Random Recipe Challenge for April, which was to pile up all your baking books and choose one at random.
My random selection turned up this book by Annie Bell, yet another one that I bought because I had seen it in other blogs.
The book is stuffed full of – as the title suggests – gorgeous looking cakes. The book plopped open at a page that had two recipes so I chose to bake the chocolate prune cake for my Random Recipe. I have made chocolate cakes with beetroot or courgettes before, but never prunes, so Dom, I hope you like prunes !!
This is one of those gloriously gooey chocolate cakes made mainly with ground almonds but also including a generous amount of rum and a whole packet of prunes. The method is easy enough to follow but requires a lot of different processes in separate bowls, not to mention two different electric machines, producing a lot of washing up.
You have to beat the butter, sugar and eggs in a food processor, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. You melt the chocolate in another bowl, toss the sliced prunes in flour in a bowl and whisk the egg whites in yet another bowl. This is on top of any other bowls you have used to measure out the ingredients and separate the eggs.
Speaking of food processors, Nick bought me a lovely new Magimix for my 60th birthday last December. I know, I know, we did talk diamonds or fur but I thought I would have more fun with a Magimix. So we took my 1980’s Braun processor, almost on its last legs, to France where it is proving to be most useful and may well last another twenty years for all I know. That’s if I don’t drop the lid again and knock the last two remaining locking pegs off !!
Anyway, I came slightly unstuck with the baking tin. The recipe said a deep 20cm tin but I only had an ordinary shallow 20cm tin in my little French kitchen. This is the problem with pursuing my passion for baking in France. That is where I found I had the time to do it and how much I enjoyed it, but the kitchen simply isn’t big enough to house a vast collection of baking tins like I have collected at home in the UK so I have to make do. Quel dommage !!
Once I got going I realised I was going to end up with a huge quantity of mixture which would be way too much for my tin so at the last minute I changed my mind and greased and lined my biggest tin instead – a shallow 23cm tin. (Thereby creating extra washing up with my unused but greased small tin !!)
The cake cracked alarmingly and even after the full 70 minutes I couldn’t make my mind up if it was cooked or not, but the edges were beginning to look a little brown so I decided to risk it and take it out of the oven.
Once it had cooled for a while, and subsided a bit, the cracks looked less alarming and were hardly noticeable at all once I had dusted it with icing sugar and piled some chocolate raisins on top, as per the picture in the book.
Definitely a recipe I will do again. And very adaptable to a gluten free recipe considering there was only one tablespoon of flour for coating the prunes, which could be replaced, I imagine, with cornflour or rice flour.
This is what I used.
150g dark chocolate, min 50% cocoa solids
225g unsalted butter
225g light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, separated
200g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
250g ready to eat, stoned prunes, roughly chopped or sliced
1 tblsp plain flour
icing sugar and chocolate raisins for decoration
This is what you do.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°fan/gas mk 5. Butter and base line a 23cm springform cake tin.
Break the chocolate into squares and melt in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir and put on one side to cool.
Cut the butter into cubes and put into a food processor with the sugar. Beat until pale and creamy.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beat again to combine.
Add the rum and melted chocolate and beat again. Beat in the ground almonds and baking powder. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
In another separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until the stiff peak stage. Fold into the mixture in two halves.
Put the chopped prunes into yet another bowl with the flour and toss with your hands so the fruit is well coated with flour. Fold into the chocolate cake mixture.
Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake for 60-70 minutes until “a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean”, which in my case it never did, because it is a very gooey cake.
Loosen the cake from the tin by running a knife around the edge and leave in the tin to cool.
Dust with icing sugar and pile some chocolate raisins artistically on top for decoration – these are optional.
Cuts into approx 12 slices.