Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chocolate Prune Cake

This cake has lots of dried plums – better known as prunes – and it’s moist, tender and delicious.  Prunes are so tasty and, well, underrated. When you mention prunes, invariably someone laughs and/or makes a face and/or says, “Ewwwww.”  This was true last Friday when I gave my son and his good friend, Jamie, a loaf of the cake for their sleep over and Jamie made a face and couldn’t stop laughing about the prunes. *sigh …Gotta love boys!

I’m a fan of incorporating dried fruit wherever I can – cookies, cakes, granola. There are 5 Sweet & Simple oatmeal cookie flavors with dried fruit: Raisin, Cherry, Date, Cranberry White Chocolate and Apricot. Oatmeal Date is my favorite and the toughest to sell. Prunes are a tough sell as well, but I promise you will not regret making this cake.

And what to call this cake? Prune Spice Cake? Chocolate Prune Spice Cake? I decided on Chocolate Prune Cake figuring I would get a few more takers if I mentioned chocolate from the get go. Also, it’s not a super duper spice cake – just a teaspoon of cinnamon and a touch of ginger.

As far as the chocolate in this recipe, treat yourself to a great bar of semi-sweet chocolate and chop up the 4 ounces. If you choose to use chocolate morsels, make sure you chop ‘em, too! Basically, you don’t want big chocolate chunks/morsels, you want well chopped chocolate distributed evenly in the cakes.  The only chunks should be the chopped prunes.

This recipe is another from my grandma’s recipe box (with some minor adjustments) and really my kind of “thing”: simple ingredients and simple methods that result in a great cake. My kids like it, too! Jamie? Not so much. But he loves my cookies and that’s good enough for me!

Chocolate Prune Cake
Makes 2 cakes/loaves (about 1.9 lbs each)

Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and line with parchment, two 9” x 4” loaf pans.
(If you want to use a veg oil cooking spray, I won’t tell)

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

2 1/2 cups/313 grams/11 ounces cake flour (preferably King Arthur unbleached cake flour)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup/225 grams/8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
1 1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup/219 grams/8 ounces prunes coarsely chopped
1/2 cup/113 grams/4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped

1 cup/227 grams/8 ounces low fat plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla

Sugar for sprinkling on top of loaves (optional)

Combine with a whisk then sift together all dry ingredients and set aside.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and beat until light and fluffy again.
Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add prunes and chopped chocolate and beat well.
Scrape down sides of bowl.

Combine yogurt and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Add flour alternately with yogurt mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans, sprinkle the top of each loaf lightly with sugar (optional), and bake at 350° for one hour or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs attached. 

Let cakes rest in pans for 10 minutes then remove them to finish cooling on a rack.

Remember to remove the parchment before slicing and serving!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sweet & Simple Gives CTbites A Taste

I let the crew at Fairfield County’s CTbites sample my homemade cookies. The results? Delicious.  Read more