Prunes intensify the flavor of moist cake from California

Recipe Finder

November 17, 1999|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff

A recipe for Chocolate Prune Cake has made its way from California to Baltimore. Marilyn T. Sargent of Belle Fourche, S.D., requested a recipe for the cake, which she enjoyed when she lived in Loma Linda, Calif. "We miss having that wonderful moist cake for our special occasions," she wrote.

Ashleigh Cross of Irvine, Calif., sent a copy of the recipe, which she said originated in Southern California.

Chocolate Prune Cake

Serves 12-16

1/4 cup boiling water

3/4 cup pitted prunes

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

Chocolate Fudge Icing (see below)

Pour boiling water over prunes and let soak 30 minutes.

Combine oil, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Add eggs and beat well for 2 minutes.

Combine soaked prunes and buttermilk in blender container or food processor bowl and chop finely.

Add to creamed mixture with flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Beat well and turn into a well-greased and floured 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan or two 8-inch cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool and frost with Chocolate Fudge Icing.

Chocolate Fudge Icing

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 cups sifted powdered sugar, plus extra if needed

1/2 cup cocoa, plus extra if needed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in shortening and corn syrup.

Add powdered sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla, and beat until spreading consistency. Add a bit more powdered sugar and cocoa if necessary.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "The frosting didn't really thicken up enough to spread, so I added about another 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa until it was firm enough. The cake itself is really a spice cake with a slight chocolate tinge. I would hardly call it a chocolate cake.

"However, the prune adds richness and intensifies the flavor of the moist cake, which pairs nicely with the fudge icing. It's more festive to make as a two-layer round cake, iced on all sides. Begin testing the cakes for doneness at around 20 minutes."

Recipe requests

* B. D. Sigismundi of Baltimore writes, "I will appreciate very much if anybody could help me find a recipe for Chinese Moon Cake Crust."

* Becky Brinson of Bend, Ore., wants a recipe for a cream puff she enjoyed while growing up in East Los Angeles in the 1960s. She said a Helm's bakery truck offered fresh products, including an "out of this world cream puff" in her neighborhood. She said the pastry was "about the size of the palm of your hand. It was filled with whipped cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar. ... I have yet to see or taste it duplicated."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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