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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Prune (shhhh!) & Whisky cake

I'd been meaning to make this cake for months. I'd had it bookmarket, printed out, sitting on the recipe book shelf...everything, since June last year. It comes from Esther of Full as a Goog; which was the first other Melbourne food blog I found. Finding her early last year, I suddenly didn't feel so alone. Since then there's been an explosion in the number of Melbourne-based foodblogs.
I had already made Esther's Guinness Stout Chocolate cake, and she wrote so enthusiastically about this prune & whisky cake that I had to try it and when I discovered an ailing bag of discarded prunes on the fridge door I decided not to throw them out. Like her, I reckon people have weirdo issues about prunes and running to the toilet, and most people don't know prunes are simply dried plums. I love prunes; they're great for snacking! So, taking her tip I announced to people that it was a plum and whisky cake, and they were none the wiser. And they had a bonus dietary fibre boost. ;-)

Everything Esther writes about this cake is true; it's moist and springy, and has a sticky lemon glaze to glam it up. It's full flavoured and spicy; not unlike gingerbread. In fact one friend simply couldn't be convinced there wasn't any ginger in the ingredients! Plus it looks so impressive baked in its Bundt or Kugelhopf tin. Somehow a cake baked in one of those tins looks like you've put in way more time and effort than you really have. Perfect dinner party tip!
I hadn't heard much about the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts before, but most people who asked about the recipe knew it well. Some kind of foodie I am!!

Read on for the recipe:

Prune and Whisky Cake
(adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts via Full as a Goog)

For the cake:
2 cups pitted prunes
0.25 cup scotch whisky
2 cups water
0.75 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2.75 cups white flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
0.5 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
0.5 tsp ground cardamon
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk

For the glaze you need:
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
0.25 cup more scotch
0.25 cup liquid from the prune cooking

In a small saucepan, combine the prunes, whisky and water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the prunes are very tender. Drain, keeping the liquid. Coarsely chop the prunes and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the oil and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and other dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture the batter, beating until well blended. Pour in the buttermilk and beat until just smooth. Fold in the chopped prunes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for at least an hour. If you stick a knife in it should come out clean. Now cool the cake in a pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a serving platter and cool for 15 minutes more - still in the tin. Then remove the pan.

To make the glaze - combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Pierce the top of the cake with a skewer or toothpick in 10 places. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to soak in.

Serve to ooohs and aaahs. (with or without mentioning what's in it.)

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  • Hi Niki, I agree - what is it with people and prunes? I love them! Especially in devils on horseback - yum!

    My husband thinks prunes are so gross he made me promise to try tripe before he'd taste a prune - I think I got the raw end of that deal...

    By Blogger Kelly, at 5/18/2006 10:22:00 am  

  • I just love all of your cake recipes, prunes are the best! Yum!

    By Blogger Dianka, at 5/19/2006 04:50:00 am  

  • I'm firmly in the 'prunes are gross' camp...I grew up with prune juice in my grandparent's refrigerator, and prunes (along with other fruits) given to my great-grandmother as a Christmas gift.

    They just...make me shudder.

    I think the name doesn't help, either.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 5/20/2006 04:00:00 am  

  • Though I can't seem to get myself to eat prunes on their own, I think they're great in baked goods. They lend a sort of complexity of flavor and moistness that is wonderful.

    By Blogger tanvi, at 5/22/2006 04:24:00 am  

  • I made a prune and mulled wine cake for Christmas, which was very-very well received. Should try prune&whisky cake next maybe?!

    By Blogger Pille, at 5/25/2006 12:09:00 am  

  • I love prunes and this cake looks gorgeous. I like to soak prunes in water and keep them in the fridge. They plump up and the liquid becomes syrupy and delicious.

    By Blogger Ana, at 5/26/2006 07:16:00 am  

  • I love prunes too... one of my favourite easy desserts is marsala poached prunes with icecream...but they would go great with your cake..will have to give it a go

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/29/2006 01:59:00 pm  

  • I grew up eating plums bu the truck load from my grandparents trees & I love them so it stands to reason that I also love prunes too. This cake sounds really interesting & after recently making prune & apple muffins, my first ever baking with prunes & I can start to imagine the delicious flavour this would have

    By Blogger Ange, at 5/29/2006 05:23:00 pm  

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