This cake is an enigma. Whatever you think it is, that’s what it’s not. Is it a loaf cake? It’s certainly shaped like one, but it’s texture is soft and fudgy. Is it a brownie, then? Hmm, it’s chocolatey like a brownie, but not as palate clinging or rich.
What about a fruitcake? Nah, nowhere near enough fruit to be one, though it does share a hint of booziness with fruit cakes. The prunes and Pedro Ximinez (a gorgeous, dark Spanish sherry) add plenty of complexity and a little luxury. This cake is really not cooperating in terms of being easily categorised.
When would you eat such an elusive cake? For some reason, I always do the same thing with this baby. I slice the whole cake up on the very day it’s baked, and then I wrap each slice individually, and throw them in the freezer.
And then you eat it at elusive times.
Like the day before you go grocery shopping and you’ve been eating nothing but 2 minute noodles because there’s no food in the house, and you suddenly remember that there is a lingering slice of damp chocolatey cake in the freezer.
Or when you decide to go on a last minute adventure with your man friend, and so you stick a few slices in your bag before you leave. And then, in the midst of a hike into the middle of nowhere, surprise chocolate cake break!
I guess the reason I love this so much is because it’s so great to have hanging around. The booze, prunes, and the very wet cake batter mean that this baby seems not only to keep forever, but it actually tastes better the day after it’s baked. And it freezes and defrosts like a dream.
Not only that, but with a dollop of creme fraiche it’s a crazy elegant, grown up dessert. This cake is everything! Do you have a recipe like that, that seems to transcend the usual eating constraints? If so, lay it on me, because they’re the best ones!
- 1 cup (100g) prunes
- ⅓ cup (85ml) Pedro Ximinez sherry
- ⅔ cup (170ml) water
- 4oz (100g) 70% dark chocolate
- 2 sticks (230g) butter, at room temperature.
- 1 +1/2 cups (300g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 + ⅓ cups (200g) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line a 9x5in loaf pan (23x12cm).
- Chop the prunes, and place them in a small saucepan with the Pedro Ximinez and water. Bring up to the boil and turn off.
- Chop the chocolate, and melt it (I put it in a bowl above the prunes and just leave it for a few minutes).
- Cream the butter and brown sugar together and then add the eggs, beating well to incorporate them.
- Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until just combined.
- Mix together the plain flour and baking powder, and add this mixture a few spoonfuls at a time, alternating with the hot prune, Pedro and water mixture.
- When all of the flour, prunes and liquid are incorporated into the batter (it will be fairly liquid), scrape it into the greased loaf tin and bake at 170C for an hour.
- It's ready when a skewer inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.