Not long ago, Catherine reminded me that I hadn’t made a Nigella recipe for a long time. How could that be? (Easy – too many cake recipes, not enough time.)
I decided to make the recipe that Catherine had, a chocolate cake with rich sour cream, but then I pulled out my copy of ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ and the pages fell open to the store-cupboard chocolate cake.
I used to make this one regularly, the variation using pureed prunes, because I love prunes, and their squidginess in a chocolate cake is a certain kind of deliciousness (if you google around, you’ll find lots of other variations to Nigella's original recipe — it really is very accommodating ). I’ve also made a boozy version — soaking the prunes in tia maria — but I wanted to share these with my friend C who does not drink. Tipsy or nor, these cakes, perhaps more prune-y than chocolate-y, are as rich as Christmas fruitcake, smooth and fudgy, and a little sticky (so finger licking required).
Catherine, I promise I’ll make the sour cream one soon, but in the meantime, here’s the chocolate prune cake, in all its sweet glory. Mum has been pestering me to post the recipe ever since she had a wodge (I have of course offered to write the recipe out for her), so here it is.
Chocolate prune cake
Adapted from Nigella’s store-cupboard chocolate cake in ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’, so named because the original is made with jam or marmalade – ingredients we probably all have in our pantry. I made 8 mini loaves rather than one 20cm round cake, which the recipe specified.
- The night before, soak 300 gms pitted prunes in either tea (I use earl grey) or an alcohol such as Kahlua or Tia Maria. This step makes them deliciously plump and soft.
- On baking day, preheat your oven to 180 and prep your chosen baking tin (see my notes above).
- If there is any liquid left unabsorbed by the prunes, drain and discard (or in the case of the boozy stuff, drink...). Whiz up to a puree in your food processor.
- Over a double-boiler set up, gently melt together 125 gms butter, 100 gms dark chocolate, 150 gms sugar (I tend to use half brown/half white) and a pinch of salt until well combined.
- Remove from heat and stir thru 2 large eggs, the prune puree, then 150 gms SR flour.
- Dollop into your prepared tins. Be sure to lick the bowl.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes for small cakes or until done (longer for a single large cake).
- Cool on wire racks. These are lovely warm, with a dollop of sour cream or natural yoghurt - the zing compliments the fruity richness wonderfully - and just as delicious and squidgy when cool.