May 15, 2019

GINGER PRUNE CAKE

 
Nick made this cake for our most recent cake club meeting and it proved to be very popular.
 
 
 
The brief was one's own personal angle on Easter and as Nick is very much a fan of ginger cake he decided to make one in an angular tin, decorated with a few mini eggs.
 
 
The tin was a purchase from Ikea a few years back and I don't think they have it in stock any more.  It's an excellent tin, makes an ordinary cake look a bit more interesting and I have found that it works for any recipe that uses either a 2lb loaf tin or a 20cm round tin.  Because of the shape it's particularly good for cakes that you don't want to ice or decorate to make them look tempting. 
 
Not that this cake was by any means ordinary - not at all.  The recipe comes from the Whitworths website and uses their crystallised fiery ginger, of which we happened to have a packet in the cupboard.  The prunes are Agen prunes, gloriously sticky things from the south of France and nothing like the dried poor relations often masquerading as prunes elsewhere.  (Other really nice prunes are of course available.)  One of the items where you definitely get what you pay for is prunes.
 
 
 
There are plenty of people who have an aversion to prunes - or see them as a bit of a joke - their medicinal and constitutional properties being the foundation for many a jest about old folks' homes, school dinners and more.  However, I think you would be hard pressed to identify that the deliciously sticky fruitiness of this cake comes from the humble (or holy) prune, it just tastes strongly of ginger with a fruity texture and flavour.  A great hit and one I shall be making again. You can see the original recipe here.
 
I have baked other lovely things with prunes so if you're a fan you could look at Chocolate Prune Cake, Prune and Brandy Clafoutis and Prune and Apple Layer Cake.
 
Ingredients
25g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
70g good quality prunes
150g golden syrup
50g black treacle
110g dark brown soft sugar
150g unsalted butter
8g ground ginger
2g ground mixed spice
2 eggs
2 tlsp semi skimmed milk
120g self raising flour
 
Method
Preheat the oven to 160 C / 140 fan / gas mk 3.  Grease and line an 18cm round tin.  (Or grease with cake release paste if using a fancy tin.)
Purée the prunes in a food processor (or chop them very finely) then transfer to a large saucepan.
Add the golden syrup, treacle, sugar and butter to the pan and stir together on low heat until evenly combined.
Remove from the heat.
Stir in the ground ginger, mixed spice and chopped ginger.
Lightly beat the eggs and milk together and stir into the pan to form a smooth batter.
Sift over the flour and fold into the batter.  Transfer to the prepared tin.
Bake for about 1 hour until springy to the touch. 
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.
 
Cuts into 10-12 slices.
 

2 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of prunes in baking (as long as they're good prunes, of course). Sounds like a fine cake to me. I don't think we ever had prunes at school dinner - I think they were considered too exotic and expensive.

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    1. Phil, I'm sure that in the 1950's we used to get prunes with custard or rice pudding for afters with school dinner. Or maybe I'm confusing it with puddings at home where prunes definitely featured quite often.
      Either way it demonstrates the post war obsession with the personal constitution, which is odd considering that most kids lived on a diet that was 90% home grown veg and brown bread and therefore already contained more than enough fibre.

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