Everyone purports to have, in their possession, the recipe for the perfect chocolate cake. This is, of course, nonsense. There is always something better, if only because variety is something we crave. Having said all that, I’ll now dismount my high horse to admit that my recipe for Chocolate Prune Cake is among the most enjoyable and moist chocolate cakes you’re likely to find.
The key, inevitably, is the addition of loose leaf black tea-infused prunes. As with chocolate courgette cake, adding a wet ingredient to the cake batter yields a truly satisfying texture. Claggy isn’t usually a complimentary term. But here it is. The dense, moist sponge will have you coming back for seconds… Maybe even thirds.
With a mere 2 tablespoons of sugar to offset a full 300g of dark chocolate, this isn’t a sweet cake. And nor should it be. What sweetness there is comes mainly from the addition of prunes, but it’s a sticky kind of sweetness, with an almost caramel-like quality. This is about as “adult” as a chocolate cake gets.
But you can take it a step further. The use of black tea complements the flavour of the prunes very well. You can, however, replace it with an equivalent quantity of rum (or similar). Of course, the addition of alcohol means needing to buy a bottle, which can be expensive. If you have a bottle on the shelf… Well, it’s there to be used.
Chocolate Prune Cake
Makes one 23cm cake
- 150g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
- 100ml black tea, freshly brewed
- 300g dark chocolate
- 175g salted butter
- 5 eggs, separated
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 50g plain flour
- 50g ground almonds
- cocoa powder for dusting
- Put the prunes and black tea in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes, until all the liquid has been taken up by the fruit.
- In a saucepan or bain marie, gently melt together the butter and chocolate until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan). Grease a 23cm springform tin and coat with cocoa powder.
- Beat the egg yolks and egg whites separately, each with a tablespoon of caster sugar. Once beaten, the whites should form stiff peaks and the yolks should have visibly thickened.
- Stir the prunes and yolks through the chocolate mixture until combined. Fold in the plain flour and ground almonds.
- Gently fold in a third of the egg whites, followed by the remainder. Don’t over fold, but ensure there are no white streaks.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Sprinkle the chocolate cake with a little cocoa powder before serving warm. But it’s even better served the next day with a spoonful of clotted cream.
Cost: The cost of your chocolate prune cake will likely come down to the quality of chocolate you use and where you buy it from.
Using not the cheapest chocolate, but certainly not the most expensive, this moist chocolate cake can be made for as little as £4. And because it’s so rich and dark in flavour it’ll easily serve 12. That’s just over 30p a slice.