It’s a factthat anything candied and dried makes an appearance when Christmas gets close.Though we’re starting a bit early with these holiday posts, this cake is reallygood year round. Like most so-called holiday treats, they are perfect for manyother occasions.
This is the third Thursday of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, thegroup Brenda put together, where we bring you a wonderful idea for a sweetsomething every week. So far I made some incredibly toasty, melt-in-your-mouthalmond butter balls and what I’ve come to think as the most addictive brown butter shortbread I ever had.
Why arecandied and dried fruits festive? Is it the shadowy color, the sugary coating?Is ginger a fruit really? Or a spice?
Here it’s paired with prunes, chocolateand almonds. A combination that had me intrigued at first. I’m realizing thatchocolate is extremely versatile when it comes to making friends. He can bepaired with so many other ingredients.
Our end ofthe year celebrations happen during summer, so the food tends to be a bitlighter than our northern hemisphere counterparts. The days are long, hot andbeing outside is as much part of the festivities as eating. But after themeal, tables are cleared so desserts and sweets can take up every inch of empty tablecloth surface. Ice cream is probably the number one choice, but the extras arejust as part of this ending. And I mean the pannettone, nougat, caramel coatedpeanuts and dried fruits and nuts.
This cakecombines all of that with the addition of chocolate that most are undeniablywaiting to appear. Not only in the cake but also in a satiny sauce withhoney, which adds yet another layer of flavor. It can be baked in a round pan and cut into wedges or makeit in a rectangular shape and cut it into little bites. Decorate it with tiny bits ofedible gold or golden stars for a perfect christmas treat. Either way it’smoist and spicy, with a hint of an adult feeling to it. Perfect with a cup ofblack coffee or some spiced tea.
GINGER CHOCOLATE PRUNE CAKE
from Chocolate Cake, by Michele Urvater
1 cuppacked prunes
1/3 cupcognac or brandy
1 cupall-purpose flour
½ teaspoonbaking powder
½ teaspoonbaking soda
½ teaspoonground ginger
¾ cupgranulated sugar
6oz (170g)bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
¾ cuptoasted, ground almonds
1/3 cupcrystallized ginger, finely chopped
½ cup chocolate chunks
3 Tbs cream
1 Tbs honey
For the cake:
Preheatoven to 350º. Grease a 10-inch round springform pan and line bottom with parchmentpaper or foil.
In a smallbowl mix prunes and cognac. Let stand for 2 hours. Process the prunes, cognacand 1/3 cup water until pureed.
Sift flour,baking powder, soda, salt and ginger and reserve.
With anelectric mixer beat eggs and sugar until doubled and light colored. With aspatula fold the prune puree into the eggs, then the chocolate, almonds, gingerand dry ingredients.
Put intoprepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is dry on top anda tester comes out clean. Don´t overbake.
Cool onwire rack and invert onto serving plate. Pour chocolate sauce on top anddecorate with some ground almonds and candied ginger if desired.
For the chocolate sauce: Putchocolate, cream and honey in a metal or glass bowl set over simmering water.Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cooluntil desirable consistency.