I love prunes. There, I said it. Despite their unappetizing reputation for being able to address certain bodily malfunctions, and thus holding steady as a trusted friend of the elderly (my grandfather always kept a bottle of prune juice in the fridge, and god help you if you drank it), I also like to bake with them. Prunes (or dried plums if it makes you feel more comfortable) are super moist, sweet yet tart, and boast an over the top flavor of dried fruit. Prunes are the perfect pairing for a warm spice cake.
Though plenty moist to start, I softened up the chopped prunes in a bit of boiling water for a few minutes to make sure that they stayed moist in the cake. I also used vegetable oil to ensure an extra moist texture (I find that butter, though rich, sometimes makes for a drier cake). A handful of walnuts added crunch.
I had a fair amount of this thick-ish batter, so I chose a tube pan as the baking vessel. The center tube helps the cake bake evenly by distributing heat through the center. The finished cooled cake was rustic and moist, but it needed something a little extra. An icing! And there's nothing better than cream cheese to go with a prune spice cake. A quick drizzle over top and I was good to go.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.