"Sweet with a deep taste and a sticky chewy texture, prunes are not only fun to eat but they are also highly nutritious." source: The world's healthiest foods.comNow with a statement like that who am I to argue? Prunes are making a comeback apparently and why not? I never thought they went away myself... Check out this Guardian article to read more about the current "prune boom".
Prunes and almonds are a perfect combination in my opinion and have long been used together in the classic French prune and almond tart. However I was looking to combine the prunes and almonds in a lovely, buttery cake. Looking for a base recipe that was heavy on the almonds I came across Barney Desmazery's raspberry bakewell cake. I adapted his recipe to include prunes and extra almond essence as I wanted to highlight the almondy flavour. I also added some citrus zest for a bit of extra zing.
For me almond is a flavour from childhood that I can always remember loving. I remember it in Battenberg cake, and in marzipan covered fruitcakes. I always thought the marzipan was the best bit. Now I'm older I get my almond fix in more "sophisticated" ways - through occasional sups of amaretto liqueur and marzipan covered in bitter, dark chocolate - delicious!
This recipe produces a buttery, moist, almondy cake with sticky sweet prunes. Perfect with a big cup of tea, but would also be good served straight from the oven with a scoop or two of ice cream as a pudding.
The prunes I used were semi-dried so quite soft already, but if you are using dried prunes an extra soaking in either tea or a liqueur would do no harm; perhaps some kirsch or amaretto if you have some spare...
Thanks for stopping by, your thoughts and comments are always much appreciated. Do give this recipe a try and let me know how you get on. I would love to know about your favourite childhood flavours and food memories.
Prune and Almond Cake
140g ground almonds
140g softened butter
140g caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
2 tsp almond extract
zest of lemon/orange
250g prunes - sliced in half
icing sugar, to serve
- preheat your oven to 180C, grease and line a 20cm cake tin
- add all your ingredients (except the prunes) to a food processor and whizz for a few minutes until well combined. You can also use an electric hand whisk or do it by hand - it will just take a bit longer.
- add half your mixture to your cake tin, followed by your prunes, and finish with the other half of the cake mix on top.
- bake for 45-50 minutes - the cake is done when it is golden, risen and a skewer comes out clean.
- leave for a few minutes before removing from the tin and either serve immediately with a few scoops of ice cream, or leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.