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24 Nov 2012

Prune butter cake 蛋糕

Penang [檳城] • 24 NOVEMBER 2012
This week, two bare prune cakes, without icing or decoration. The aim here was to capture the rich flavour of prune in these two unadorned cakes, one loaded with butter and the other quite simple with sunflower oil, wholemeal flour and muscovado sugar. I made both using just a wooden spoon and bowl – no high-speed mixing here – so they're also as lo-tech as you can get.

Do keep an eye out for different varieties of prunes at Asian supermarkets, because the flavours vary slightly: 
These cakes are quite good at holding other ingredients suspended in the crumb, so if you're in the mood to add roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, say, or small pieces of chopped dried apricot or peach, a speckling of poppyseeds or even dark chocolate chips, you'll be fine.

It may sound odd to beat melted butter with the sugar and a little flour before adding the eggs, but it helps create a very moist texture in this simple pound cake. The zest and juice can be from any citrus fruit, so experiment with mandarin or lime, if you like. Of course, you can ice the finished cake, if you prefer, perhaps with a simple, glossy water icing flavoured with a little freshly squeezed juice. If you can get hold of fondant icing sugar, grab it, because it sets to a brilliant shine.

200g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
250g plain flour
4 medium eggs
Finely grated zest of an orange and 15ml juice
10-15 prunes 
3 tsp baking powder
Green food colouring to further enhance its colour. (optional)


Line the base and sides of a large loaf tin with nonstick paper. Melt the butter, pour it into a mixing bowl with the sugar, then beat in 100g of the flour until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, beating each one in well before adding the next, then mix in the citrus zest, juice and prunes. Sift in the remaining flour and baking powder, and stir until smooth.

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