Prune and Armagnac Cake
A lovely alternative to something more traditional. The longer you soak the prunes before using, the better the flavour.
- 250g dark chocolate, chopped
- 200g salted butter
- 5 eggs, separated
- 100g raw cane sugar
- 75g plain flour
- 75g ground almonds
- To dust cocoa powder
- For the Soaked Prunes
- 3 tbsp Armagnac brandy
- 1 orange zest, grated
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- 130g soft, pitted prunes
- Soak prunes in water at least one day prior to baking or several weeks in advance in a sterilised jar. Their flavour will improve immeasurably over time.
- Put Armagnac, orange zest, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and cloves in a saucepan
and bring to the boil.
- Put drained prunes in a heatproof bowl, pour the hot soaking liquid over them and allow to cool completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave overnight.
- Next day, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (not letting the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from heat.
- Put egg whites and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a stand mixer or in a bowl and whisk until it forms stiff peaks
- In a separate bowl or stand mixer, whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar for about 5 minutes until you can lift up the beaters and leave a figure-of-eight ribbon trail in the mixture.
- Stir melted chocolate mixture into egg yolks.
- Put soaked prunes in a food processor and process to a purée. Add them to the chocolate, egg and sugar mixture and stir well.
- Fold flour and almonds into the mixture with a large, metal spoon. Lastly, fold in the egg white mix very gently in three stages so as not to knock all the air out.
- Spoon the mixture into a prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven for about 30–40 minutes.
- Allow to cool and dust with cocoa powder.
- Serve with ice cream, brandy crème anglaise or a dollop of cream.