This cake should actually be named "Oh Lord Almighty, this is the moistest cake in the world." The first bite is pure ecstasy. The cake instantly melts into a moist mass of ooey gooey deliciousness the very second it hits your tongue. This is absolutely a religious experience. For a single moment in time, you will achieve true Enlightenment.
I loved watching the facial expressions of my family when they took their first bites of this cake. In every case, there was a pause for reflection. The chewing stops. My mother's eyes widened with Truth. My sister stood stock still for a solid 10 seconds. My father closed (closed!) his eyes in reverence of this great cake. When I claimed this was a religious experience, it was not an exaggeration.
I want to write sonnets about this cake. I want to compose a piece of classical music to the dining experience. I want to make love to this cake. As I sit here writing and eating, I can assure you that by the eighth bite I'm still seeing stars.
Chocolate Prune Cake
From Chocolate by Nick Malgieri
Do not let the thought of prunes in your cake turn you off! The taste of the prunes are so mild, I would be surprised if you could even taste them at all. Though hidden, the prunes bring a world of difference to this cake. The cake is so unbelievably moist you have to taste it to believe it. I left a small piece of unfrosted cake standing defenseless on the counter for 6 hours and not a bit of the moisture had left it. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.
Yields two 10-inch round cakes
12 ounces pitted prunes
3 cups weak brewed tea (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
In a large saucepan, cover the prunes with weak tea or water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the prunes become tender, about 30 minutes. If necessary, add more water to keep the prunes covered with liquid. Cool the prunes in the liquid, then drain it off and reserve it. Measure 2 cups of the stewed prunes and puree in a food processor. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour, or line the cake pans with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir well.
In a separate bowl, combine the prune puree with the milk.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in a third of the dry ingredients, then mix in half of the prune puree. Scrape the bowl. Beat in another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the prune puree, and the remaining dry ingredients.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake emerges clean. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 minutes before placing them onto cooling racks.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the cream, butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the espresso powder and vanilla.
Scrape the frosting into a bowl and chill it until it is of spreading consistency. Do not leave in the refrigerator or it will set very hard (if this happens, chop up hardened frosting into 8 to 10 pieces and stir in a bowl over warm water until it reaches a spreadable consistency).
This cake may be topped with slivered almonds, coconut, or chocolate shavings. Be creative!