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« Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies | Main | Monkey Tails »

Incredibly Moist Chocolate Prune Cake

oh dear god moist cake

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.

white chocolate shavings meet cake

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.

triple threat

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.

mini cakes filled with delight

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

stewed prunes

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.

stewed prunes in weak tea

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 battermini chocolate prune cakes

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).

the leaning tower of cakesa

This cake may be topped with slivered almonds, coconut, or chocolate shavings. Be creative!

Reader Comments (28)

I want to try this one!!! The idea of using prunes is so unusual...

08.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMika

these are SO cute! the idea of prunes is a little off putting though. what kind of pan did you use to make the mini cakes?

08.25.2010 | Unregistered Commenterlavienouveau

This recipe is now straight to the top of my must make list. Do you think the recipe would work as cupcakes? :)

08.25.2010 | Unregistered CommenterNessie

La Vie-- I baked the cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan and used a 2 inch biscuit cutter to cut the cooled cake into tiny cakes, making 9 or so.

Nessie-- I have no reason to believe this recipe wouldn't work as cupcakes. If you give it a try, let me know how they turn out!

08.26.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

You've inspired me to make this cake for an upcoming birthday...the cakes are in the oven, but I'm wondering about the frosting. Do you think it's perfect or would you pair the cake with something else? I was thinking doing half the frosting and adding a side of whipped sweetened sour cream? I'd love your opinion.

10.9.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne

The cake itself has a mild flavor, so the chocolate frosting definitely helped to bring out the chocolate flavor. Although, I do think the sour cream could really add an interesting twist! The best of both worlds? Let me know what you decide!

10.9.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I made the cake, frosting, sour cream and all, and it was such a success. Thank you so much!
(p.s. you can see my result here:

10.12.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne

I have used the prune puree technique in muffins before and it really does make them wonderfully moist! This cake looks absolutely divine and the frosting looks so good. I'm always worried about frostings, they tend to split or with chocolate and cream ones you get funny white lines through it the next day. Any tips?

11.24.2010 | Unregistered CommenterK

I've never gotten the white lines before so I can't advise you on that, but I know cracked frosting happens because the frosting doesn't have a high enough fat content--which means you should add more butter to that buttercream! It could also be from transporting it. Cakes need a lot of support so they don't sag and settle, cracking the frosting.

11.24.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

hey guys, awesome recipe but as I'm from scotland was just wondering how much a stick of butter is? we have lots of different sizes here :)

12.4.2010 | Unregistered CommenterEsther

8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup of butter is equivalent to one stick of butter.

12.4.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin
I love the "moistness" that I'm seeing on your photo. I'd like to know whether it's more like a brownie texture than a cake??? Thanks.
02.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLala
Lala-- The texture is of a very moist cake, so you will still have that signature cake crumb. It is a light cake (the frosting is heavy, but heavenly), so light it will practically melt in your mouth. The texture does not resemble a brownie.
02.26.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I love recipes that sneak fruit/veggies/fiber into my family without feeding them a bowl of salad. I'm stewing my prunes right now, and cannot wait to try this out. I've actually only got 9 oz of prunes, but I believe that with the stewing, they will be plenty moist, making up for the missing 3 oz. What do you think?
03.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterfengshuigourmet
fengshuigourmet - I've made this cake with 10 ounces of prunes before and it worked just as well. I think 9 ounces should work out fine. Hope it turns out for you! This is one of my favorite cakes.
03.3.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I just wanted to know how you did the round cakes.... did you have small round cake molds or did you cut round molds on the rectangular mold?

05.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica
Veronica-- I baked the cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan and used a 2 inch biscuit cutter to cut the cooled cake into tiny cakes, making 9 or so.
05.7.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Amazinggggg! can't wait to make it!
greetings from argentina!
07.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCam
I don't have espresso powder. Is there a substitute or would it be ok to just omit it without a substitute?
09.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy
Betsy-- You can omit the espresso powder. It is there because a coffee flavor brings out the flavor of the chocolate better. However, you could also very finely ground coffee beans and this would work as a great substitute.
09.11.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Regarding the "Incredibly Moist Chocolate Prune Cake" - I'm trying this one out just now, and see in your directions that one is to reserve the prune stewing liquid. But then I don't see anywhere - I've read the recipe through MANY times - what to do with it. Since I need the cake for an event, I'm going to plow on, but would really like to know if I'm missing something necessary for success!
01.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
Linda-- You merely need to reserve two cups of the prunes/liquid and puree it. This is added with the milk. If you have an additional liquid beyond the 2 cups, simply throw it out--it's not needed. I hope this helps!
01.22.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
So you use all the prunes without liquid, cause it was drained from them, PLUS two cups of only the liquid in the blender? Thanks! I'm dying to make this one, moist cakes is what I live for.
06.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFarjad
Decadent. I used coffee with the prunes to make mini mocha cakes. Thanks for your indulgences on your blog. Happy baking!
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina
Hi there, just seen this recipe, sounds lovely, but how long will it keep assuming all the cake has not been eaten in a day?????

Many thanks

01.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJayne Jones
Jayne-- The cake will keep as long as any other cake, about 2-3 days.
01.15.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I made this cake. Followed your recipe almost exactly, the only exception was that I decreased the amount of sugar in the batter and frosting . The recipe was so easy to follow, a monkey could have done it. Thank you for your clear instructions. It was amazing. The heavens opened. The gods wept. My room-mates adore me. My colleagues think I'm the cats whiskers. I may win an award. This cake is magic - SO moist and the coffee brought out the chocolate flavor in the frosting like you wouldn't believe. I will be baking it again, it is now my secret weapon.
09.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVvk
I know this is SUCH an old post, but I was browsing through your archives for something somewhat simple to make for an event tomorrow and I think I would be able to make this, except for the fact that I have dates, but not prunes. Do you happen to have any idea if soaked dates would work as well as soaked prunes? I've never used prunes before in baking and I don't know. Even so I may try it anyway. Thank you!
02.14.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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