Prune and Chocolate Cake

This is a delicious, richly spiced and dense cake. It’s a recipe from Doris Brett’s Australian Bread Book, which I think is now out of print, but is a wonderful book full of unusual cakes and breads. This particular cake is not only very easy and quick to make, but also versatile – it can be an afternoon tea cake, or a dessert if served with cream.

one and a half cups sugar
two and a half cups white flour
one teaspoon salt
one teaspoon each of cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg
one teaspoon baking soda
one cup vegetable oil
three eggs, lightly beaten
two teaspoons vanilla essence
one cup buttermilk (or milk with one tsp vinegar added)
twenty-four large pitted prunes, chopped
one cup chocolate bits

Firstly, heat the oven to 180C. Then the method couldn’t be simpler – simply mix all the ingredients into a bowl. I put the flour, sugar, spices and baking soda in first, make a well, and pour in all the wet ingredients. After mixing well, I stir in the prune pieces and the chocolate. Done!

Grease a loaf tin well, and pour the cake mixture in. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, and then check on it fairly regularly. The top of the cake should bounce back a little. My oven isn’t fan-forced, so in a fan-forced oven, it will cook much faster.

Variations – replacing the chocolate bits with sultanas, dried cranberries or dates.

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