Prune cake seems to be present in many cultures throughout the world. This Iraqi prune cake re-hydrates the prunes in tea, lending them quite the extraordinary flavor (see my favorite prune-yogurt parfait).
Dare I say this cake is not only perfectly moist and delicious, it’s healthy in moderation to boot. The toffee glaze sets like a scottish butter tablet: solid yet soft under the tooth. Be careful to not over-boil as this will make it set too hard.
2 cups prunes
1 1/4 cups brewed tea, or water with a tea bag
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
For the frosting:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp rose water or vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 360F. Grease and flour a 10-cup capacity ring pan, and shake off excess flour.
Put prunes and tea (or water and tea bag) in a small pot.
Bring to a quick boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, or until prunes soften, but not mushy.
Drain the prunes, but reserve the drained liquid. Let them cool off to room temperature.
Cut the drained prunes into small pieces.
To the reserved water, add enough cold water to make it measure 2/3 cup. Set aside.
In a big bowl, put oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and beat for 2 minutes.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Stir the flour mix into the egg mix, in two batches alternately with the reserved and measured prune liquid.
Stir in the prunes then pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Let it stand for 10 minutes and then invert it on a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, in a saucepan, combine sugars, cream, butter, and rose water or vanilla.
Bring to a boil, on medium heat, stirring to allow sugar to dissolve.
Boil gently for about 4 minutes. Let it cool off to room temperature; it should be neither too thick nor runny in consistency.
Ice the cake with it immediately and decorate the top with some walnut halves, if you wish.
Allow frosting to set for about an hour and serve.