Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Rye Cake with Prunes










For those of you still reeling from the vegan beet cake, let me start by pointing out that the rye in the title refers to rye whiskey, and that the prunes were the famous Pruneaux d'Agen, which are apparently to regular prunes as humans are to cro-magnon man. Perhaps the comparison should actually go the other way, as these uber-prunes are supposed to be more earthy, more flavorful, more intense, rather than more subtle and tool using. Still, whatever they are, they're good, and not too ridiculously priced at Fairway.

This is no health cake, although it may have side laxative benefits, but an old-school very French creation adapted from a recipe by the venerable Simone (Simca) Beck, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Dorie tells a fun story about how tampering with this cake in a restaurant setting got her fired for 'creative insubordination,' which she decided was a good thing. She must have thought it was a really good thing, because her whole book is designed around a principle of 'playing around,' offering substitutes and twists on nearly every recipe. In this case, the cake can be played around all over the place, as long as it includes a dried fruit and a liquor or flavoring. And you get to light boozy prunes on fire. Sticky, dangerous, boozy, this cake has an attitude that I like. The cake itself, I only somewhat liked, I think the texture would have been better if I'd pureed the prunes, or chopped them better. Still, like Simca herself, this cake demanded to be dealt with on its own terms or not at all. (Simca, Matt thought it was great.) I didn't frost it, the better to sniff and revel in all the booze and prunes, and it was a moist, dark, grown-up cake. And now I just want more pruneaux d'agen.

7 comments:

Amanda said...

I really enjoyed this cake, glad you did too!

Jules Someone said...

Glad you liked the cake. I decided to skip the frosting as well. It wasn't missed.

Jennifer said...

Nice job! I did love the frosting, though!

chocolatechic said...

Looks good.

The frosting was wonderful.

Secret Server said...

It looks great. I've never heard of those kind of prunes.

pinkstripes said...

Wow. Where did you get the prunes? I need to find some, they sound delicious. I'm glad you liked the cake.

TeaLady said...

Nekkid Cake. Food Porn!!! Looks just fine to me.