A short time ago, a reader wrote me to ask for help finding a missing recipe. That recipe, which was for a chocolate raisin cake, was found by an eagle-eyed reader. But while the search was ongoing, one of my colleagues — occasional Fridge Magnet contributor Caitlin Saniga — sent me a fascinating old recipe in her grandmother’s handwriting.
This recipe is for a prune cake topped with coffee icing. I know a lot of folks wrinkle their noses when they hear the word “prune,” but I love prunes and think they probably make for a very moist and delicious cake. The icing is made with egg whites in a double boiler.
If you’re interested in trying out a very different cake recipe this season, here’s one for you. I transcribed the recipe and added a few notes based on my limited knowledge of baking (my notes are in brackets). I’ve also attached a photo of the recipe, as you can see, because I love seeing recipes in the original cook’s handwriting.
What have you been baking lately? Are you sticking to your family’s traditional favorites or have you experimented with something new?
Mocha Prune Cake with Fluffy Coffee Icing
2 1/2 cups[all-purpose] flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. [baking] soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. [ground] cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup cooked prunes, seeded and coarsely cut
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, sift flour once. Add baking powder, soda, salt and spices and sift three times.
3. In another large bowl, cream butter. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and prune pulp.
4. Add dry ingredients to prune mixture, alternating with milk.
5. Pour batter into two 9-inch layer pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes [or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean].
Fluffy Coffee Frosting
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup ground coffee
3 egg whites, unbeaten
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp. light corn syrup
Dash of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1. Bring water and 3 Tbsp. sugar to a boil. Add coffee and stir quickly. Remove from fire, cover and let stand in a warm place for 5 minutes. Strain off grounds through cheesecloth.
2. Combine egg whites, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 7 tablespoons of the coffee syrup, corn syrup and salt on the top of a double boiler, beating with an egg beater for 13 minutes, or until it stands in stiff peaks. Add vanilla and beat until thick.