Baking & DessertVegan

By Aine Carlin | July 28, 2011

Photo: Aine Carlin

Now before you go screwing your face up at the thought of prunes in a cake let me jump to their defense – or at least my defense and tell you why they work in this cake.

Shall we say that these funny dried fruits have connotations that aren’t exactly the most appetizing? Despite this I have put prunes firmly back on the ‘eat’ list and have grown very fond them, using them in breakfast oats, chopped up in various sweet dishes and even (shock!) eating them on their own. That’s right folks, I’m now happy to just pop one in my mouth and chew.

Prunes give the perfect amount of chew within the moist, crumbly cake. They are surprisingly delicious and a perfect addition to this simple baked good. Quite honestly the cake would be a lesser cake without them.

Why ‘finger cake’? Because you can pick it up all delicately between your fingers – great for drinking with a cup of tea.

If you decide to put the batter in a smaller loaf tin, it probably could no longer be classified as a ‘finger cake’ and that would be disappointing. I want you to get in on the finger cake action. So a standard 2lb loaf tin it is. It will look like there is nothing in the tin but don’t panic. It also won’t rise up much. It will taste fantastic and you will like the prunes.

Oh, and how could I forget – this cake is 100% gluten free. Hurrah!

Photo: Aine Carlin

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan or rock salt
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 5/6 small chopped prunes
For Amaretto Sugar Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • decent splash of amaretto

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

2. Sift the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb, ground ginger, nutmeg, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Give it a gentle stir with a spatula.

3. Puree the kiwi in a hand blender and add the oil, milk, cider vinegar and almond extract and give it another very quick blitz to incorporate.

4. Chop the prunes into small pieces - I quartered them.

5. Grease the loaf tin with a little vegan margarine.

6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and thoroughly combine with a spatula ensuring not to over work the batter.

7. Finally, add the prunes and gently incorporate before transferring to the greased tin. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing it from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack covered with baking parchment (this will help when you cover it with the syrup).

8. Pierce holes all over the top of the cake using a cake tester or a chop stick.

To Make Amaretto Sugar Syrup:

1. Place the sugar and water in a pan and swirl to dissolve. Bring to a gentle boil for about 5-10 minutes until it reduces to about a quarter cup of syrup.

2. Add the amaretto, swirl to incorporate and take it off the heat.

3. Allow to cool for a minute or two before carefully drizzling over the cake using a spoon.

4. Cover the cake with the baking parchment until completely cool before slicing.

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