Friday, April 29, 2011

Remembering Grandma Dot & Her Prune Cake

My sweet Grandma Dot was one of the best bakers I've ever met and I miss her so.  All of her different cookie bars were chewy heaven on earth and her Forgotten Meringue cookies were addictive.  Her cakes, though, were her specialty.  Her prune cake with mocha icing was The Cake but something I just wouldn't try as a child.  After all, prune cake doesn’t really sound very appealing to most kids and it sure didn't to me. Perhaps if it had been called it something different I would have tried it sooner and I know I would have loved it instantly.

Grandma loved a strong, hot cup of coffee with a piece of her cake.  My  hubby enjoys coffee as strong as Grandma did and she loved nothing more than putting on a pot of coffee and serving him a large piece of cake.  I loved that even after we moved all the way across the country every time he travelled back to California on business he would stop in and see her. There was always cake and coffee waiting for him.  It made me so homesick knowing they were together but it made me really happy, too. I know she loved those visits.

I found a copy of Grandma's recipe that she had typed up in an old recipe card tin a few weeks ago. I was thrilled.  Earlier this week I calculated revising Grandma's recipe with coconut flour, but then I noticed the Pamela’s Classic Vanilla Cake Mix at the market and realized that would probably be most like Grandma’s version.  What helped me decide to go with it were all the variations listed on the side of the package - it looked very easy to adapt and flexible.

I had originally planned to make a two layer cake like Grandma always did but realized I’d given all my cake pans away when I became gluten intolerant couldn't use them anymore.  So more cupcakes it was! 

Grandma Dot’s (Gluten Free) Prune Cupcakes
Preheat Oven to 325 - line 20 cupcake tins with papers

One Package Pamela’s Classic Vanilla Cake Mix
1/2 cup butter, softened or melted
3 eggs
1 cup prunes (cooked and chopped)
2./3 cup prune juice (liquid from cooking)
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
2 teaspoons total spices (see note)

Place all ingredients in the Kitchenaid bowl and beat on medium for two minutes and then filled 20 cupcake liners nearly full.  The heaviness of the prunes keep the cupcakes from rising too much higher.  Bake until just done - mine took 20 minutes - and let cool.

Now it's time to make the icing.  If you should happen to see this outside your kitchen window you might want to go outside and check things out. Climbing Tree with a sharp saw. Sigh. 

Grandma’s Mocha Icing

½ cup Butter, softened
3 cups  Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cocoa
4 teaspoons Strong, Hot Coffee 

Place all ingredients in the Kitchenaid bowl and beat on low until just incorporated and then at medium high for about two minutes.

I absolutely loved the familiar smell of the cake baking.  The mocha frosting is so fast and easy.  I think this will be a new tradition every April 29th.


Terri said...

Hi Chacha, thank you for your two beautiful blogs on your grandmas. I loved both of my grandmothers so much and miss them terribly. One of my grandmothers would make the best merengue ever. She and I would sit together and we would beat the egg whites with a fork for what seemed like a long time. When they were almost done, I would get to add the sugar. She would also make the best vanilla pudding and flan. Thank you for helping me remember those happy memories. I love the photos!!! L, T

gabbyfek said...

it was OH so yummmmmmmmmmmm.
the photo of chris is making me shake my head-- i can just see you looking out your kitchen window and spying THAT.

chacha said...

Terri, what a "sweet" memory of your grandmother! That makes me smile. =D

Gabby, but did you click on it and see his smile?? He was so happy!