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17.10.09

Armagnac Spice Cake

This is the best cake recipe in the world.

Armagnac Spice Cake

About 2 tablespoons butter for pan
3 cups white, all-purpose flour, plus some for pan
12 ozs. pitted prunes
2 cups water
1/4 cup Armagnac brandy
1 1/2 cups corn oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.

2. Combine prunes, water, Armagnac in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and simmer about 15 minutes, until prunes are tender. Drain prunes, reserving liquid for glaze (below). If there is more than 1/3 cup of prune liquid left, boil until reduced to 1/3 cup. Coarsely chop prunes.

3. In a large bowl, beat oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. In another, smaller bowl, whisk the 3 cups of flour with the other 7 dry ingredients; add to oil-sugar mixture. Add buttermilk; beat just until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped prunes. Pour into prepared bundt pan.

4. Bake on center rack in 350-degree oven until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean—about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Place on cooling rack and make glaze (below).

5. Pierce cake with a skewer 40 or more times. Slowly pour 1 1/4 cups of hot glaze over hot cake. Reserve extra glaze. Cool cake 30 minutes. Turn out onto platter and cool completely. Re-warm extra glaze and serve with cake as sauce.

10-14 servings


Glaze

1/3 cup reserved prune liquid
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (6 ozs.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup Armagnac brandy
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan deeper than you think you need. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring. Interaction of baking soda and lemon may cause sudden, rapid over-boil if you don’t watch pot carefully; lower heat and/or remove saucepan from heat briefly if necessary. Boil 2 minutes. Skim off and discard any “skin” that may develop when reheating glaze to serve as sauce.

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