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Spicy Layer Cake

The Silver Palate
Good Times Cookbook

by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins with
Sarah Leah Chase, 1985, Workman Publishing

10 to 12 portions

30 pitted prunes
1/3 cup brandy
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine,
room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 1/4 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,
room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese,
room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest strips or
whole poached prunes (garnish)

1. To make the cake, place the prunes in a medium-size saucepan. Add
the brandy and enough water to cover by 1/2 inch. Simmer until the
prunes are plump and tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
3. Cream the margarine and the sugars in a large mixer bowl. Add the
eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom,
nutmeg, cloves, and salt together. Drain the prunes, reserving 1/2
cup of the cooking liquid. Add the flour mixture alternately with the
buttermilk and prune cooking liquid to the butter mixture, beating
 well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and stir in the prunes.
5. Pour the batter onto the prepared pans. Bake until the cake springs
back when lightly touched in the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool
10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks and cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla
in a mixer bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in the confectioner's
sugar. Add the lemon zest and beat until blended. Beat in a few
drops of lemon juice if the frosting is too thick.
7. Frost the layers, side, and top of the cake.  Use any extra frosting
to pipe a decorative design on the cake, if desired.
8. Refrigerate until cold.  Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes
before serving.  Garnish with lemon zest or whole poached prunes.

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