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Bake a prune cake with a pedigree

Published Sep. 3, 2005

Marie Brand clipped a recipe for prune cake from the Philadelphia Daily News about 25 years ago. The article said the cake was one of the specialties of the famous Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Ky. Warm sauce is poured over the two layers while the cake is still warm; Marie says it is delicious.

The Beaumont Inn cake is made with vegetable oil and buttermilk. Louise Bumb's prune cake is prepared with shortening and prune water. Grated lemon rind adds flavor. Louise writes that this was her mother's favorite recipe and was used for many years.

Dale Porter asked for Laura York's fudge surprise key lime pie recipe. The pastry crust is covered with a fudge layer.

The key lime filling is prepared with gelatin and contains sour cream. When the filling is chilled thoroughly, top with whipped cream and decorate with chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.

For: Mary Bertucci of Largo.

From: Marie Brand of Dunedin.

Recipe: Beaumont Inn Prune Cake, from the Philadelphia Daily News.

Beaumont Inn Prune Cake

3 eggs, beaten whole

{ cup vegetable oil

1{ cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1{ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cooked and cut prunes

1 cup chopped nuts

Sauce:

{ teaspoon baking soda

{ cup buttermilk

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon white corn syrup

} stick butter (6 tablespoons)

{ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake, mix ingredients in order given. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch layer pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, or until cake tests done.

For sauce, dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan; stir together. Boil for about one minute and pour over cake while it's still warm.

Marguerite Ulrich of St. Petersburg sends a similar recipe, noting that it can be baked in a 9- by 13-inch pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. However, Marguerite prefers to bake the cake in a tube pan that has been greased and floured.

Baker's Joy is her favorite product for the task.

Marguerite has used this recipe, which was her mother's, for 50 years. She says the cake should not be refrigerated and will keep moist for a week. Mix the cake by hand or use an electric mixer.

From: Louise Bumb of Pinellas Park.

Recipe: Favorite Prune Cake.

Favorite Prune Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar, divided

4 eggs

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

cup prune water

2 cups chopped, cooked prunes (unsweetened)

1{ cups chopped nutmeats

Brown sugar boiled frosting, your favorite recipe

Crushed peanut or almond brittle candy for garnish

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Cream shortening thoroughly; add 1{ cups sugar gradually, beating well.

Beat eggs until light and fluffy; beat in remaining { cup sugar. Add creamed mixture; beat well. Combine lemon rind and prune water; add alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Fold in prunes and nutmeats. Bake in two greased, square cake pans, lined with waxed paper, at 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tests done.

Put layers together and cover top and sides with plain brown sugar boiled frosting. Sprinkle coarsely crushed or rolled peanut or almond brittle candy liberally on sides of cake and on top, if desired.

For: Dale Porter of St. Petersburg.

From: Maxine Briggs of Holiday.

Recipe: Laura York's Fudge Surprise Key Lime Pie, from the St. Petersburg Times, March 1990.

Laura York's Fudge Surprise Key Lime Pie

Crust:

1{ cups all-purpose flour

{ teaspoon salt

{ cup Butter Flavor Crisco

3 tablespoons ice water

Fudge layer:

{ cup chocolate fudge topping

cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Filling:

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

\ cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

\ cup cornstarch

1 cup milk

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

cup key lime juice

\ cup Butter Flavor Crisco

1 cup sour cream

Topping:

2 cups whipping cream

\ cup confectioners' sugar

8 whole macadamia nuts

cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

For crust: Combine flour and salt in bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender (or two knives) until all flour is blended in, forming pea-size chunks.

Sprinkle with water, one tablespoon at a time. Toss lightly with fork until dough forms ball. Press between hands to form 5- to 6-inch disk. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Lightly flour rolling surface and rolling pin. Roll dough into circle. Trim one inch larger than upside-down 9-inch pie plate. Loosen dough carefully. Fold into quarters. Unfold. Press into pie plate.

For decorative edge, cut slits around edge of pastry, leaving about 1[ inches between slits. Fold top left corner down to the bottom right of each dough section, forming triangles. Prick bottom and sides thoroughly with fork (50 times) to prevent shrinkage. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

For fudge layer: Spread fudge topping over bottom of crust. (Stir topping if it is too thick to spread.) Sprinkle with nuts and gently press into sauce.

For filling: Soak the gelatin in the \ cup water for five minutes. Place the mixture in the top of a double boiler, over hot water, and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Combine granulated sugar and cornstarch in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in milk until smooth. Stir in egg yolks and lime juice. Add shortening. Cook, stirring constantly, on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin mixture slowly. Pour into large bowl. Chill 40 to 50 minutes. Fold in sour cream. Pour into baked pie shell. Chill 2 hours.

Dip whole macadamia nuts into chocolate and place on a plate lined with waxed paper. Chill chocolate-covered nuts in the freezer for 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.

For topping: Combine whipping cream and confectioners' sugar. Beat until stiff. Pile on top of pie or spoon tablespoons onto outer edge of filling to form "clouds." Top each with a chocolate-covered macadamia nut.

Recipe requests

Gay Caloccia of Mississauga, Ontario, writes that some years ago she made coffee liqueur using instant coffee crystals, brown sugar and vodka. Gay has misplaced the recipe and would like to have a copy. It makes a great gift and is economical to make.

The value of eating blueberries has been a topic in the news lately. Martha Singelman of Holiday writes that Freshy's blueberry pie was a winner in the fifth Pillsbury Bake-Off. She would like to have the recipe to make use of fresh blueberries.

You Asked for It is a reader mail column. If you have a cooking question or the answer to someone else's question, write to: You Asked for It, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Be sure to include your full name, city and phone number with your letter. Letters without this information will be discarded. Requests cannot be answered by phone or mail.