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Chocolate and fruit cakes combine the bitter with the sweet.

By Mary Beth MartinSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / April 4, 1984



THE combination of chocolate and fruit can be intriguing because of the contrast of the clean, tart flavor of fruit and the rich, complex flavor of chocolate.

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Several favorite cakes contain these ingredients in one form or another.

Chocolate linzer torte breaks from tradition with buttery crisp chocolate pastry but keeps the raspberry jam filling.

Cherries and chocolate are a classic combination in Black Forest cheesecake. Three-layer chocolate applesauce cake is moist and nutty with a light sour cream filling and frosting, an extravagant cake for a special occasion.

And old-fashioned chocolate-prune-nut cake is spicy and moist, needs no icing , and keeps well. Chocolate-Prune-Nut Cake 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter 4 eggs 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup milk 1 cup pecans, broken into medium-size pieces 1 cup chopped, pitted, and stewed prunes (about 25 prunes) Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a mini-Bundt pan, about 8-cup capacity.

Melt chocolate over hot water. Set aside to cool.

Cream sugar and butter together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in chocolate.

Sift flours, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, salt. On low speed, beat in half of dry ingredients. Add milk and beat until smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients and beat only until smooth. Stir in chopped prunes and nuts. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cake cool on a rack.

Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over cake. Chocolate Linzer Torte Crust 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon cloves 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups almonds, finely ground 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup butter, softened 4 egg yolks Filling 1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam 2 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs Topping 2 egg whites 2 teaspoons water 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds Confectioners' sugar

Combine flour, cloves, cinnamon, salt, almonds, and cocoa and stir until evenly mixed. Cream sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks until mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually stir in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Wrap dough and chill at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Line bottom with waxpaper and grease paper.

Using about two-thirds of dough, roll out a circle 1/2-inch thick and 10 inches across. Place in bottom of pan. Roll out remaining dough 1/4-inch thick and form a rim 1 1/2 inches high around sides of pan. Save some pastry for a lattice on top. Overlap and press sides and bottom together to seal pastry.

Bake pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Roll remaining dough 1/8 -inch thick and cut into strips 3/4-inch wide.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs in bottom of partially baked shell. Spread evenly with raspberry jam.

Arrange dough strips over jam to form a lattice. Press strips lightly around edge of crust to secure them.

Make a glaze of egg whites and water. Brush over lattice top and border. Sprinkle sliced almonds over top.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake torte on upper level of oven for one hour.

To remove torte from pan, loosen around edges with a knife, then release springform.