Microwave Date Mini-Cakes

2016-05-19 19.17.54RECIPE #247, DAY #333


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Prune Sponge” from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes*

TIMING: 20 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Way easier than it should be

TOOLS: You will need 4-6 microwavable ramekins

COOK TYPE: Even though I avoid it like the plague, the microwave

HEALTH: Well, there’s fruit, which is good for you. And it’s less sweet than most American cakes.

EXPERIENCE: I got tricked into this. When I saw the recipe for “Prune Cakes” in Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, I never thought it would be for the microwave. I guess I should have known because the point of the book is easy, family-friendly, weeknight meals. But I just assumed Jamie was as snooty as I am.

When I got home with the ingredients and realized my predicament (and I happen to be staying at a house that has an actual microwave), I bit the bullet. And my college-age step-brother flipped out because yes, even he can handle a microwave cake.

I thought they were a bit dry, but everybody loved them. Perhaps because they are individual, the sweetness is understated, and they knew they came from the microwave? Or maybe just because they tasted good.

NOTES: You could go with other dried fruits, like currants, craisins, or apricots, but I would strongly recommend some fresh fruit, like peaches, apricots, cherries, apples, bananas, or any sort of berry.

British ingredients and sensibilities differ from American, so I had to do some tweaking. I swapped vanilla for ginger and had to add sugar to the prunes to mimic the way they come in England: in a can of syrup. Also, I drizzled maple syrup where Oliver would have used golden syrup (which is hard to find here, and not quite to the average American taste).

Of course, you could just pop these in the oven, too. I would go for 350 and watch them carefully. And I also think that–microwave or oven–they could use a bowl of water in with them to give them a more moist, steamed finish.


  1. Chop 1 1/4 cups mixed dates and prunes. Divide evenly into 4 microwavable ramekins. Drizzle (divided) 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons corn syrup (or brown rice syrup).
  2. In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix, then add 1 egg, 1/3 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Combine until smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the ramekins, making sure the batter covers the fruit to the edges.
  4. Set all 4 ramekins in the microwave and cook on high for 6 minutes.
  5. Top with some creme fraiche and a drizzle of maple (or golden) syrup.

Serve with the creme fraiche and syrup at the end of a family meal.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.


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