Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the content. I was not compensated for my time.
Dried plums are so underrated. I bet you haven’t had a dried plum (aka prune) in a long while. Sorry, there’s no good excuse. They’re naturally sweet, a good source of fiber and can add moisture and flavor to recipes. I’ll show you how to use them to up the ante in baking in a minute.
May is National Osteoporosis Month. I want you to replace the image of a milk mustache with a prune puree mustache. Is that too much to ask? Seriously though, a daily serving of dried plums can reverse bone loss and preserve bone structure, which is great news especially for postmenopausal women! This effect is due to the prunes’ phenolic compounds which (bonus!) also function as antioxidants.
Going beyond bone health, California Dried Plums are The Whole Package. With 3 grams of fiber per serving, they help with digestive health, reduce LDL cholesterol, and promote satiety. Dried plums are low GI with a score of 29 on the Glycemic Index and contain important nutrients such as boron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K. If that’s not enough good news, dried plums unlike most dried fruit don’t need any sulfating agents like sulfur dioxide so those with allergies or sensitivities can rest easy.
Now that I’ve talked you into eating prunes for your health, let me convince you to go beyond using them as a snack.
I was inspired by my alma mater Loma Linda University and the Loma Linda Market on campus which is famous for their prune cake. It is incredibly moist and the secret ingredient is prunes.
I wanted to see if I could replicate their genius invention while making it gluten free and using healthier ingredients. This is Recipe Redux after all!
I created my own gluten free flour mix that uses brown rice flour for a little added fiber and potato starch for resistant starch. I also make this recipe dairy free by making a buttermilk substitute which combines a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with unsweetened coconut or almond milk. If you tolerate dairy, you can skip this step and use regular buttermilk.
Instead of their frosting which has shortening, corn syrup and other not-so-lovely ingredients, I simply top this cake with whipped coconut cream, though a scoop of ice cream or a thin layer of chocolate buttercream would be nice too.
The recipe is fairly simple. Combine the dry ingredients. Blend the wet ingredients (including dried plums that have been soaked and drained). Add the wet to the dry. Patiently wait for the cake to bake.
And give yourself a fist bump for a delicious dessert that is loaded with dried plum goodness and free of gluten and other yuckiness!
3/4 cup California Dried Plums, pitted and soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk or buttermilk substitute (1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar)
2 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (or 2 1/2 cups of my gluten free flour mix shown below)
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I recommend melted coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla
Gluten Free Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour/starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two 9″ cake pans.
Allow the California Dried Plums to soak in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
If using buttermilk substitute, add apple cider vinegar to non-dairy milk and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt on low speed.
In a blender, add the drained California Dried Plums, buttermilk or substitute, oil, eggs and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk on medium speed until well combined.
Divide batter between the two cake pans and smooth using a spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Serve with whipped coconut cream and chopped dried plums.
P.S. To make Coconut Whipped Cream, refrigerate a can of coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk. Open the can and scoop out the white solid cream. Using a stand or hand mixer, whip on medium speed and add a sprinkle of vanilla extract and maple syrup. Use immediately. You can also refrigerate it and re-whip it when you need to use it.