California Prunes, Chocolate and Coffee Cake

Linda McGillivary: I was using our fat reduction case studies to experiment with some of the California Prune chocolate cake recipes we already have on our website: my goal was to make a tasty but slightly lower-fat chocolate cake especially for the 2020 Macmillan Coffee Morning (UK).  I created this one, based on a recipe from for California Prunes. Our first taste was a warm slice of flavour explosion: intense coffee, chocolate and vanilla. With an incredibly light texture, less fat, and all the added nutritional benefits of California Prunes, what’s not to like?

Makes: 8-12Prep Time: 25 minutesCook Time: 60-70 minutes


  • For the cake:
  • 150g California Prunes
  • 50ml Tia Maria (or an orange flavoured liqueur)
  • 290ml water
  • 175g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 225g demerara sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 180g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • For the frosting:
  • 30g light butter/spread
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbsp Tia Maria (or orange flavoured liqueur)
  • 15-30mls coffee (made to your preferred strength)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, and grease and line a 9-inch deep spring-form or loose bottomed cake tin.
  2. Place the California Prunes, Tia Maria, water and cinnamon into a small saucepan and heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Whilst the California Prune mix is heating, put the chocolate and butter into a mixing bowl.
  4. Remove the California Prune liquid from the heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and set the California Prunes to one side to cool.
  5. Pour the hot liquid into the chocolate and butter, and mix until melted, blended and smooth.
  6. Add the demerara sugar to the mixture and mix well.
  7. Beat together the eggs and vanilla essence, then add to the melted chocolate mix. Combine well.
  8. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder, then add to the liquid mixture. Mix well, but don’t beat too hard.
  9. Chop the cooled prunes into small pieces, then add to the cake batter. Combine well.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
  11. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer placed in the centre of the cake tin comes out clean.
  12. Remove the cake from the oven, and leave to cool.
  13. To make the frosting, beat the butter/spread until light and fluffy.
  14. In a separate bowl, combine the Tia Maria, vanilla essence and liquid coffee, then add to the butter. NOTE: Don’t worry if it separates a bit at this stage.
  15. Add icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, beating vigorously, until you get the consistency you’re after. I went for a soft frosting which just held its shape, but if you add more icing sugar (or less liquid) you’ll end up with a more traditional butter icing consistency.
  16. When the cake is cool (or slightly warm if, like me, you’re impatient), spread the frosting over the top and side of the cake.

Serving Suggestion:
Cut whilst warm, and enjoy with some friends – and don’t forget to make a donation to Macmillan Coffee Morning.


I made this with Tia Maria, but it would work just as well with a orange liqueur, cherry brandy or even sloe gin.


Linda McGillivary