This gluten free and vegan flourless sticky chocolate plum cake is naturally sweetened with California dried plums. Perfect for dessert or snacking alongside a cup of coffee.
“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 contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
Before this recipe contest, I hadn't had a dried plum since I was, oh, 5 years old maybe. In my mind, I remembered them tasting...well, not that great. But, we all know taste buds change so I when a pack of dried plums arrived on my doorstep, I was curious to see what they actually tasted like. Seriously, I can't believe I was missing out for so long. Hands down, favorite dried fruit and maybe even snack food in general. Since creating this recipe, we've already gone through two bags. I think I may need an intervention....
I'd heard dried plums could be used in place of butter and sugar in baked goods, but it always seemed a bit retro to me. Like something you'd see in a 1970s issue of Good Housekeeping alongside jello salad. No thanks.
But after trying my first dried plum in 25 odd years, I got it. The fruity and slightly tart flavor would pair perfectly with chocolate. The sticky texture seemed just right for a dense, flourless cake. Plus, I've been baking with other dried fruit pastes for awhile now, so it didn't seem that weird anymore.
When it comes to cake, I'm kind of a snob. I pass on anything described as light and fluffy. I much prefer cakes that are rich, dense and could be accurately described with that 'm-word' we all hate so much. That's exactly what this cake is. Especially the m-word.
Before we get to the recipe, lets talk dried plums, or as I like to call them, the artist formerly known as prunes.
May is National Osteoporosis Month, so it seems a good time to highlight dried plums role in supporting bone health. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and porous, causing them to break more easily. Although it mainly affects elderly women, especially those on the thinner side, men (even larger men) are susceptible, especially with our modern American diet that's low in bone building nutrients. It's also very serious. You might not think of a broken bone as being that big of a deal, but as you get older, it can seriously impact your quality of life and ability to do the things you love.
When you think bone health, you probably think calcium, vitamin D and of course, dairy. However, there are many other bone building nutrients, and research is even beginning to show dairy may not play as big of a role in bone health as we once thought. Other nutrients, like vitamin K, phosphorus, boron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, are just as important as calcium and vitamin D. And guess what? Dried plums are a great source of these nutrients! Dried plums are actually the best fruit source of vitamin K, a vitamin which increases bone mineral density. In fact, studies have found that 1-2 servings of dried plums a day increases bone mineral density and markers of bone formation, even in people who already have osteoporosis.
Other health benefits:
DIGESTIVE HEALTH // Dried plums are not only high in fiber, but also in naturally occurring sorbitol. This sugar alcohol isn't fully digested, so it pulls fluids into the gut, helping to promote regularity.
HEART HEALTH // Animal studies on prunes have found they may be effective in both lowering cholesterol and reducing atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels.
ANTIOXIDANTS // Dried plums are a rich source of antioxidants, mainly phenols, which seem to be especially beneficial for heart health. Dried plums are also a good source of vitamin C, another antioxidant vitamin.
Now, back to the recipe. I've never been into the whole cup of coffee and a baked good thing, but if I were, I imagine this would be exactly what I'd want next to my cup o' Joe. It's not too sweet, so if you prefer it more dessert-like, feel free to increase the honey to 3 or 4 tablespoons. The rich cake would also be delicious served with whipped coconut cream. Because it's so dense and sticky, the old stick a knife in the center of the cake thing doesn't work here. Just eyeball it, you'll begin to see when it's beginning to puff around the edges. It's pretty forgiving, so no worries if you over or undercook it a bit.
Sticky Chocolate Plum Cake
- 1 tablespoon chia seds
- 6 tablespoons almond milk
- 3/4 cup California dried plums
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
- In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds and almond milk. Let sit to gel for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor, blend dried plums into a puree. Add chia gel, honey, almond butter, and vanilla and blend again until combined. Add almond meal and cocoa powder to the food processor and blend again until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper with some hanging over the sides then cover generously with oil. This makes it easier to remove. Scrape in batter and spread even with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes, sprinkling with coconut halfway through cooking.
- Remove from oven, let cool in the pan. When ready to serve, lift out by pulling on the foil or parchement paper and cut into thin slices before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.