healthier baking with prunes

Your Guide to Healthier Baking | Tips & Tricks

By Alison Needham for California Prunes

Healthier Baked Goods with California Prunes

Perhaps you’ve heard of the gut health benefits of eating prunes every day. While we are huge fans of simply eating prunes as a healthy, nutritious, and delicious snack, we predict that prunes are the next BIG thing to add health and nutrition to baked goods! Whether you are trying to reduce refined sugar, cut unhealthy fats, or simply make healthier baked goods, California Prunes and Prune Purée are ingredients more and more bakers are relying on to enhance their cakes, cookies, muffins, and more.

Because prunes are naturally sweet, they are an obvious choice for a healthy sugar alternative. But prunes can also add loft, color, and moisture to baked goods. With the addition of prune purée, bakers can reduce refined sugar by up to one-third, as well as reducing the amount of needed eggs and fats.

Healthier Baking Tips and Tricks

Baking pros at Bake from Scratcha website and publication for expert and novice bakers alike, noted, “To get the most out of your substitutions, baked goods like one-bowl cakes, quick breads, brownies, and muffins tend to be the best candidates for a prune purée swap. Look for simple stir-together recipes. These recipes don’t rely on creaming sugar and fat (such as butter) first, which incorporates air and adds volume, but rather they utilize sugar for sweetness, color, and texture. This allows us to replace added sugar without structurally compromising our baked goods.”

Nigella Lawson has never been shy about her love of adding prunes to baked goods—and her fans agree. After she suggested using them in her Chocolate Christmas Cake, prune sales soared.

Lawson also utilizes prunes’ natural sweetness to enhance her Luscious Vegan Gingerbread declaring, “It’s everything you want out of a gingerbread – sticky, spicy, deeply aromatic – and you would never miss the butter or eggs.”

CHOCOLATE FRUIT CAKE Christmas cake nigella healthier baking

Good for you baking is totally a thing.

In addition to reducing sugar and fat in baked goods, prunes are a healthy powerhouse and provide many essential vitamins and minerals that will level up the nutritional value of those cookies! Prunes are low glycemic and loaded with fiber, polyphenols, boron, potassium, and Vitamin K which collectively can contribute to gut health, reduced inflammation, cancer prevention, blood sugar control, bone health, and reduced cholesterol!

So now that you’re convinced that it’s time to start adding prune purée to your cakes, cookies, breads, and other confections, you’re probably wondering exactly how to make the swap. Prune purée can be used in a variety of ways when baking. Use it to replace sugar, eggs, or fat and no one will be the wiser! Here’s what you need to know to update your favorite recipes:

  • Swap for sugar: Use prune purée to replace anywhere from one-third to half of the sugar in a recipe.
  • Swap out eggs: To replace 1 large egg, use ¼ cup prune purée. Keep in mind that this works best in recipes that call for no more than 3 large eggs.
  • Lose the fat: To cut down on fat, replace up to half of the butter or oil with an equal amount of prune purée.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite healthy baking recipes with California Prunes to inspire you.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This Mess is Ours

This easy chocolate cake recipe is quite possibly the easiest and most delicious cake you will ever bake! It all comes together in one bowl and it has less sugar and oil than other chocolate cakes too, thanks to the addition of California Prunes. We think this Chocolate Layer Cake is perfect for all of your celebrations!

Hummingbird-Prune Coffee Cake

Bake from Scratch

Originating in the Caribbean, hummingbird cake boasts tropical banana and bright pineapple flavors. This streusel-topped twist on the traditional recipe has a secret ingredient to its sweet success—naturally sweet and delicious prunes. Using the highest-quality dried fruit from California Prunes, this Hummingbird-Prune Coffee Cake has less added sugar, while prunes boost nutritional content and flavor. Swapping prune puree for sugar is a healthier baking trick you won’t want to miss. With a pecan streusel topping and optional Cream Cheese Glaze, the only thing missing is a warm mug of freshly brewed coffee.

Hummingbird-Prune Coffee Cake
Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

A Girl Defloured

While we wouldn’t go so far as to call this decadent Double Chocolate Cheesecake a healthy food, it’s healthier due to the addition of California Prunes. This rich double chocolate cheesecake uses California Prune Purée to not only reduce the sugar content by 1/3 but to also add wonderful flavor and nutritional value. Though it takes some time to prepare, it comes together easily and can be made several days in advance.

Raspberry Prune Bread

Bakes by Brown Sugar

This Raspberry Prune Bread is a delicious combination of prune-sweetened quick bread with the added tartness of fresh raspberries. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to replace part of the sugar with prune puree and add fresh fruit for a satisfying snack or breakfast treat. This quick bread starts with the traditional ingredients for a quick bread: flour, sugar, eggs, and buttermilk. An infusion of flavor comes from swapping part of the sugar with prune puree, plus fresh raspberries for a satisfying tart flavor. The bread is soft, moist, and absolutely delicious.

Raspberry Prune Bread
Prune, Chocolate, and Oat Bars

Prune, Chocolate, and Oat Bars

Bake from Scratch

Move over store-bought granola bars! These homemade, lightly sweetened Prune, Chocolate, and Oat Bars are all-natural and full of flavor. Whether you are looking for a wholesome treat to put in your loved one’s lunchbox or just need a satisfying grab-and-go snack, these bars come together quickly and pack up perfectly. And the best part? The touch of sweetness comes naturally from clover honey and the highest-quality dried plums from California Prunes. Harnessing the nutrient-rich ingredients of almond butter, pistachios, sesame, pumpkin, oats, and dried fruit, these bars are finished with an irresistible layer of bittersweet chocolate and a touch of sea salt. This power-packed California Prune-studded recipe is destined to be a staple in your home!

Sticky Gingerbread Cake

Rachel Dunston for CA GROWN

This Sticky Gingerbread Cake by Rachel Dunston of Rachel Makes It is a riff on Nigella Lawson’s famous recipe. It’s a delicious treat during the holidays with its warm spices and tender crumb. Bonus: it has less refined sugar, is lower in fat, and egg free thanks to the addition of Prune Puree.

Images by James Collier for California Prunes assets available for digital use with credit to California Prune Board, contact Domestic team for use in print/trade Nigella Lawson's Luscious Vegan Gingerbread in COOK EAT REPEAT cookbook

Feeling inspired by these healthier baking recipes? Get more recipes here!