Election cake, mostly forgotten in modern politics and home kitchens, has deep roots in American history, dating all the way back to the original 13 colonies.

Originally believed to have been baked as a loaf in communal ovens, the confection was used to encourage civic participation. This modern take keeps the spiced fruit and brandy, which help to preserve flavor and moisture in the cake even after it sits out for a few days–but with sweet prunes and warm spice notes throughout, who can wait that long?

About Election Cake:

election cake recipeMarion Burros wrote about Election Cake for the New York Times, where she shared that many elected officials had never tried it and it was also known as Hartford Election Cake. The one thing history seems to agree on is that the proper recipe is a yeasted sweet cake dough (like panettone) with dried fruit included. The New England Historical Society shared more history of the cake, and says the first printed version of American election cake appears in 1796 in the first U.S. cookbook, Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery.

All in all, Election Cake is hearty treat that can be stored at room temperature, can last a few days, and was meant to fortify hunger voters before or after they performed their important civic duty: voting.

Making Election Cake:

Election cake is really a cross between a yeasted sweet bread and a cake. The great news is that a stand mixer makes quick work of the historic recipe – it will handle the kneading for you. While that’s happening, the dried fruit gets a quick, boozy soak. The original loaf pan is swapped for a Bundt pan, which makes for a prettier presentation and more surface for the flavorful glaze.

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Inspired by California Prunes team member Ginger Holzknecht’s holiday treats, these chocolate bliss balls balance a rich combination of flavors with a light texture–with a little crisp from the rice cereal, and natural sweetness from the prunes. We like to mix up the outer layer, alternating between dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and coconut flakes, and serve these as a healthier option to a more traditional bonbon, but they also make for a quick and filling snack on the go! 

Ideas For Gingerbread House DecoratingHoliday idea: we used this chocolate bliss ball recipe as the base for our snowman on this amazing gingerbread house!

Note: You can heat the prunes on the stove, but microwaving them helps them soften faster, and absorb even more of the liquid, which lightens the density of the mixture.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Food processor, melon baller or small ice cream scoop for portioning the bliss balls

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Chewy oatmeal cookies loaded with dark chocolate, chopped prunes and a touch of honey We can’t think of a better treat, thanks. Or a better breakfast, frankly.

This riff on our Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies is inspired by one of our growers, Matt Bozzo, who swaps the puree for chopped prunes, and uses dark honey from his own hives to give these an even richer flavor.

For a little crunch, you can also add in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (Matt grows those too) to make next-level chewy oatmeal cookies!

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dried fruit gingerbread house decorNeed deliciously fun ideas for gingerbread house decorating? You’ve come to the right place! These incredibly awesome gingerbread house decorating ideas come from a newspaper article featuring Lorena Mariani decades ago, and they are fabulous!  We think you’ll enjoy creating this fun holiday house too. Plus, you can do some snacking while you build!


Our friend James Collier created a modern-day version of the Mariani family classic, so you can create this fun gingerbread house at home.


Lorena Mariani building a Mariani Dried Fruit HouseThe Mariani Family has been an innovator in agriculture for generations, preserving family traditions alongside a wide variety of fresh fruit. Lorena Mariani created her own take on a holiday gingerbread house, building hers out of dried apricots, raisins, pears, and prunes. We’ve created our own nod to Lorena’s tradition, and set it as the centerpiece of a delicious charcuterie spread.


How We Made It: 

The base for our holiday chateau is a store-bought gingerbread house kit. Sizes vary by kit, so the measurements here are rough, but follow these steps to create your own. If your kit doesn’t include royal icing, it’s worth an extra 10 minutes to make your own!


gingerbread house pro tipPro Tip:

Decorate the walls of your gingerbread house – and let them dry – BEFORE you assemble. That makes decorating and placing special design ideas way easier!

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Chef & food stylist Aliza J. Sokolow shared her much-beloved recipe for Chocolate Chunk, Oatmeal & Prune Cookies, so we can share it with you! This recipe yields 3 dozen cookies – perfect for holiday sharing, or freezing a few for the next time you need a sweet snack. Aliza uses dark chocolate chunks and flour from another California favorite, the Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project.

If you’d like to see more of what Aliza is baking up, check out her Instagram here.  If you’d ready to bake up a storm, try Chef Peter Sidwell’s Salted Double Chocolate Chip Cookies next.

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Our Chocolate Fudge Raw Bar is a healthy on-the-go snack! Warning: these bars tend to disappear quickly…you might want to make a double batch!

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Looking for the perfect way to start your day? This This “Pink Power” Watermelon Smoothie is paleo-friendly and refreshingly delicious. It’s the perfect way to fuel your fitness routine!

Wondering why a berry + prune + watermelon smoothie is the ultimate pre-workout drink? Understandable. It’s because this awesome pink drink contains: carotenoids, lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C and L-citrulline (an amino acid.) That combo fuels your workout and help reduce the oxidative damage that occurs while you work out. Winning!

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If you love chocolate-covered strawberries, you’ll love this easy recipe by Alison Needham! This delicious and healthy smoothie has plenty of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins to give you a healthy start to your day. Plus, prunes have potassium and vitamin K which help keep bones strong. Of course, the chocolate-covered strawberry garnish is optional (but is it really?).

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This fun, bright super pink smoothie by Alison Needham is loaded with sweet-tart raspberries and strawberries. California Prunes add a touch of sweetness, plus vitamin K, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants! It’s a nutritious smoothie the whole family will love!

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