How prunes cut fat — and make a great fudgy chocolate cake

Prunes, our featured locally grown ingredient in today’s Food & Wine section, do a lot more in the kitchen than promote digestive health.

Cut fat while adding fiber and more nutrients to baked goods with pureed prunes. It’s the fiber that makes the difference.

Prunes contain 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit. How does fiber sub for fat? In baked goods, fiber holds air bubbles that help create “lift.” Leavening such as baking soda or baking powder releases carbon dioxide during baking and that inflates those air bubbles. The result is a lighter texture that also fools the mouth; it “feels” like fat, not fiber, to our tongues.

Before adding prune puree to every cake or quick bread, remember that prunes add their own strong flavor and color. Its dark purple hue fits a brownie, but doesn’t look as appealing in a yellow cake.

To make puree, process 1 cup pitted prunes (about 6 ounces) with 6 tablespoons HOT water in a food processor until smooth. That makes 1 cup pureed prunes.

This Fudgy Chocolate Cake makes the most of prunes’ fat-cutting power while retaining their moistness. Instead of making puree, chopped prunes are simmered on the stovetop before adding to the batter. But the effect is the same: A lighter dessert with lots of rich taste but less guilt. (And it’s good for you, too.)

For more on prunes, click here. Yuba City’s Sunsweet Growers, the nation’s major prune processor, also offers many prune recipes on its website,