Racing cookbook – chocolate prune “muffins”

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sydney Brown, my roommate at Redlands, shared with me that she collects recipes from the people she stays with during races. That is one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time. As a lover of good food and a pack rat, I’m glad to have a souvenir that will last forever, will always be relevant, and won’t clutter up my apartment. I think I’m going to copy her and make my own racing cookbook, starting now.

I have been home for five days and I’m still eating like I’m at a stage race. Fortunately my kitchen isn’t as well-stocked as the one in my host house, so I’m not tempted by the peanut butter-chocolate cookies or strawberry pie that kept appearing. Another confection that kept showing up was a Loma Linda chocolate prune cake, which has quite a reputation for yumminess in Southern California. Unfortunately I couldn’t partake as wheat gives me stomachaches, so I had to wait until I got home to make it.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone so I halved the recipe and made a few changes. The final product ended up being a really tasty chocolate “muffin.” The texture is more muffin-like than cakelike, and I think that between the whole-grain flours and the prunes it just sneaks over the line into okay-for-breakfast territory. Barely. To make it a real cake follow the recipe in the link above.

Loma Linda Chocolate Prune Muffins


  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a good glug of vanilla (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup milk, stir, let them sit together for a few minutes then stir again before using)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (6.25 oz if you weigh your flour. I used a combination of oat, brown rice & buckwheat flours plus about 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • optional – 1/2 cup Macapuno (coconut sport strings)


1. Soak prunes in boiling water 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. If you’re using gluten free flours you might want to save the liquid in case you need to add some to the batter later, as gf flours often soak up more liquid than wheat flour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Greased and flour or add liners to twelve muffin wells (or more if you want smaller muffins).

3. Combine oil, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in bowl. Add egg and beat until everything looks uniform and glossy, at least 1 minute.

4. Place the prunes and buttermilk in blender or food processor bowl and whiz them until they’re finely chopped. Particles are okay, you just don’t want any large chunks. Add to oil mixture with flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well. If the mixture looks more like bread dough than cake batter, add a little prune liquid until it looks like cake batter…trust your instincts! If desired, stir in the coconut strings.

5. Fill muffin wells about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking muffins at 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12 medium muffins


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