prune & port chocolate cake with port-poached prunes

Hello from my snuggy bed, cup of tea in hand. What a gorgeous morning – I can’t wait to head out into the freezing air for my walk shortly (alternating walking and yoga at the moment), but first I wanted to share this recipe I put together for Fairfax – prune and port chocolate cake with rich chocolate ganache and port poached prunes…yup, it’s bloody good. The cake is quite dense and moist, (a bit dessert-y,) the ganache is spiked with port and the plump prunes have a hit of orange, star anise and cinnamon. You can serve everything warm or cold with mascarpone, whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, and the prunes are also great on warm rice pudding, porridge, or baked in a clafoutis like this 🙂

Hmm, what else to report? It is a weird old feeling having finished the book and being in limbo before the launch…it was such a bloody relief to have the focus of constantly working for the last year, and although I’m still working all the time, it’s a bit different without that massive goal to be achieved. I have been intrigued with the PR process and have been merrily interviewing with a range of media, I could talk all day…but the accompanying photo shoots. Argggh, sh*t I hate having my photo taken and am spectacularly bad at it. The only way I look half decent is if I’m laughing my head off, but those shots aren’t used so much as it’s just my face and a lot of teeth…! This weekend I am going to be sharing a sneak-peek inside the book, so I hope you’ll come back for a squiz at the pics and to read a little more about it. Meanwhile – stay warm, eat cake.

(Oh I totally forgot the pic below – isn’t she lovely, found in a gallery in the Netherlands, love me a bit of Dutch portrait-action).

Port poached prunes:

1/2 cup port
250grams prunes
½ star anise
peel of one orange
1 cinamon stick
4 whole cloves
3 tablespoons caster sugar

Put port in a medium saucepan with ½ cup water and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar,  for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and stir in remaining port. Leave to cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Makes 1 1/2 cups

Prune & port chocolate cake:
1 cup prunes
1/3 cup port
200grams butter, chopped
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 11/2 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
2 cups plain flour
½ cup mascarpone (or sour cream)

Put prunes and port into a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes then add butter and cocoa. Stir until the butter is melted then remove from the heat and add baking soda. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 170˚C and spray a bundt or ring tin lightly with baking oil. Put prune mixture into a food processor and whiz to a smooth-ish paste. Add the sugar and eggs and whiz again to combine. Add the flour and pulse once or twice then add the mascarpone and pulse again until the mixture is combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before tipping out onto a cooling rack. Once cool drizzle with half of the ganache, then serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, poached prunes and remaining ganache. Serves 8-10

Chocolate & port ganache:
200 grams dark 50-70% chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup cream
2 tablespoons port

Put chopped chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water on the stove top. Stir until melted then remove from the heat and wisk until smooth. Add the port and whisk again. Leave to cool in the fridge for 45 minutes before pouring over the cake. Makes 1 1/4 cups


  1. Hi Sarah – I loved this, it was a great hit and something just that bit different. Just thought you may like to correct the title of this post (Pune). Bet your life is about to become a whirlwind of PR opportunities – good luck!

  2. Hi
    Decided to make this – but a little confused (not unusual)
    For the port poached prunes you instruct to add the extra port – what extra port?

    1. Hi Robyn – so sorry, in which part of the recipe? I can’t quite see it..? 🙂

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