August 9, 2022


For the afternoon tea in France a few weeks ago (see here) I made some mini muffins to a recipe by Delia Smith.  I spotted the recipe in one of her older cook books, simply called "Baking", when I was actually looking for something else - the lemon curd layer cake that's on the cover (and in the next post).

I wanted some little bite sized cakes to adorn the top layer of the cake stand and these sounded perfect for the job.  I haven't found the recipe anywhere on the internet but it does seem that chocolate, prune and Armagnac (or other alcohol) is a combo that Delia is quite fond of as she has other recipes such as for a cake, mini cakes and a chocolate log.  I can't fault it - they are a match made in heaven...well probably not quite that saintly, owing to the booze!

For the icing I used Lynn Hill's recipe for a chocolate glaze which you can see here although I only made a half quantity.  In the above picture it looks a bit dull because the cakes had been in the fridge for a while, but on the day of making it looked fabulous - dark and glossy.  I decorated my muffins with halved glacé cherries, chocolate raisins and chocolate vermicelli, but you can obviously use your imagination here.  

They were very rich, boozy and chocolatey!  The prunes gave a slightly fruity hint but I doubt anyone would have identified it as prune if they didn't already know.  (Prunes do have a bad press, owing to their 1950's health food connotations !)  Each one was a perfect little morsel.

I froze the leftover muffins to enjoy later and they were just as good.

For the muffins

50g Agen prunes, stoned
55ml Armagnac
150g plain flour
2 tblsp cocoa powder
1 dessertspoon baking powder  (a dessert spoon is about ⅔ of a tablespoon)
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
40g golden caster sugar
120 ml milk
50g butter, melted and slightly cooled
50g plain chocolate drops

For the topping

100g dark chocolate, chopped
45g unsalted butter
glacé cherries, halved, chocolate raisins and chocolate vermicelli to decorate.


Chop the prunes into small chunks and soak in the Armagnac overnight or for as long as you can.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6.  Put 24 mini muffin cases into a mini muffin tin.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

In another large bowl, mix together the beaten egg, sugar, milk and melted butter.

Sift the dry ingredients (again) into the wet mixture and fold them in quickly.  Then add the chocolate drops, prunes and Armagnace and mix briefly again.

Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases (about one heaped teaspoonful in each) and bake for 10 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the topping, melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Stir frequently until smooth and allow to cool slightly before using.  Spread about a teaspoonful on the top of each muffin and decorate as you like.

Makes 24 mini muffins.


  1. Prunes and Armagnac is a joyful combination for me. It's just the perfect marriage. I've not made Delia's (I am not worthy) muffins but they sound excellent. I have made her larger cake version, though, and I have good memories of that. Back in my more indulgent days I also often made variations on Ottolenghi's sticky chocolate loaf with prunes and armagnac and I'd definitely recommend that. I can also remember a superb village repas in the Armagnac region where the local Armagnac producer turned up with a couple of 2 litre plastic Coke bottles filled with his latest Armagnac. At least, I remember up to the first glass and a half.

  2. And Bon Maman jams, etc, are so Frenchified in British supermarkets with their dimity red/white checked cloth covers. Perhaps the French think they're too corny