I made the Chocolate Fruit Cake from the Feast book and noted that there were no instructions regarding the preparation of the prunes other than to add the fruit to a saucepan. The cake turned out beautifully but the whole prunes sank to the bottom - should I have chopped them?
Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake (from FEAST) is a popular alternative to the traditional rich fruit cake. It is a "boil and bake" type of cake, so the fruits, butter, sugar, honey and liqueur are heated in a saucepan until just boiling then cooled slightly before using. This softens the fruits and avoids the usual long macerating time for the fruits before the cake is made.
Prunes make up part of the fruit mixture and should be pitted. Often as the fruits are heating the prunes break down slightly as they plump up and are stirred in the saucepan. However the age and size of the prunes will affect how quickly this happens. If the prunes are on the large size then it may be a good idea to roughly chop them or snip them into large pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors. If possible, also use the soft, "ready to eat" type of prunes as these will break down more easily when heated.