Don’t let the name fool you, this cake just rocks. Everyone who tries it, loves it. Ignore the prune thing if you must, but we do suggest you try this cake. It’s easy to make, sweet, super-moist and has a touch of spice. Perfect for dessert or breakfast, even the occasional snack. Very good stuff.
The only reason we feel a bit sheepish about posting this recipe is that we barely adapted it at all. The original recipe (“Iny’s Prune Cake With Buttermilk Icing”) comes from the Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummond’s bestselling cookbook. I picked this cookbook up a few years ago for Carolyn without knowing much about the Pioneer Woman, but I was perusing some cookbooks (something I may do a bit too often) and I checked a few recipes, and they looked good. Now that we have cookbook, it is one of our regulars, particularly for breakfast dishes. We don’t think Pioneer Woman needs any help from us, but the cookbook and blog are worth a look.
We call this cake a “breakfast” dish because that’s when we serve it. But you can make and serve this cake any time. It may not look like much, but after the first bite you will be sold. Making the cake is easy, too. The only extra step is rehydrating and mashing the prunes. Then you make the standard wet / dry cake batter with a few spices and boil up a quick icing. Bake the cake, layer the icing on top and serve.
Now let’s talk about this prune thing. Regardless of “therapeutic” uses and a terrible sounding name, prunes are a very useful cooking ingredient. Prunes add deep, complex sweetness to many dishes. Prunes also play incredibly well with both herbs and spices, so you can use them in sweet and savory dishes. We use prunes with sage in our dressings / stuffings for holiday roasts and they take the flavors over the top. So if you still aren’t onboard with prunes, try this cake, it is a very good introduction. And if you just can’t stand the idea of prunes, make it anyway and just call it a Plum Cake. We won’t tell.
(Barely adapted from the Pioneer Woman Cooks)
Notes Before You Start:
- This recipe has the icing as a distinct layer on top of the cake. But if you want it to soak more into the cake, poke some holes in the top of the cake before icing.
What You Get: Sweet, moist and spicy cake in less than an hour.
What You Need: No special equipment required. Overcoming fear of prunes.
How Long? A little less than an hour. Anytime dish.
(Makes 1, 9×13 inch cake)
- 1 cup pitted prunes
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can sub 1/2 white whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- Place the prunes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a low boil and cook until soft, about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain the prunes. Mash with a fork until mostly smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.
- In a large bowl mix together the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (there will be a few lumps, that is OK). Add the mashed prunes to the batter, mix, and then pour into the buttered baking pan.
- Place the cake in the oven and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overcook the cake, it should be moist.
- Meanwhile, when the cake has about 5 minutes left, start the icing. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, buttermilk, butter, baking soda, corn syrup and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the icing has a light caramel color, 5 – 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Do not overcook, you need to pour the icing on the cake.
- Take the cake from the oven and allow to cool for just a minute or two. Then, while the cake is very warm, pour the icing over the cake and spread it evenly with a spatula. Serve.