a knife holding a slice of Old-Fashioned Prune Cake

Old-Fashioned Prune Cake

If you think you don’t like prunes, we dare you to try the Mitchell Family‘s Old-Fashioned Prune Cake recipe. A soft, prune-studded spice cake is covered in a buttery-sweet glaze that has everyone going back for another slice (or two.) Not convinced? What if we told you that it’s the Pioneer Woman‘s favorite, too! It’s time to get on the bandwagon.

Just like Grandma used to make

two slices of old fashioned prune cake

During the early 1940s, much of the world was at war and sugar was rationed – so folks had to get a little creative with their baking. Luckily, your grandma had a few tricks under her sleeve. Using prunes or prune purée in your favorite recipes is a great way to get the same delicious results, while using less sugar.

How to make this Vintage Prune Cake recipe

This old-fashioned dessert is a succulent spice cake that’s then drizzled with a sweet golden glaze.

How to make the spice cake

The recipe is pretty straight foward – mix the dry ingredients (including the chopped prunes) together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with oil sugar and vanilla. While stirring, add this mixture slowly to the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Continue to stir until combined. Pour into a greased dish and let it bake for 45-60 minutes. Easy enough, right?

a knife holding a slice of Old-Fashioned Prune Cake
pouring glaze on an old-fashioned prune cake

Prune cake isn’t prune cake without buttermilk glaze

While your cake is baking, make your buttermilk glaze. Simply add the ingredients to a pot and let them boil and thicken for 4-5 minutes. Once your cake is baked, use a toothpick to poke holes into the spice cake. Don’t skip this super important step – it allows the gorgeous glaze to soak deep into the cake.

Meet the Mitchell Family

What’s a prune farmer’s favorite way to eat prunes? Well, for the Mitchell Family the choice is easy: this Old-Fashioned Prune Cake recipe takes the (ahem) cake.

Sandra Mitchell, her husband Neill, and son Joseph farm 500 acres of prunes in Sutter County. Sandra loves to educate people about the health benefits of prunes, and encourages them to eat them daily. With an arsenal of irresistible recipes in her repertoire, we would imagine it’s a pretty easy sell!

Mitchell Family, Sandra Mitchell shared her recipe for old-fashioned prune cake
a knife holding a slice of Old-Fashioned Prune Cake

Old-Fashioned Prune Cake

What's a prune farmer's favorite way to eat prunes? Well, for the Mitchell Family the choice is easy: this Old-Fashioned Prune Cake recipe takes the (ahem) cake. A soft, prune-studded spice cake is covered in a buttery-sweet glaze that has everyone going back for another slice (or two.) Not convinced? What if we told you that it's the Pioneer Woman's favorite, too! It's time to get on the Prune Cake bandwagon.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Holiday, Kid Friendly
Servings 12
Calories 538 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the cake:

  • 1 heaping cup California Prunes minced (28-30 prunes)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup neutral baking oil or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups gluten-free flour + 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch coarse kosher salt

Instructions
 

Bake the cake:

  • Place the minced prunes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (148C) and spray a 13×9 metal or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk to combine.
  • In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour (or gluten-free flour + xanthan gum), baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk in 3 additions. Stir to combine. Fold in the drained prunes and walnuts.
  • Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked through and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

While the prune cake is baking, make the icing:

  • Combine all of the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan. It will seem like the pot is too big, but the sugar mixture needs room to swell up in the pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or just before the softball stage.
  • While the cake is hot from the oven and still in the pan pour the icing over the cake. Use a fork to gently poke holes all around the top of the cake so that it can absorb the icing. Enjoy the Mitchell family’s Old-Fashioned Prune Cake at your next special occasion!
    pouring glaze on an old-fashioned prune cake

Notes

Sugar in the prune cake recipe can be substituted for 1/2 cup monk fruit.
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 538kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 6gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 370mgPotassium: 151mgFiber: 1gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 236IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 2mg
Keyword cake, healthy baking, Heritage Recipes, mitchell family, old-fashioned, prune cake
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