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 Prune Cake is the Pioneer Woman’s favorite too! It’s time to get on the Prune Cake bandwagon.

Servings: 12 pieces
Prep Time:
Cook Time:


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


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 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!

Recipe notes:

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



Looking for more prune cake recipes?

We though you might be! Try this Prune Upside Down Cake (did you know prunes were the original upside-down cake fruit? It’s true!), this Delicious Snack Cake Recipe, and this loaf Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping. If you’re gluten-free, don’t miss this recipe for the Best Gluten-Free Carrot Cake too!