Monday, September 9, 2013

Prune Cake

Dear Lauren,

Prune cake. If you can't say this without snickering or thinking of prunes as a laxative, you can call this Dried Plum Cake. In fact, I insist on it.

This cake is delicious as a dessert with powdered sugar and whipped cream on top, but it's also wonderful for breakfast with a little butter. It tastes a little like a bran muffin! Bran! There is a consistent theme in this post, is there not?


You're just not going to let the prune thing go, are you?

prune cake
dried plum cake
full o' fiber
bran muffin cake
constitutional cake (my friend Julee came up with that one)

You're thinking of stewed prunes! These dried prunes are fine! You can substitute another dried fruit if you want, but I am telling you...don't. This cake is fantastic!

It's Really Good Cake
adapted from National Cowboy Hall of Fame Cowboy Cookbook

8 ounces prunes, chopped (or other dried fruit)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour,  divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk or a substitute (I used the lemon and milk trick.)

powdered sugar, sifted, for serving
heavy whipping cream, whipped, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 baking pan.

Place your dried fruit in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat the fruit dry with paper towels. Make sure there is no excess water. Toss the prunes with 2 Tablespoons of flour in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, place the rest of your flour (2 cups), the baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt and with a whisk, stir them until well combined.

In a separate bowl, or in your stand mixer bowl, beat the sugar and oil on high until combined. Add the eggs, and beat them on high for about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, a little flour, a little buttermilk on low speed until all of both is combined. Stir in the dried fruit and the nuts with a spoon and then pour the mixture in your baking pan.

Bake the cake for around one hour. When you press the cake in the center with your finger and it springs back, it's done. Mine was done at 55 minutes but oven temperatures vary, so check your cake every 2-3 minutes starting at 50 minutes.

Cool the cake completely before serving and serve as indicated in the photo with a little sifted powdered sugar and whipping cream if serving for lunch or dinner. If serving for breakfast in place of a muffin, serve with a little butter or even a little cream cheese. 


P.S. If you are lucky enough to have any cake left over, cut it into one inch pieces, toss with a little melted butter and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, until crunchy, for some killer croutons. Serve them on a simple salad and let these croutons be the star.

P.P.S. The Cowboy Cookbook I found the original recipe in is fantastic. Definitely worth it if you can find one online. Many of the recipes give conventional cooking directions and campfire directions. Now I am NOT a camper, but I know you are. So I'll try some of the camping recipes and see if I can come up with any fantastic ones for you to use, ok?

P.S.S.S. When I asked you and Dad what came to mind when I said prune cake, you said constipation and dad said, and I am sorry to tell you this, cover your ears, tastes like ****. Look! I taste-tested this one for both of you! You were at school and dad was in Ca for work. I can assure you, it is GOOD! And not an equivalent of ex-lax!! I sure hope someone makes this cake to back me up. Back me, I didn't mean that.


  1. Hello, I was captured by the lovely shot of the prune cake. Can I ask when you said dried prunes, do you really mean dried literally? Can those preserved prunes such as Del Monte brands work?


    1. Hi, JL! I used prunes and I believe the brand was Sunsweet. Since you have to soak them in hot water and then dry them with paper towels, you might be able to use a stewed fruit. I didn't try that but if you do and it's delicious, please let me know! Also, you should be able to use any dried fruit using the same method. I want to try this cake with apricots - they are my favorite.

  2. I must be getting old, but I LOVE the idea of prune cake!

    1. Haha! Well look, it's amazing, no matter how old we are!