I love this cake. It reminds me of Merry Christmases and birthdays and special dinners. And it taught me to love prunes. My Aunt Lu was one of the best cooks I’ve ever known, and I’m happy to share this recipe with you!
Aunt Lu’s Prune Cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I don’t know what that is in metric, because America. Grease and flour a large bundt pan or 9×11 cake pan, and set aside.
½ cup of butter, softened
1 ½ cups of sugar (I used a ½ cup of light brown sugar, and 1 cup regular granulated sugar)
2 cups of all purpose flour (use the scoop and level method to fill your flour, because this cake is kind of gross if it’s too dry)
1 cup of pitted dried prunes
1 tsp baking soda (don’t use the baking soda you use in the fridge or the freezer. i know, it’s tempting. but you really don’t want this cake to taste like how all the stinky stuff in your fridge and freezer smells. trust me. keep a totally separate box in your pantry.)
½ tsp baking powder (I use Clabber Girl, it’s my favorite. Also, the biscuit recipe on the back of that can is FANTASTIC)
1 ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground clove
½ tsp salt
1 cup of buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, don’t panic. you can sour regular milk with just a splash of white vinegar. pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, just to warm it, and set it aside. this morning, i used almond milk that i had soured with vinegar, and it worked just fine. but i have to say, the buttermilk is really worth using…)
1 cup of boiling water
Combine your prunes and boiling water in a small sauce pan, and set aside, or leave on very super low to reconstitute.
While your prunes are rehydrating, cream together your softened butter and sugar. This is my favorite part of making a cake, or cookies…creaming butter and sugar together is kind of magic. This is a good task for a stand mixer or hand mixer. Once your butter and sugar are working your mixer, sift together all the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. Sift it twice! You’ll be glad you did! Set aside. At this time, you should also drain your prunes, and discard the liquid. You probably won’t be tempted to drink it, but if you do…maybe don’t have that extra cup of coffee, ok?
Address the butter and sugar, and once they are light and lovely, slowly begin adding your eggs, one at a time. Once the eggs have been mixed in, you can either increase your mixer speed and add some air to the eggs, butter, and sugar, or you can go right ahead and add your buttermilk. Once all the liquids are well mixed, slowly begin adding your dry ingredients, in thirds, making sure to totally incorporate each bit before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, and the bottom of your work bowl with a spatula or spoon, and hand mix the last portion, to avoid over mixing. Now, add your prunes, and give a couple more stirs to distribute them.
Pour your lovely prune cake batter into your prepared baking vessel, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn the cake out, while still hot. At this time, you can sprinkle a little brown sugar or powdered sugar on top, to decorate…or… you can glaze it.
¼ cup melted buttter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
about ½ a cup to 1 full cup of coffee
add vanilla to melted butter. slowly add powdered sugar. thin out with coffee to your preference. drizzle about half of the glaze on the cake, as soon as you remove it from the pan. use the other half at the time your serve, warmed, just as a little extra smear on the face of each slice.