My mom has made this recipe for as far back as I can remember. It has always been a favorite of my brother; he always requested this for his birthday cake. Right before his first deployment, my mom had fallen and broken her right arm. I was there to help her as well as my invalid father. Mom wanted to make this cake for him before he left to go to Iraq, so she 'more or less,' talked me through the recipe. And...this is 'more or less,' written from the notes I jotted down during the process.
I've made it several times since then and the measurements all seem to work. Enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 300º F and butter a 9”x13” baking pan.
Place the prunes in a small saucepan. Cover them with water. Bring to a low boil and cook until soft and mashable, about 8 minutes.
Drain the water and mash the prunes on a plate. It's okay to leave little chunks behind. Set the prunes aside and make the cake.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and splash in the buttermilk. Stir until just combined. The mixture will be slightly lumpy. Stir in the mashed prunes. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, being careful not to over bake. You want it to be really moist.
About 5 minutes before the cake is finished baking…make the icing.
Combine the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. No need to stir. Continue boiling until the icing turns a light caramel color, 5 to 7 minutes. Important: The icing should be the color of caramel, but not yet firm and sticky. It needs to be pourable.
Take the cake out of the oven. While the cake is very warm, pour the icing evenly over the top. Work fast, as it will quickly start to soak into the cake. Spread to coat evenly... then allow to sit several minutes before serving, but serve while still warm if you can. Divine!
Note: If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar to just shy of 1 cup low-fat milk and stir together; allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken.