Mom's Prune Cake with Buttermilk Icing

Renée G.


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!


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35 Min
40 Min


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butter, for greasing pan
1 cup prunes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Make Mom's Prune Cake with Buttermilk Icing


  • 1Preheat the oven to 300º F and butter a 9”x13” baking pan.
  • 2Place the prunes in a small saucepan. Cover them with water. Bring to a low boil and cook until soft and mashable, about 8 minutes.
  • 3Drain 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.
  • 4Sift together the flour, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs.
  • 5Combine 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.
  • 6About 5 minutes before the cake is finished baking…make the icing.
  • 7Combine 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.
  • 8Take 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!
  • 9Note: 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.

Printable Recipe Card

About Mom's Prune Cake with Buttermilk Icing

Course/Dish: Cakes
Main Ingredient: Fruit
Regional Style: American

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