Wednesday 22 April 2009

Tempting prune cake

I have been told that my gluten free niece was discovered eating a Krispy Kreme donut recently even though she knows they are full of gluten – and she paid for it with a sore tummy later. Poor celiac kid! Is that really the most tempting form of gluten? What about a great sourdough bread, a good chocolate cake or a piece of soft sweet prune cake? Prune Cake, you ask!

Now you might turn up your nose at the idea of prune cake but this Sticky Prune Cake is really one of my favourite recent cakes. I would highly recommend it to my niece if she wanted to break her diet because not only does it taste fantastic but the glaze is just like Krispy Kreme donuts.

I have had this recipe for years and always imagined it would taste a bit like a sticky date cake. A few weeks back I finally made it and found that it was quite different but equally excellent. I expected the topping to be like a syrup but instead it was like a thin icing that cracked when cut. I am no fan of Krispy Kreme donuts but the topping was just like their glaze – only better, of course because it was on top of a moist soft cake studded with pieces of prune.

I am a little wary of recipes with wholemeal flour especially when there is not much in the way of a raising agent. In fact I would have used self-raising wholemeal flour if it had not been infested with weevils. For once in my life I was glad of the weevils because they made sure I followed the recipe to the letter and it was one of the softest cakes I had had for ages (spongy rather than light and airy).

Prunes have such a bad reputation as healthy food for old folk (to keep them regular) but they are so delicious that of course the cake tasted fantastic. E was a fan and so were a few visitors. Yavanna almost said no because she was wary of a cake with prunes in it but was glad she tried it. (She brought Sylvia the snugly hat in the photo.) My sister, Susie, enjoyed it, although she wasn’t sure about the fruit in it but said it was better than a traditional fruit cake. In fact, I would claim that this is a cake to make again and again, to impress visitors and tempt celiacs!

Sticky Prune Cake

125g prunes, pitted
2 eggs
½ cup raw sugar
100ml vegetable oil
100ml buttermilk
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice (I think this is like pumpkin spice)
thick yoghurt or cream to serve

¼ cup raw sugar
1 tbsp buttermilk
a few drops of vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin. I would advise using a springform tin if possible.

Place prunes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and chop. (I just did this roughly with scissors.)

Place eggs, sugar and oil into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in prunes and buttermilk. Sift dry ingredients and add to prune mixture (I didn’t sift).

Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-45 minutes until skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.

Place sugar, buttermilk and vanilla essence in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently. (I did this for about 5 minutes but not sure it was long enough.) Prick warm cake all over with a skewer. Spoon topping over cake and cool completely in a pan.

On the Stereo:
Nada: Death in June


  1. I'm no Krispy Kreme fan either, but that crackly glaze sure is interesting!

  2. Looks yummy! Especially the glaze mmm.

  3. Please keep any Krispy Kremes in the package but send me all there is of this cake with it's gorgeous crackly glaze! That looks really great. I've I really good results with prunes and cake.

  4. I quite enjoy prunes and have used them in dessert more than a few times. I must try this cake. Sounds fantastic.

    As for Krispy Kreme, I don't think I have ever tried their stuff, but then I don't like donuts particularly.

  5. Wow, this is the 2nd prune cake post I've seen in a week--must be something in the air! I love prunes, and am bookmarking this recipe. (And the hat is adorable).

    Your poor niece, though!

  6. Your cake is gorgeous!! I quite agree - your cake looks waaaay better than Krispy Kreme... :-) 3 cheers for prunes, too - they definitely deserve a fonder reputation!

  7. looks good! It is nice to have alternatives for those who are missing out and especially when the alternative is this yummy :)

  8. Looks fantastic! Shall definitely try this one out next time I have visitors for the weekend.

  9. i love prunes (or dried plums) and think they'd make a fantastic cake.

  10. I really like the idea of this recipe, will surely give it ago. The topping looks great also I did not think it would have buttermilk. Going to make your broccoli burgers tomorrow, will tell you how I got on.

  11. I love prune cake too and I must admit that I'm partial to the occasional Krispy Kreme donut. Different strokes for different folks I guess!

  12. Thanks Cindy - if you gotta have that glaze I would much prefer it on the cake than the donut!

    Thanks Ashley - the glaze was surprisingly good

    Thanks Tanna - this has convinced me prunes are excellent in cake

    Thanks Lisa - I think I need more prune recipes but have enjoyed it when I do cook with them

    Thanks Ricki - the hat is cute isn't it

    Thanks Astra Libra - prunes definitely need some good PR

    Thanks Holler - I agree we need more yummy alternatives (but unfortunately this is no more Gluten free than Krispy Kreme)

    Thanks Wendy - hope it is a success

    Thanks Bee - funny how I so often don't associate prunes with plums - why aren't they called dried plums?

    Thanks Kiran - I'd never have thought to put buttermilk in a glaze - hope you enjoy the broccoli burgers

    Thanks Lorraine - quite a few of my family like Krispy Kreme which is why they were hanging around my niece - but I prefer other donuts

  13. yum thanks for posting this delicious-sounding cake. I'm half-ashamed to admit that I do enjoy the occasional donut - I blame it on my stint as an exchange student in Canada - and I'm inspired to try your crackling glazing recipe. And as for prune cake - well that is nothing to be ashamed of at all, I'm in!

  14. thanks Frances - I love donuts occasionally but not Krispy Kreme - there is a taste of them I don't like - but much prefer cake :-)

  15. hi, i came across your blog and tried this receipe.. its really great!! my family loved it, esp the healthiness of it. the only thing is, the glaze didnt turn out like crackling glaze, but more like just a sticky brown liquid that dissolved into the cake. Regardless, its still yummy! Thanks!

  16. hi
    i would love to make this cake...can you convert the ingredients to cups? Thank you

  17. Thanks Nummm - quite a few of the measurements are in cups and I can't convert any further but if you want to make some conversions there are websites that can do this for you - I suggest For conversions, go to Real Food for Real People or Gourmet Sleuth. If you need links they are under Measurements in my kitchen notes page -


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