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Yummy Prune Cake a diet-buster

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Would you want a recipe for a cake so moist it almost melts in your mouth and takes no more than 10 minutes to prepare? We're betting you would. But what if we told you that prunes are the main ingredient? Would you still want it? Probably not, and we'd understand, because prunes have never been one of our favorite fruits.


Knowing this, the processors changed prunes' name to dried plums. The spin didn't seem to help. When we asked a few co-workers and friends what they think of prunes, all grimaced.

One positive thing you can say about prunes, however, is that they are good for you. That aside, prunes leave much to be desired. Why are they so disliked? It might be the thick pasty consistency or just the taste, period.

Thanks to Andy Kruper of Natrona Heights, we have found a way to actually enjoy prunes, make that dried plums. Andy's recipe taught us what a few ingredients, such as cinnamon, buttermilk and nuts, can do for a pound of prunes. But we don't want to mislead you into thinking that because this cake contains prunes it's low-calorie -- far from it.

This Prune Cake calls for 1 cup oil, buttermilk, three eggs and sugar. And the sauce that's poured over the hot cake is made of butter, sugar and more buttermilk. Bottom line: This cake is in no way low-fat, but it is delicious.

For the cake we used a 1-pound box of dried pitted prunes. We cooked the prunes with 1/4 cup of water for about 3 minutes or just until the prunes were soft (don't overcook or they'll become mushy). We drained the water from the prunes and with the back of a fork slightly mashed them into small chunks and proceeded with the recipe.

A few prune facts: Prunes are dehydrated plums. And although any plum can become a prune, the most flavorful prunes come from the sweetest and most flavorful plums.

Pat Mishoe of Marietta, Ga., was looking for a prune cake with the consistency of a pie. We hope this recipe comes close to what Pat is looking for.

Prune Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-pound box dried pitted prunes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place prunes in pot with 1/4 cup water. Cook until prunes are soft but not mushy. Drain water and slightly mash the prunes into small chunks.

Place all ingredients including prunes in a mixing bowl and beat until ingredients are combined. Pour batter into an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and, with the tines of a fork, poke holes in the cake. Pour the sauce (recipe below) over the cake. Let cake sit and cool before cutting.

Cake Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Nuts optional, see note

Combine butter, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add the baking soda and stir. At this point you may add the nuts.

Note: We used 1 cup chopped walnuts.


Mim Luzar of Conway, Ark.: "I'm wondering if anyone has a recipe for Oreo Cream Pie that tastes like Eat'n Park's. I have been living in Arkansas for three years and sure do miss the pie. That is the first place I go when we go home to Pittsburgh for a visit."

Marsha Draper of Monroeville is interested in a recipe for a barbecue or basting sauce called Bourbon Blast. It's made with orange juice and maple syrup and a touch of bourbon. Marsha writes: "There's a bit of tomato product in it, but not much, as it is primarily orange in color. It is wonderful on grilled chicken and I wonder if any of your readers have a recipe which sounds like this."

Joann McShane of Penn Hills writes: "My husband loved the baked crab we used to get at the Red Bull Inn when it was in the Penn Hills Shopping Center. Does anyone have the recipe?"

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood/city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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