California prunes add moisture and richness to this updated recipe for prune cake flavored with the essence of my favorite Mexican coffee drink: Café de Olla. Rich espresso, cinnamon, and clove turn this old fashioned prune cake into a stunner of a dessert.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while and aren’t in love with prunes by now—do we really even know each other? My fangirl obsession with them has been well documented. I’ve made various recipes using prunes and I religiously eat them every day, not only for health reasons but because they’re just really freakin’ good.
So it is with great joy that I am partnering with California Prunes to bring you another way to incorporate this sweet, juicy dried fruit into your life with an exceptional recipe that is holiday entertaining ready.
A New Recipe For Prune Cake
I was going through the archive of recipes on the California Prunes website and came across this vintage prune cake recipe. It was a soft, almost gooey, prune-studded spice cake dripping with a buttermilk glaze. Just like the kind you would find in old church cookbooks.
I love these recipes because they are always crowd pleasers and are simple—the two requirements I have for holiday entertaining.
The original recipe was full of warm spice like nutmeg and allspice and topped with a buttery-sweet glaze but I wanted to make a Mexican-inspired version with flavors based on my favorite coffee drink: Café de Olla.
Café de Olla is Mexican coffee that is made in a ceramic pot over a wood fire and is sweetened with piloncillo (raw brown sugar), cinnamon, orange, and cloves. To mimic those flavors this cake includes espresso powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and is topped with a buttermilk icing scented with orange peel.
You will fall in love with my take on this vintage recipe with the first bite. But first let’s learn a little more about what makes California prunes so special.
Why Buy California Prunes
When shopping for prunes look for ones grown in California. These organic D’Noir prunes are my personal favorite.
- California prunes are descendants of the original Petit d’Agen plums imported from France over 100 years ago.
- They are dried in climate-controlled tunnels, which California farmers have honed into a precise art.
- Unlike other varieties, the California plums (that eventually become prunes) ripen fully on the tree — pit and all — without fermenting.
- They are the secret ingredient in baking. Adding more than 1 cup prunes to this recipe makes a supremely moist cake.
- California prunes
- 3 large eggs
- Almond extract
- Grapeseed oil
- Granulated sugar
- All purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Instant espresso
- Powdered sugar
- Orange zest
- Kosher salt
How To Make This Recipe
Soak the prunes. The first step is to chop the prunes into small pieces and place them in a separate bowl. Pour 2 cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the prunes with the boiling water and let sit for about 20 minutes to soften. Also, preheat the oven to 300°F and grease a 10-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease that as well.
*SIDE NOTE: If you want to have mashed prunes instead of chopped, soak the prunes whole then drain and place on a plate. Mash them with a fork until they are in little chunks.
Mix the wet ingredients. Combine the oil, 1 tsp almond extract, eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, 1 tbsp espresso powder, cinnamon, clove, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Combine the batter. Pour the flour mixture into the wet mixture and gently stir together.
Add the prunes. Drain the prunes and fold into the batter.
Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the 300 degree oven for an hour or until it is a light caramel color, springy, and a tester inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Make the icing. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Whisk together the powdered sugar, buttermilk, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle and serve. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and flip onto a plate or a cake stand. Drizzle icing over the top of the warm cake and serve immediately or let cool and serve at room temperature.
*SIDE NOTE: If you served it with ice cream, absolutely no one would be upset about that.
Top 5 Most Popular Holiday Dessert Recipes
- Molasses Banana Bread
- Strawberry Tamales with Horchata Sauce
- Ricotta Banana Bread
- Authentic Tres Leches Cake
Let Me Know If You Make This Comforting Cake
This new take on an old-fashioned dessert is one of my favorite recipes for the holidays. It is loved by picky eaters and tastes even better the next day. Let me know when you make it by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
In support of this small business, ¡Hola! Jalapeño earns revenue in a few different ways. Several sponsored posts are published each month, like this one which is sponsored by California Prunes. I also earn an affiliate commission on the sales of products I link to— there are a few of those links in this post. I only feature items I genuinely love and personally use on a regular basis. This commission is an arrangement between the retailer and ¡Hola! Jalapeño (readers never pay more for products). This income allows me to run the site. Thank you for reading!