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Our BEST Prune Cake Recipe: An Authentic, Old-Fashioned Treat From Scratch!

This authentic Prune Cake Recipe creates a beautifully dark and rich Bundt cake, served up with a hot cup of coffee!

You’ll love this lightly sweet from-scratch Prune Cake—lots of moist, muffin-like cake that you can cut up and freeze for long-term eating. 

No need to break out the handmixer—this cake recipe comes together with a couple of bowls and a wooden spoon—the old-fashioned way!

This dense, dark and lightly sweet prune Bundt cake pairs wonderfully with a strong, hot cup of coffee or tea.

It comes out dark, almost like a fruitcake, and I thought I had overbaked it at first.

But the cut prunes and apple butter give the batter a dark appearance and the longer it sits covered in the fridge the more deliciously moist it becomes.

It was not a hit for everyone here in the CookingChew kitchen, but I thought the prune flavor melds into the cake batter and it becomes mostly a dark, dense spice cake that has a muffin-like or coffee-cake like quality to it. 

The idea of “ew, prunes?!” was keeping the team from being on board with this one.

I enjoyed it with hot coffee in the morning and found it to be perfectly sweet on its own with just its powdered sugar jacket.

But if you have never had prunes and want to say you did, this is Prune Cake is a good entry to this food, without leaping right into PRUNE JUICE. 😇

Quick note on handling prunes:

I have handled a lot of foods in my life, from calf’s liver to raw fish to roadkill (long story), and I have to say I’m really glad that I have kitchen gloves around. 

Dried prunes are not dry at all; in fact, they are super slick and sticky. 

I was happy to find kitchen gloves like these to help me in the task of cutting up the prunes, so if you have them, I’d recommend using them.

Table Of Contents

What are prunes?

Prunes are dried plums, and “prune” is just the name for a plum that has been dehydrated so that most of the moisture (but not the fiber and sugar) has been removed. 

Prunes are famous for being full of fiber, thereby helping the human digestive system “move things along” and help people who may have chronic constipation. 

If you have someone in your life who has trouble having a bowel movement, you may have heard them mention having a glass of prune juice, eating a handful of prunes, or in fact, enjoying a slice of a prune-dense cake like this one.

Steps for making Prune Cake

Step 1: Get out all of your ingredients. 

Cut up each prune with a knife or kitchen shears. (We use these kitchen shears—they come apart for easy cleaning.)

Step 2: With butter, margarine or shortening, liberally grease the pan. I use a pastry brush to get in all of the nooks and crannies of the Bundt to make sure it’s all covered. Then flour liberally, turning and tapping to fully coat.

Step 3: First, in a large mixing bowl, put the applesauce, apple butter, sugar, and prunes. Stir to combine.

Step 4: Whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Step 5: Combine flour, baking soda and salt.

Step 6: Combine all with a scraper spatula until a thick batter comes together loosely. Don’t overblend.

Step 7: Smooth the thick batter in the pan with the rubber spatula if desired.

Step 8: Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. This photo is a bit darker than the actual cake but it did come out a dark color similar to this. Try not to overbake—ours came out a skosh too dry. If your oven runs hot, check it at 25 minutes (this is a dense batter that will take less time to bake).

Step 9: Tap the sifter with powdered sugar over the whole cake plate. You may want to lay a couple of kitchen towels down to make for easier cleanup.

Tips for making Prune Cake

• I found a package of Sunsweet Amazin Pitted Prunes, which have had the pits removed and are very soft, which is what you want for this recipe. Choose “soft” prunes if given that option on the package, to make sure they aren’t too chewy.

• If you have some nylon or vinyl fitted kitchen gloves, I HIGHLY recommend that you use them when you are handling the prunes. The prunes are sticky AND slick, an odd combination that is both a weird textural no-go for me, and a bit troublesome to clean up after. The gloves helped a lot.

• I cut up each prune into four pieces originally, but it was a bit unsightly and harder to cut the cake smoothly. Definitely cut each piece into six pieces or more with a pair of kitchen shears. You can use a knife, but shears make it easy.

• I used a kitchen scale to measure my prunes by weight, but 8 oz of prunes is about one whole cup of CUT prunes.

• If you don’t have any apple butter on hand, just use all applesauce and add a 1 t of pumpkin-pie spice to the batter.

• My sister’s recipe includes 2 overripe bananas but I found them to be overkill that made the finished prune cake a bit too sweet. That said, she didn’t dust with powdered sugar, but I think it makes it look very pretty for serving. If you want to add bananas, reduce oil to ¼ c or leave out altogether.

• This cake does come out fairly dark and I was worried I overbaked it. But it’s dense and only gets more moist and flavorful as it sits in the fridge.

Tips for serving Prune Cake

• This cake pairs well with strong coffee and hot tea.

• Add a dollop of whipped cream on the plate next to each serving.

• Serve chilled or at room temp. I preferred it chilled with hot coffee.

Prune cake freezes really well, but I definitely think cutting it into individual servings is the way to go because baked goods don’t REfreeze and thaw with a good texture. So pull out slices one at a time as you want them, and only freeze a whole cake if you KNOW you have lots of people coming over to enjoy it.

Supplies to gather

Tools:

  • Oven
  • Bundt Cake Pan
  • Cutting Board and Knife or Kitchen Shears
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • 2 Large Mixing Bowls
  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Fork
  • Wooden Mixing Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Cake Stand
  • Flour Sifter

Ingredients:

  • Applesauce, unsweetened and unflavored
  • Apple Butter (We used our homemade version.)
  • Prunes – soft and pitted, cut into six pieces each
  • Sugar – Granulated White
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Flour
  • Vanilla
  • Baking Soda
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Sugar – Powdered, for garnish

The bottom line

So big shout-out to my sister who helped me tweak this recipe. 

Hers has bananas, and I felt like the final cake was too sweet with them. 

The cake will be dark, but check with a butterknife at 25 minutes to make sure it’s not cooking too quickly. 

It will be a dense cake that is halfway between a coffee cake and a muffin in texture.

If you’ve been wanting to try something a bit different, serve up this prune cake the morning after Thanksgiving as part of a breakfast or brunch table and see what your guests think! 

The prune flavor melds into the cake batter and it becomes mostly a dark, dense spice cake that has a muffin-like or coffee-cake like quality to it.

Authentic Prune Cake Recipe

Authentic Prune Cake Recipe

Yield: 12 - 16 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

You’ll love this lightly sweet, from-scratch Prune Cake Recipe that creates lots of moist, muffin-like cake—a beautifully dark and rich Bundt cake, served up with hot coffee!

Ingredients

Prune Cake

  • 1 c Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 c Apple Butter
  • 8 oz Soft Prunes
  • ¾ c Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ c Vegetable Oil
  • 3 t Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c All Purpose Flour
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 2 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Salt

Garnish

  • ⅓ c Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cut each prune into six small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Generously grease and flour the Bundt cake pan. Set aside.
  4. Put the 3 mixing bowls on the counter. 
  5. First, in a large mixing bowl, put the applesauce, apple butter, sugar, and prunes. Stir with a spoon till well combined. Set aside.
  6. Second, in the medium bowl, add eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir well with a large whisk.
  7. Third, in another large bowl, put the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir with a fork until well blended.
  8. Stir the egg mixture into the sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
  9. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the sugar/egg mixture and fold together with a large spatula.
  10. Scrape the thick batter into the prepared Bundt pan.
  11.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick/knife comes out clean. It will be dark.
  12.  Once the cake is finished baking, set it aside to cool completely.
  13.  Pop your cake out of the pan and turn it over design-side up onto a cake stand or plate.
  14.  Add powdered sugar to the sifter and dust the top of your Prune Cake. 
  15. Cover and refrigerate after serving. The flavors get deeper and richer overnight in the fridge.
  16. It’s a lot of Prune Cake, so we sliced and froze a few individual slices for visitors later.

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