This Nearly Forgotten Vintage Cake Recipe Is an Absolute Treasure (2024)

I found this retro prune cake recipe and just had to give it a try. How'd it taste? You may be surprised!

Why a prune cake? Well, I love to collect vintage cookbooks and recipes from the ’50s and ’60s. The themes, retro graphics and grainy photos of these old collections are so fun and kitschy.

Especially interesting in these recipes are the ingredients that are less commonly used today. For thatreason, this cake caught my eye: Mrs. Ed Cothran’s Perfect Prune Cake recipe, one of many vintage recipes gathered on Twisted-Candy.com.

I had never tried prunes in any form before this, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a prune-filled cake!

Mrs. Ed Cothran’s Perfect Prune Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (granulated) sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cooked cut-up unsweetened prunes. Try these.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon (baking) soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup broken pecans

Initial Thoughts

Seeing all of the spices listed for this cake and after tasting one of the dried prunes, I guessed that this cake would be like a flavorful spice cake or a rich, old-fashioned ribbon cake with raisins. Try all of our crazy-good spice cake recipes. I have my own recipe for a fig cake and the steps for this cake seemed very similar.

This Nearly Forgotten Vintage Cake Recipe Is an Absolute Treasure (1)Nancy Mock

Step 1: Cooking the Prunes

The recipe calls for “cooked cut-up unsweetened prunes” and a note at the end recommends cooking the prunes 24 hours ahead of time. I decided to take a shortcut by cooking them just before putting the batter together. I used kitchen shears to snip the sticky, dried prunes into small pieces, brought them to a boil in a saucepan with one cup of water and then simmered them for about 10 minutes. They cooked down into a thick sauce which, when cooled, seemed like a perfect jammy consistency to add to this cake.

Step 2: Mixing the Batter

The batter came together quickly by blending the wet ingredients together, whisking the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then combining the two.

This Nearly Forgotten Vintage Cake Recipe Is an Absolute Treasure (2)Nancy Mock

Step 3: The Bake

I poured the batter into a buttered and floured Bundt pan (here are 26 of our most beautiful Bundt cake recipes)and put it in a 325° oven for 60 minutes. I could tell that this was a dense cake with a lot of moisture that needed the full hour, but I didn’t mind as it filled my house with an irresistible aroma as it baked.

Pro tip:You can test the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick or thin knife into the center of the bake. If it comes out clean, it’s ready to come out of the oven.

Step 4: Final Touches

The cake released easily from my pan onto a cooling rack. I decided to dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar as I knew it would look beautiful against the deep brown of the cake. This, however, meant waiting for the cake to cool fully before it could be dusted and tasted—torture! But finally, the cake was ready to be sampled. (The timer trick is one of these 12 secret baking tips!)

This Nearly Forgotten Vintage Cake Recipe Is an Absolute Treasure (3)Nancy Mock

The Verdict

This cake is sooo moist and very delicious. The prunes give a deep, sweet flavor to the cake and the pecans are nicely scattered through the slices. (Though I may omit them the next time I make this cake… and there will be a next time!) Some orange zest would be a nice flavor variation to try in this cake too, paired with the cinnamon and clove.

This prune cake would be wonderful for breakfast or with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon. If you like desserts like spice cakes and hermit cookies that feature the sweet and deep flavors of dried fruit, this vintage prune cake recipe is right up your alley.

More Vintage Cakes

1 / 30

This Nearly Forgotten Vintage Cake Recipe Is an Absolute Treasure (4)Taste of Home

Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingA pleasingly moist cake, this treat is the one I requested that my mom make each year for my birthday. It's dotted with sweet carrots and a hint of cinnamon. The fluffy buttery frosting is scrumptious with chopped walnuts stirred in. One piece of this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is never enough—it's better than all the other carrot cakes I've tried! —Kim Orr, West Grove, PennsylvaniaGo to RecipePsst!These are the secret ingredients Grandma used to make her cake taste so great.

Honey Berry Sheet CakeI adapted a traditional honey cake recipe for this dessert. I wanted something that would show off all our amazing local honey as well as tasty summer berries. This also works perfectly as a Fourth of July cake, with the blueberries in the top corner and the raspberries in stripes—you wouldn't need as many blueberries, but you would need more raspberries. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

Go to Recipe

Pecan Pound CakeThis pecan pound cake always turns out great. It's wonderful with a steaming cup of coffee on a chilly winter day. —Fleta West, Hayes, Virginia

Go to Recipe

Icebox CakeYou don't have to bake to serve a wonderful dessert! This icebox cake is made from chocolate wafers and whipping cream. It is so delicious.—Cindy Hawkins, New York, New York. If you're looking for more recipes, then you must try these vintage chocolate desserts.

Go to Recipe

Glazed Lemon Chiffon CakeThis fluffy cake is a real treat drizzled with the sweet-tart lemon glaze. —Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah

Go to Recipe

Taste of Home

Italian Cream Cheese CakeButtermilk makes every bite of this awesome Italian cream cheese cake recipe moist and flavorful. I rely on this recipe year-round. —Joyce Lutz, Centerview, Missouri

Go to Recipe

Classic Pineapple Upside-Down CakeThis pineapple upside-down cake is a classic recipe that never goes out of style! It’s delicious with the traditional pineapple, but try it with peaches or a combination of cranberries and orange. —Bernardine Melton, Paola, Kansas. Love upside-down cakes? Be sure to check our favorite cranberry duff.

Go to Recipe

Taste of Home

Hummingbird CakeThis impressive hummingbird cake is my dad’s favorite, so I always make it for his birthday. It makes a memorable dessert for any celebration and is lovely with a summer meal. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey

Go to Recipe

Taste of Home

Spiced Devil's Food CakeOne of my mom's friends gave her this recipe when I was a child, and it has been a family favorite ever since. When your chocolate sweet tooth acts up, this really hits the spot! —Linda Yeamans, Ashland, Oregon

Go to Recipe

Oklahoma Coconut Poke CakeCoconut is the star of this cake. You get a double dose, once with the mixture that soaks into the cake and second with the coconut sprinkled on top. Don't worry though, it's a nice flavor treat—not too much coconut. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Go to Recipe

Taste of Home

7UP Pound CakeMy grandmother gave me my first cake recipe—a pound cake using 7UP—which her grandmother had given to her. On top of being delicious, this cake represents family tradition, connection and love. —Marsha Davis, Desert Hot Springs, California

Go to Recipe

Moist Lazy Daisy CakeWe always called this Mama's never-fail recipe. I guess the same holds true for me since I've won contests with this lazy daisy cake. The tasty dessert always brings back fond memories of Mama. —Carrie Bartlett, Gallatin, Tennessee

Go to Recipe

Southern Lane CakeI just love this southern-style dessert, and so do dinner guests. With pecans, cherries and raisins in the filling and topping, this version reminds me of a fruitcake—only so much better! —Mabel Parvi, Ridgefield, Washington

Go to Recipe

Lingonberry-Cardamom CakeOur family is Scandinavian, and we love using almonds, cardamom and lingonberries in desserts, as in this cardamom cake. If lingonberry jam is difficult to obtain, you can use pureed cranberry sauce with a little lemon juice to get a similar sweet-tart flavor. Whipped cream is a perfect topping for this Scandinavian-inspired dessert. —Barbara Kvale, Cologne, Minnesota

Go to Recipe

Gran's Apple Cake

Gran's Apple CakeMy grandmother occasionally brought over this wonderful cake warm from the oven. The spicy apple flavor combined with the sweet cream cheese frosting made this recipe one that we treasured. Even though I've lightened it up, it's still a family favorite. —Lauris Conrad, Turlock, California

Go to Recipe

Gooey Butter CakeA friend gave me a quick version of this gooey butter cake recipe using a cake mix, but I prefer baking from scratch, so I came up with my own. My family can't get enough! The middle will sink a little; this is normal. This dessert is delicious served warm or cold. —Cheri Foster, Vail, Arizona

Go to Recipe

Best Red Velvet CakeIt's just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvet cake recipes I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina

Go to Recipe

Traditional Sponge CakeThis light sponge cake makes a fitting finale to any meal.—Arlene Murphy, Beverly Hills, Florida

Go to Recipe

Grandma's Tandy KakeMy grandmother made this for all our family gatherings. Everyone loves it now I make it for every party we attend or host. —John Morgan III, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Go to Recipe

Walnut Blitz TorteThis pretty torte is very popular at family gatherings. The cake layers are baked with the frosting—crunchy, sweet meringue—already in place, and then assembled with a layer of luscious custard in the center. Whenever I make it, everyone always asks me for the recipe. —Suzan Stacey, Parsonsfield, ME

Go to Recipe

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingAs a mother of three sons, sweets are a staple in my kitchen! I buy ripe fruit on sale and freeze it to make this cake. My banana cake with cream cheese frosting is a favorite among loved ones at my family picnics and dinners. —Bonnie Krause, Irvona, Pennsylvania

Go to Recipe

The musical "Waitress"

German Apple CakeWith the long, cold winters we have here, this German apple cake recipe has warmed many a kitchen. The cake is perfect for breakfast, dessert or an evening snack. I've often made it for parties, and I've always received compliments on it. —Grace Reynolds, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Go to Recipe

TMB Studio

Classic Tres Leches CakeTres leches means "three milks." This cake gets its name because it uses three kinds of milk—evaporated, condensed and cream. This tres leches cake's light and airy texture has made it a classic in Mexican kitchens for generations. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Go to Recipe

Layered Yellow Cake with Chocolate ButtercreamThis yellow cake will become your go-to recipe for birthdays, but the tender cake with flavorful chocolate buttercream is truly perfect for any occasion. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Go to Recipe

Apple Brandy Pecan CakeMy favorite apple cake is made with a shot of brandy and drizzled with caramel to set off the wonderful flavors. If alcohol is a no-go, use orange juice instead of apple brandy. If you'd rather follow a chocolate route, add mini chocolate chips to the cake and use chocolate ice cream topping for the drizzle. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada

Go to Recipe

Best Angel Food CakeFor our daughter's wedding, a friend made this lovely, angel food cake from a recipe she's used for decades. It really is one of the best angel food cake recipes I've found. Serve slices plain or dress them up with fresh fruit. —Marilyn Niemeyer, Doon, Iowa

Go to Recipe

Coconut Chiffon CakeToasted coconut adds visual appeal to this tall and impressive cake. With an airy texture and heavenly coconut-ginger flavor,it's a lovely end to meals throughout the year.

Go to Recipe

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb CakeMy great-aunt gave me this rhubarb cake recipe. It's especially delicious when rhubarb is in season, and tastes even better with the old-fashioned milk topping. But you'll love it even with frozen rhubarb and "modern-day" whipped topping! —Marilyn hom*ola, Hazel, South Dakota

Go to Recipe

Sandy's Chocolate CakeYears ago, I drove 4-1/2 hours to a cake contest, holding my entry on my lap the whole way. But it paid off. One bite and you'll see why this velvety beauty was named the best chocolate cake recipe and won first prize. —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania

Go to Recipe

Next: Learn about the king cake!

Glazed Spiced Rum Pound CakesMy recipe makes two loaf-sized treats, perfect for sharing. The spiced rum flavor really comes through in both the cake and the glaze. —Christine Russell, Littleton, New Hampshire

Go to Recipe

This Nearly Forgotten Vintage Cake Recipe Is an Absolute Treasure (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5843

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.