Secret Ingredient cake, I can't tell you, you have to try it first! (Iny's Prune Cake & Buttermilk Icing.)

I am a fan of Ree Drummond and watch her on Food Network, The Pioneer Woman whenever I can.  She recently made this cake for her daughter's birthday and I thought if a teenager likes prune cake it has to be good!  Right then I knew I would adapt and make this cake.   Good old boy, my husband, LOVES prunes and he's got the flu.  I thought this might tempt him and it did.  He loved it and ate it right down.  It is the only thing he has eaten right down in 4 days.

I doubt I will tell the family they are eating a prune cake (Sounds too healthy,) maybe it will be a spice cake. This is a tasty array of spices, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, some of which are known antioxidants.  All in equal portions which I find unusual.  The end result is delicious!  This recipe also calls for 1 cup of canola oil instead of butter or shortening which is another plus.  Last but far from least the cake used 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, another healthy alternative.  It is a sweet cake and truthfully you could cut back the sugar at least 1/3 to 1/2 cup in the cake portion I would think as the sweet caramel frosting melts into the cake and sweetens it too.  I am going to try that next time and there will be a next time!  One last comment I want to make is that this is an unusually light cake, much to my surprise.  I had expected a dense heavy cake, not that that would have been a bad thing.  It was just a surprise to me given the ingredients.

Ingredients for Iny's Prune Cake with Buttermilk Icing:

Butter for greasing the pan
1 C. prunes  (I used pitted, it's easier.)
1 1/2 C. flour
1 t. soda
1 t. allspice
1 t. cinnamon  (I use Vietnamese)
1 t. nutmeg  (I use slightly less if grated fresh from the pod, it's usually a bit stronger.)
1 C. canola oil
1 C. sugar
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs  (large)
1 C. buttermilk

Icing ingredients:

1 C. sugar
1/2 C. buttermilk
1/2 stick (1/4 C.) butter
1 T. light corn syrup
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. vanilla

The cake:  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. and butter well a 9" x 13" baking dish.  ( I got to use the brand new red one I got for Christmas! Added bonus!)

Put the prunes into a small saucepan and cover them with water.  Bring them to a low boil and cook them for about 8 minutes until they are soft and mash-able.  Drain them and place the soft prunes on a plate.  Mash them with a spoon, it is OK to leave some chunks.  Set aside and start the cake batter as follows.

Sift together the flower, soda, and spices.  Mmmmm.........smells heavenly.

Using the mixing bowl combine the oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix well.  Add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixing until well combined.  If you are hand mixing the batter may be slightly lumpy.   Secretly stir in the mashed prunes so your family is unaware of the magic secret ingredient you are adding.  What they don't know won't hurt them in this instance.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake 35-40 minutes.  Do not over bake the cake.

When the cake has about 5 more minutes to bake, make the icing.  (I set the timer for the cake to go off 5 minutes early to alert me and then set it to bake an additional 5 minutes.)

Serve warm.
Combine all of the icing ingredients in a heavy bottomed medium sized pan and bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat.  No need to stir.  Boil 5-7 minutes until a light caramel color.  IMPORTANT,  The icing should be the color of caramel but NOT firm and sticky.  It needs to be pourable.

Pull the cake out of the oven and note it smells absolutely wonderful!

While the cake is very warm pour the icing evenly over the top.  Work quickly as it will start to soak into the cake.   Spread the icing evenly with your yourself a favor when finished, lick the spatula!  You will smile.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  It can sit on the counter, it only gets better.

Note, if you do not have buttermilk add 1 T. vinegar to 1 cup milk and stir.

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