I know what you’re thinking, Prune Cake!? I thought it as well. Shoot, I’m still thinking it. This post however is less about the recipe (though I welcome those who want to give it a try to do so and let me know how it is!) and more about family, friends and memories. 🙂
My moms best friend Allison (my namesake :)) recently ran across the below recipe for Prune Cake. It was a recipe my mom gave to Allison back in high school for unknown reasons. My moms great-aunt Mae (my moms maternal grandmothers sister – that’s a mouthful!) sent this recipe to my moms parents, Betty and Hank DeCoursey, back in 1954! Aunt Mae who received the recipe from her mother (my great-great grandmother Terry) sent the recipe to my grandmother after visiting my grandparents and family at their new home in Danville, California. A home that backed up to the Diablo Country Club Golf Course. It was a beautiful setting. Although I was a pre-teen when my grandfather moved out of that house, I still have many fond memories of that tiny three bedroom, one bath home that my grandparents bought in 1954 for $13,000! The 50’s style pink and black tile in the bathroom. The candy dish stashed away in the hutch in the dining room, consistently stocked with peppermint patties. A dish I’d later inherit. 🙂 There were loquat trees in the front yard that I was always intrigued by and hollyhocks freckled the backyard. The cooing of pet doves filled the air. My grandfather was a big Buick guy, so there were a few of those “lying around” as well. 😉 My grandma DeCoursey passed away 6 years before I was born, but her memory was and always has been kept very much alive thru my mom and my grandpa before he passed.
Receiving this recipe brings a rush of emotions and feelings. All good. 🙂 Although I’m saddned at the fact that I never knew my grandma DeCoursey physically, I feel like I know her thru the stories my mom and other family friends have shared over the years. I feel close to her when I visit her and my grandfather at an old cemetary atop a crooked hill in Alamo. Where the trees slightly sway in the breeze and the birds sing joyfully. I haven’t visited in a while, but visiting always brought a peace to my mind. It was my “run to” place for a long time. A place I could go to think, breathe and often pray. Although I didn’t know my maternal grandmother, I was blessed with three wonderful women who stepped into playing a grandmother role in my life with ease, grandma Henrietta, Adeline and grandma Tweedt. I could never put into words how special these women are to me and have been to me, all at varrying stages in my life, and also simultaneously with one another, and can only hope that each of them know just how much I admire, respect and love them.
On that note, I share with you a true family recipe for Prune Cake!
The Recipe as written –
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
2 well beaten eggs
1 cup cooked prunes, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda dissolved in 1/2 c. prunes
1 cup prune juice
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 level teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chocolate
This is an old recipe, handed down from my mother. It was originally cooked in a wood stove, so that cooking in a gas or electric requires watching. When the cake begins to separate from the pan, it can then be tested with a straw. Cook in a moderate oven.
The straw being referred to is of the hay kind, not of the drinking kind. 😉 I don’t understand why they’d test their baked goods back then with straw and not a fork or knife, but I’m sure if they were alive today, they’d question many of our practices too. 🙂
My grandmother made something similar, but she used babyfood prunes. If I can find the recipe when I get home, I’ll send it to you.
Do you like Prune Cake, Marcus? I’m afraid to try it! LOL! But I’m always interested in seeing old family recipes! 🙂
It is one of my favorites. Let me dig up my version of the recipe and try it for yourself.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teasp. soda
1/2 teasp. salt
1 teasp. baking powder
2 teasp. each of cinnamon, cloves
1 teasp nutmeg
1 teasp. vanilla
1 cup oil (I use mazola corn oil)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
10 oz. baby prunes (4 – 2.5 oz)
1 cup buttermilk
Beat oil and sugar – add eggs and beat well. Blend in prunes and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients (flour, soda, salt, baking powder, and spices) and then add the dry mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the oil, sugar and egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Bake at 350 in a bundt pan. Sorry but I don’t know the time – if I were guessing I would say about 45 minutes. A good way to tell if it is done – it will look at little cracked on the top. Also a good test for doneness is to stick a toothpick in the top – if it comes out clean it should be done.