Monday, December 10, 2012

Plum Spice Cake & Advent

It has been a full week.  December is here. It's nearing the end of the academic semester – wrapping up classes and grading and grading and grading. We decorated for Christmas. I did some baking.  We went to Knoxville for a quick trip last weekend for me to speak at a Women's Brunch at the church where I grew up.  It was such an honor to be there and give a charge to them (and me) to Prepare Room for Jesus this season.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity.  It has been the impetus for getting a proper focus in a month that has potential to sweep us into chaos.

I've been reading from some of my favorite Advent/Christmas Devotionals and books.  My favorite for the past few years in Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus complied by Nancy Guthrie, and this year I've added Preparing For Christmas by contemplative Richard Rohr.  They both are so rich and deep and are powerful in pointing me to Jesus at this season.

We've been making some christmas trees out of old books from Goodwill – super cheap, easy and vintage.  I made a couple last year and one of them got crushed in my hasty, poor packing job so I am re-doing.  I learned how to make them HERE.

And I've seen some breathtaking sunsets! What a gift they have been.

And I made this simple but super-tasty Plum Spice Cake for dinner with friends.  My friend Connie makes it most every Christmas and I have been the recipient of a loaf of it for many years!  It's one of her signature goodies.  It's great for dessert, but you can call it coffee cake and totally justify eating it for breakfast. (I took 1/2 of the cake to school on Monday and it was gobbled up in the morning hours.)

I made it in a Bundt pan for guests, but you can make it in little loaf pans to give away instead!

When I think of plums, I think of visions of sugar plums dancing in heads of sleepy characters in a classic Christmas story. Don't you?  Ironically, when I think of prunes, I think of grandmothers and a digestive remedy and much stigma.  And yet, prunes are plums – dehydrated plums. The mystery ingredient in this Plum Spice Cake is...

baby food prunes.  Yep. It's true.  (You just have to hide them from your kids, significant others, and housemates before the cake is made so that they give it an unbiased chance!)
Plum Spice Cake is a much more enticing name than Prune Cake, don't you think?

My favorite part of this cake is the lemony glaze, which is quite tart, combined with the moist, cinnamon/nutmegyness of the cake.  It is delightful!

Plum Spice Cake
1 cup canola oil
2 jars prune (or plum if you can't find it) baby food
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Glaze: Powdered Sugar- about 2 cups
enough lemon juice to make it the desired consistency

Grease and flour bundt pan or loaf pans. (I used Baker's Joy, the all in one spray, and it worked beautifully).

Mix together oil, baby food, sugar, eggs in mixer until well blended. Add dry ingredients. Incorporate well. Add pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 300˚ for 1 hour (or until done, when checked with a toothpick).

Invert onto a serving dish.  Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl adjusting until desired consistency is reached.  Drizzle generously over cake while it is still warm.

I'm headed to bed, hopefully to have some sugar plums dancing in my head, so that I can get up early and do a little Advent reading and maybe some paper grading by the Christmas tree. I hope your advent season is off to a good start.


  1. You are an inspiration, dear friend. Thank you for always pointing me to Christ...and yummy food! :) I love you!

  2. The recipe actually used to call for actual plum baby food, but it's been years since that's been available. I've been wondering what to substitue; I figured apple/plum or something like that. I was afraid the prune wouldn't be as sweet or light. Thanks for the update!