Mom’s Prune Cake and Making Peace


I just finished the last piece of prune cake – think really moist spice cake with a light glaze that tastes like caramel. Soooo good! It’s one of the many baked goods Mom made every Christmas and gave as gifts. After I married and eventually moved to SC, I made it for Christmas, too. The first Christmas after mom passed away, I lost the recipe.

Cooks, you know what it’s like when you know a recipe card more by the look of it, than by the recipe that’s on it. That’s the way it was with the prune cake recipe. I’d used the same cards – one for the cake, one for the icing – for almost twenty years. I knew it by the stains, discoloration, and my handwriting. And I couldn’t find it.

I went back to my cottage thinking maybe I’d left it there in a cupboard with some other recipes. I pulled the small basket onto my lap and started leafing through, looking for those recipe cards. Instead I found these.dsc02990dsc02991

Obviously not the ones I was looking for, and a set I still don’t remember ever getting from her or using. They were in mint condition. When I turned over the cake card, I saw her note at the bottom and could hear her saying the words. The cards and note brought both tears and comfort.

Several months later I found the other cardsdsc02989

Mom passed away eighteen years ago this month. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Making her prune cake brought a sense of peace that first Christmas. I’ve written about having coffee at McDonald’s on her anniversary. My sister makes snow angels in the winter’s first snow in her honor.

Last year was a rough one. For many of us, the deaths of family, friends, or beloved pets left us numb. Some of us are losing family and friends through illness. A friend’s brother and sister-in-law are still rebuilding Haiti from the damage of Hurricane Matthew; families in Appalachia are rebuilding after wildfires. And without getting political, the presidential election still reverberates, causing emotions ranging from euphoria to acute depression and anger.

Tonight we wait for winter’s first snow. The line defining where it will fall and where it won’t keeps shifting north, so we may not see it. I’ll be disappointed if that happens, but there is still a sense of peace that settles with the anticipation. Peace. The whole reason a star appeared in the night sky and hovered over a tiny baby.dsc00811A final Merry Christmas. May we all find moments of peace and comfort in this New Year.

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2 Responses to Mom’s Prune Cake and Making Peace

  1. Susan March says:

    Hi Kim , It’s so hard to believe your Mom has been gone that long . Wish she was still here with my Mom , all the Aunts , & Grandma too ! It’s just not right without them . I’m picturing your recipes .Your Mom gave me a little recipe box with cards like yours . They have strawberries on them .I have had them for about 35 Yrs now . You can really tell they have been used . I have just one recipe from your Mom . It is for Triangles , also made with prunes . It’s formed into a log , & rolled in colored sugar . I really like it , & she gave me the recipe ! I can’t say I have made it yet , but now that I am getting older , & things will be slowing down, I intend to make one of them . Loved your story , & you too ! Susie

  2. I remember those! She would make them a couple weeks ahead of Christmas so the flavors would age. I’ve not made them either – maybe next year. There’s something special about handwritten recipes. I’m so glad we have them. Yes, it sure was fun when all those women were in the same room! So much laughter. Love you too!

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