1st Sunday of Advent: Sugar Plum Cake

On the first Sunday of Advent, the Collect prayer from the 1962 Extraordinary Form of the Mass prays:

O Lord, stir up Your might and come! May we deserve Your protection. Deliver us from the threatening dangers of our sins, and be our salvation.

We begin our Advent journey to Christmas, and the Church begs Christ to come. Not only do we ask God to to God to “stir up” His might, we also are looking to stir up our hearts, to start preparing ourselves for His coming.

With this request to God to “stir up” His might, this day was traditionally called Stir-Up Sunday. Many families would begin a traditional plum pudding or fruit cake or some other recipe that everyone can take a turn to “stir-up”. This activity of stirring-up the ingredients symbolizes our hearts that must be stirred in preparation for Christ’s birth.

Usually batter needs to be mixed up well, and everyone in the family and guests should give a good stir.

I personally do not enjoy fruitcake or plum pudding, so I’m always trying to think of a different recipe that would need lots of stirring and can be saved and gets better with time. This recipe is a big contender.

This is a delicious, spice-filled, every-so-moist cake! Prunes have never had such a lovely presentation! This is my MIL’s recipe, and a traditional favorite for Christmas brunch. She makes it ahead of time and stores it in the refrigerator. It gets moister as time progresses.

Sugar Plum Cake

2 cups sugar
3 whole eggs
1 cup cooking oil
1 tsp. soda
2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cooked unpitted prunes*
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and salt

*Cooked prunes: Dried plums or prunes, add water and cook in saucepan until plumped up. Measure AFTER cooking. MIL cuts them in half.

Combine sugar, eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients gradually and mix well. Fold in nuts and prunes. Pour into tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or add glaze.

Glaze (optional)

1/4 cup cold milk
1/2 powdered sugar

Mix and pour on cooled cake.

Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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