This lumberjack cake features honey-infused cake with pockets of moist prunes and baked apples. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!

baked and sliced Lumberjack Cake

This fruit & prune lumberjack cake is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth with less guilt. This recipe is a near copycat of my favorite lumberjack cake from a restaurant in San Francisco called Frances. Back in 2011, it was listed on “The Big Eat 2011: 100 Things to Try Before You Die”. And let me tell you – this list wasn’t lying!

After some trial-and-error, I came up with a similar – yet healthier – version that calls for no processed sugar or butter. Moist on the inside and perfectly crunchy on the outside, I know you’re going to just love it! 

What Exactly is a Lumberjack Cake? 

Lumberjack cake refers to a variety of different spiced cakes that are made with nuts and fruit. Unlike traditional cakes, they are typically left unfrosted and have minimal added sugar. What’s common between all cakes of this style is that they’re old-fashioned, hearty, and wholesome. Below, find a brief rundown of the flavor, texture, and cooking time for this fruit & prune lumberjack cake.

  • Flavor: The flavor of this cake is earthy from the honey and nuts with a nice natural sweetness from the prunes and apples. It’s got just the right amount of sweetness. 
  • Texture: This cake takes absolutely no shortcuts when it comes to texture. From tender apples to chewy dates to moist honey cake, each bite is full of character and wonderfully rustic. 
  • Cooking Time: From start to finish, this cake takes just under an hour and a half to prep and bake. 
Ingredients for Fruit & Prune Lumberjack Cake

How to Make this Lumberjack Cake

Making this lumberjack cake only requires a handful of wholesome ingredients and absolutely no decorating or assembling. Simply mix the batter, pop it in the oven, and serve. Below, find a quick hitter overview of the recipe before you dive in. 

  • Soak the Prunes: While the oven is preheating to 350°F, roughly chop the prunes and place them in a small bowl with the baking soda. Next, pour hot, boiling water over them and allow them to soak and soften. 
  • Mix the Dry Ingredients: In a separate small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. 
  • Mix the Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the honey, egg, vanilla extract, and coconut oil together with a hand mixer. Next, slowly beat in the soaked prunes. 
  • Combine the Wet & Dry Ingredients: Using a spatula, slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Fold the apples into the batter. 
  • Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake the cake for 45-50 minutes. Allow it to cool at room temperature. Enjoy as-is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 

Experimenting with Different Ingredients

If you want to do a little experimenting of your own, add your favorite ingredients into the cake batter. Below, find a few suggestions and variations to play with. 

  • Chocolate chips – Dark chocolate chips add a nice, subtle richness 
  • Nuts – Walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios will give the cake a wonderful crunch
  • Dates – Swap the prunes out for dates (soak them just as you would the prunes)
  • Coconut topping – Add a cup of coconut flakes on top of the cake before baking for a nice pop of texture and nutty flavor
  • Pears – Swap the apples out for pears if you prefer

A Step-By-Step on Freezing Lumberjack Cake

Lumberjack cake is perhaps one of the best cakes for freezing. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to have cake on hand for 2-3 weeks.

  • Allow the cake to cool completely. 
  • Place the cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pop it  in the freezer uncovered. 
  • Once completely frozen, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap.
  • To thaw, place it in the fridge overnight. Slice cold or warm it up in the oven! 

4 Tips for Tasty Lumberjack Cake

Here you’ll find a handful of tips to help you make the tastiest lumberjack cake on the planet. 

  • Soak the prunes in baking soda and hot water. Boiling water and baking soda will help soften the prunes so they incorporate well into the batter. A quick 10 minutes will do the trick! 
  • Peel the apples. For the smoothest cake texture, peel the apples before you add them to the batter. 
  • Grease the pan. Whatever you do, don’t forget to grease the pan before pouring the batter in! A little cooking spray or Crisco will prevent the cake from sticking when you remove it from the pan.
  • Use the toothpick trick. Not sure if the cake is finished quite yet? Stick a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, you’re golden!

Hot Tip: Bake the cake in a springform pan if you have one. This will remove any chance that it will stick to the pan and fall apart during removal. Need a recommendation? I love this one and have been using it to make perfect cheesecakes for years.

A slice of Lumberjack Cake

FAQ

How did lumberjack cake get its name?

The exact origin of the name is hard to pin down. However, one can assume that the name has something to do with the hearty ingredients used to make the cake. After all, lumberjacks need their energy, right?

Can the coconut oil be swapped out for a different oil?

Yes, the coconut oil can be swapped out for sunflower oil, canola oil, or even olive oil.

How long does lumberjack cake keep in the fridge?

Lumberjack cake will last for up to a week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Should I drain the water from the prunes before adding it to the batter?

No, add both the water and the soaked prunes directly into the batter. During the soaking process, the sweetness of the prunes seeps out and makes for a wonderful syrup to sweeten the cake.

Where can I find coconut oil?

Today, coconut oil is sold in most grocery stores. Trader Joe’s has a wonderful option!

Other Hearty Cake Recipes

About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.