Spiced Sugar Plum Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

finished cupcakes

I adapted Ree Drummond’s cake recipe into cupcakes and topped them with a delicious buttercream frosting instead of her glaze. If you like ginger-bready flavors, you will adore these cupcakes. They were really moist and addictive. They are also tasty with a cup of coffee in the morning…icing’s optional but a fun treat!

To start, preheat the oven to 300°F and line your muffin tin with paper cups.
For the cake: Place 1cup prunes in a food processor and pulse until they become a chunky paste, set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1.5cups all-purpose flour, 1tsp each baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of salt, set aside. Separate 3 egg whites from the yolks and whisk the whites until they are stiff, set them aside.  In a large bowl, mix together 1cup each canola oil, sugar and buttermilk along with the eggs yolks and 1tsp vanilla extract. Gently whisk in the prunes. Then combine the egg yolk-prune mixture and dry ingredients, adding the dry ingredients to the egg yolk-prune mixture in thirds. Then gently fold in the egg whites (in thirds) until just combined. The mixture will be slightly lumpy because of the prunes.
mix cake dough
Fill the prepared muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-22 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. I got a little impatient and frosted them while they were slightly warm and the frosting started to melt. If that happens to you too just pop them in the fridge to cool off quickly. Just make sure you bring them back to room temperature before you eat them.
To make the frosting: With a hand mixer slowly beat together 1/2cup (1 stick, room temperature) butter, 16oz powdered sugar and 2tsp vanilla bean paste* until smooth. Add 1-3tbl (1tbl at a time) buttermilk** until you get the consistency you want. Top the cupcakes and enjoy!
  mix frosting
Cook’s Note:
* One of my favorite economical ingredients is vanilla bean paste. It’s basically a thick vanilla extract that has tons of vanilla bean seeds in it. A decent size bottle only cost about as much as 1 or 2 whole vanilla beans. I only use the vanilla bean paste when I want to see the seeds. The only place I’ve seen this product is at Savory Spice Shop. If you don’t have it use vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean seeded instead.
** I used buttermilk in the frosting because the original cake recipe was topped with a buttermilk glaze. Don’t have buttermilk or don’t want to use it, use milk instead.
Ingredients
Cake
1c prunes
1.5c all-purpose flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1c canola oil
1c sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1c buttermilk
Frosting
16oz powdered sugar
1/2c (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2tsp vanilla bean paste
1-3tbl buttermilk, room temperature
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