Sugar Plum Cupcakes

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A delicious Sugar Plum-inspired recipe perfect for enjoying while watching the Nutcracker – or as a special princess or fairy-inspired treat any time of the year! These Sugar Plum Cupcakes feature a vanilla-almond cake filled with homemade plum jam and topped with a vanilla-plum buttercream frosting and plenty of fairy-inspired sprinkles.

A whimsical and scrumptious cupcake inspired by the Nutcracker, these Sugar Plum Cupcakes feature a vanilla-almond cake, homemade jam filling and a luscious plum-vanilla buttercream frosting.

Sugar Plum Cupcake Recipe

Sugar plums have always sounded scrumptious to me, however they are just candied nuts or seeds! While I do love my candied pecans, I wanted to create an indulgent plum-based cupcake with a touch of whimsy that is reminiscent of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker.

I used my go-to soft and fluffy vanilla-almond cupcake batter for the base of this recipe as almond and plum go together beautifully, then I created a super simple homemade plum jam by boiling down some chopped plums, sugar and water. I not only used that plum jam to fill the cupcakes, I added a few tablespoons of it to a standard vanilla buttercream to make a luscious plum-vanilla buttercream that is just out of this world delicious – and it requires no food coloring to get that pretty pink color!

To really drive that fairy-theme home, I decorated all of the cupcakes with some edible silver glitter and a combination of silver and white pearl sprinkles. However, you can choose to leave these cupcakes plain or garnish with whatever you think would be fun and whimsical! An assortment of candies, a mini cookie – or even little Nutcracker-inspired cupcake toppers like these.

While my inspiration was the Sugar Plum Fairy, these pretty pink cupcakes can be enjoyed all year round! I think they would be gorgeous at a princess- or ballerina-themed party, though I wouldn’t hesitate to make them for a girl’s night with my friends because the vanilla-plum-almond flavor is one that everyone will enjoy.

 

While I made these almond-vanilla cupcakes from scratch, you could use a boxed mix and doctor it up with a dash of almond extract. You can also make your life a little easier by grabbing a jar of plum preserves, but our quick homemade plum jam is super quick and easy so don’t be intimidated by it.

Tips for the Plum Jam:

  • Don’t peel the plums before making the jam. Their skins will give the filling and the cupcake frosting that gorgeous color and a bit of tang. Don’t worry about the skins affecting the texture as they will dissolve to not be noticeable in the cooked jam.
  • Use ripe plums for that perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.
  • This plum jam can be prepared a few days ahead of time and can even be frozen for up to two months, if needed.
  • The jam will thicken more after cooling, so just cook until the mixture is thickened and the jam coats the back of a spoon nicely.
  • If making these cupcakes out of plum season, use frozen plums to make the jam or just use a pre-made plum preserve.

How to Pick Ripe Plums: You want your plums to be supple and heavy. It shouldn’t be squishy but the bottom of the plum (opposite the stem) should have a little bit of give if gently pressed with your thumb.

Can these sugar plum cupcakes be frozen? Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes by placing in an airtight freezer bag or your favorite freezer containers for up to two months (this set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain). Keep in mind that the plum filling may make the cupcakes a bit soggy when thawed, so I would wait to core and fill the cupcakes until after freezing. (And yes, you can prepare and freeze that plum jam in advance, as well.)

Fruit-filled cupcakes like these sugar plum cupcakes should be stored in the fridge to prevent spoiling, however if you’re enjoying these cupcakes within a day of making them, they can be kept at room temperature. These cupcakes will last for up to a week in the fridge but I would recommend enjoying them within 3-4 days of making for the best flavor and texture experience.

More Christmas Cupcakes

Sugar Plum Cupcake Ingredients

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Tip: if plums are out of season, use frozen plums or swap out the homemade plum jam for a jar of pre-made plum preserves.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
  • Cupcake pan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Piping bag with large star tip <– a basic piping set will have all you need
  • Cupcake Scoop
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spoon or Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
  • Cupcake corer

How to Make Sugar Plum Cupcakes

How to Make Vanilla-Almond Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line two muffin trays with paper or silicone liners and set aside. (You will need approximately 18 muffin liners.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the vegetable oil and 1 cup white sugar until light-colored and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and all of the almond extract.

Beat in half of the dry ingredients, then 1 cup of the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Portion out the cupcake batter into the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until lightly golden and an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

How to Make Homemade Plum Jam:

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the plum filling.

Combine the chopped plums, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer at medium-low heat until mixture has thickened and plums are completely broken down or can be squished into a jam-like consistency with the back of a spoon.

Remove the plum filling from heat and allow to cool.

How to Make Vanilla-Plum Frosting:

For the buttercream frosting, beat together the butter and icing sugar for 2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the 2-3 Tablespoons of milk plus the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. Set aside.

How to Assemble the Sugar Plum Cupcakes:

Once the cupcakes are cooled, use a cupcake corer to remove the center of the cupcakes, being careful to leave a bit of cupcake at the bottom.

Fill each cupcake with about 1-2 teaspoons of the plum mixture.

Combine remaining plum mixture with the vanilla icing and beat well to break down any large bits of plum.

Scoop the plum-vanilla frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and frost each cupcake.

Garnish each cupcake with sprinkles.

Makes 18 cupcakes.

 

Pin this Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcake for your next Holiday Baking session:

How to make a Sugar Plum Cupcake with vanilla-almond cake, plum filling and vanilla-plum buttercream frosting. Perfect for a Nutcracker viewing party or any princess or fairy themed party!

Grab your free printable recipe card for our sugar plum cupcakes recipe:

Yield: 18 Cupcakes

Sugar Plum Cupcakes

Sugar Plum Cupcakes

A whimsical and scrumptious cupcake inspired by the Nutcracker, these Sugar Plum Cupcakes feature a vanilla-almond cake, homemade jam filling and a luscious plum-vanilla buttercream frosting.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 cup Milk, Plus 2-3 Tablespoons
  • 3 Plums, chopped and pits discarded
  • 1 cup Butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4-5 cups Powdered Icing Sugar, as needed
  • Sprinkles, as desired

Instructions

How to Make Vanilla-Almond Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line two muffin trays with paper or silicone liners and set aside. (You will need approximately 18 muffin liners.)
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the vegetable oil and 1 cup white sugar until light-colored and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Beat in the eggs, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and all of the almond extract.
  6. Beat in half of the dry ingredients, then 1 cup of the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  7. Portion out the cupcake batter into the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.
  8. Bake for 18-22 minutes until lightly golden and an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

How to Make Homemade Plum Jam:

  1. While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the plum filling.
  2. Combine the chopped plums, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer at medium-low heat until mixture has thickened and plums are completely broken down or can be squished into a jam-like consistency with the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove the plum filling from heat and allow to cool.

How to Make Vanilla-Plum Frosting:

  1. For the buttercream frosting, beat together the butter and icing sugar for 2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the 2-3 Tablespoons of milk plus the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. Set aside.

How to Assemble the Sugar Plum Cupcakes:

  1. Once the cupcakes are cooled, use a cupcake corer to remove the center of the cupcakes, being careful to leave a bit of cupcake at the bottom.
  2. Fill each cupcake with about 1-2 teaspoons of the plum mixture.
  3. Combine remaining plum mixture with the vanilla icing and beat well to break down any large bits of plum.
  4. Scoop the plum-vanilla frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and frost each cupcake. Place the frosting tip at the center of the cupcake and make circular motions with your wrist as you apply gentle pressure to the piping bag, moving towards the edge of the cupcake and then back to the center. Flick your wrist up to stop the stream of frosting.
  5. Garnish each cupcake with sprinkles and edible glitter, as desired.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

18

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 739Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 148gFiber: 0gSugar: 138gProtein: 2g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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I hope your family loves these sugar plum cupcakes as much as mine did! They were such a hit at our Nutcracker viewing party.

For more scrumptious cupcakes, check out our full cupcake collection here:

Or, for more decadent desserts, check out our full dessert collection here:

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