Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

Fluffy almond cupcakes are filled with delicious plum preserves and topped with a tall swirl of purple buttercream. Lavender sanding sugar makes them sparkle and gives them a crunchy bite.

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

It’s not hard to guess what inspired these cupcakes! I can practically hear Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairies from the Nutcracker Suite when I look at them. When I was a teenager, my mom would take me to see the live ballet in December, and I’d marvel at the athleticism – effortless leaps and twirls that seemed to go on and on! It was pure magic.

When I found a package of old-school ballerina toppers hidden in my stash of cake decors, I knew I wanted to capture a little of that magic in cupcake form.

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

This recipe makes a whole troupe of cupcakes!  Plenty for you to enjoy and share with friends. If you do plan to share, you’ll need some extra-tall cupcake boxes (like this) to accommodate the tiny dancers, or you could scale down the frosting swirl just a wee bit! (I’m a frosting girl, can you tell?)

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

The recipe begins with a one-bowl cupcake recipe. That means that all the ingredients are stirred up in one big bowl and there’s less dishes to do! The cakes bake to a firm yet soft crumb that’s perfect for filling. Damson plum filling is delicious in these cupcakes, and you can find the brand I use here

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

For the piped frosting, I used a large drop flower tip (Wilton 2D) to pipe white flowers around the outer edge of the cupcakes. For the center, a large open star tip (Ateco 828) makes a tall soft serve-style swirl.

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

These vintage-inspired ballerinas got a sugar plum makeover with pinky-purple acrylic paint and German glitter. You can find the ballerinas here, in my pal Amanda’s shop Cranky Cakes.  

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

The plum preserves give the almond cakes a tart, fruity note which is nice with all of that buttercream, but I think my favorite part is the lavender sanding sugar on top. You’ll get a little sugar crunch between your teeth when you bite them!

Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

Fluffy almond cupcakes are filled with delicious plum preserves and topped with a tall swirl of purple buttercream. Lavender sanding sugar makes them sparkle and gives them a crunchy bite.
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Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 22 mins
Total Time 47 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20

Ingredients
 
 

Cakes

  • 2 cups 240g all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 300g sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening very soft but not melted, Crisco is best
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plum preserves

Almond Buttercream

  • 1 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 lb. 1 large bag, about 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Milk or cream to thin I used 5-6 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • Neon purple food color
  • Lavender sanding sugar
  • Ballerina cupcake toppers 20 ct.

Instructions
 

Cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cupcake tins with papers.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the soft/room temperature shortening, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat together using a hand mixer until all the ingredients are well blended; don’t over-beat (over-beating will cause the centers to sink as they bake).
  • Pour into the prepared pans, about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to wire cooling racks and cool completely.
  • When the cupcakes are cooled, cut a hole in the top of each cupcake and remove the cake piece. It should be large enough to accommodate 1 tablespoon of preserves. Trim the cake piece flat and replace on top of the cupcake.

Almond Buttercream

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the butter until creamy; add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on low speed. When the sugar is mostly absorbed, increase the mixer speed. Add milk or cream a little at a time until the mixture comes to piping consistency (soft, but not too lax). Beat in the almond extract.
  • Transfer 1/3 of the white icing to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. With the mixer running, add the neon purple food color a little at a time to the remaining buttercream. When a vibrant purple hue is achieved, transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. Have the sanding sugar placed in a bowl and ready to hand before you begin piping.
  • Using the white icing, pipe stars around the outside edge of each cupcake. Using the purple icing, pipe a large swirl in the center of a cupcake and immediately sprinkle with lavender sanding sugar. Continue piping purple swirls on the cupcakes, and immediately after piping a swirl top it with sanding sugar (don’t wait around – the buttercream will crust and the sugar won’t stick!).
  • Top each cupcake with a ballerina topper, if using.
Keyword cupcakes, sugar plum cupcakes, sugar plum fairy
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Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

can you use butter?