We’re off to Big Sur for a bit to embrace the arrival of fall.  The beauty of the California central coast eases the Texas homesick pain.  Wood-fired pizza and croissants at Big Sur Bakery help as well.  While I’m gone, stop by your local farm stand and pick up some plums.  Even if you don’t think you like plums, I’m betting it’s because you’ve only had grocery store plums.  There ain’t nothin’ like a tree ripened plum this time of year.  If you can spare one of your plums, make these spice cupcakes.  As I was making the plum cardamom glaze, I realized the flavor combination would make a great jam.  I doubled the plum mixture and had the leftovers on toasted 9-grain bread with almond butter.  Enjoy these and y’all have a great weekend! 

Spice Cupcakes with Plum Glaze

For the cupcakes:
7 tablespoons unbleached flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

For the glaze:
1 small plum (about 4-5 ounces)
¼ cup sugar
1 green cardamom pod, lightly crushed
½ teaspoon lime juice
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Begin by preheating the oven to 400°. Place 4 paper liners on the outside edge of a cupcake tin.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together with a mixer.  Add the applesauce and vanilla and beat until well-incorporated.  Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat lightly.  Add 1 tablespoon of milk, followed by the remaining half of the flour mixture; finish with the milk.  Don’t over-beat this mixture.  Divide the mixture between the cupcake papers and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set aside while making the glaze.

Now, make the glaze.  Peel, pit and dice the plum.  Add the plum to a small saucepan along with the sugar, lime juice and cardamom pod.  Bring this mixture to a low boil and cook until the plum pieces fall apart and are easily smashed with a fork (10-15 minutes).  Fish out the cardamom pod, and pass the mixture through a fine sieve to ensure no seeds remain.  Let this mixture cool to room temperature.  Brush about 1 teaspoon of the plum cardamom jam on each cupcake before proceeding.  Next, cream together the butter and powdered sugar (starting with the smaller amount of each) in a small bowl.  Add the rest of the plum jam to this mixture and beat very well.  Taste and add additional butter and powdered sugar to taste.  The sweetness and intensity of plums vary greatly, so I’ve left some flexibility to suit your own tastes.  When ready to serve, dunk the cupcakes in the glaze.