Chocolate Cupcakes and Frosting – Sweetened with Prunes!

My pal Brian Levy was a guest on my  Cherry Bombe baking podcast, She’s My Cherry Pie, the #1 baking podcast in the U.S. (you can listen to our episode here) and we talked all about his recipe for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting – entirely sweetened by California Prunes (and some dates)!! The recipe is from Brian’s book, Good & Sweet and you can watch Brian and I make the cups together, here. The recipe for the cupcakes is below and the frosting recipe can be found here:

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Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan
Course Cake, Cupcakes
Cuisine Cupcakes
Keyword cake


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 95 grams
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder 40 grams
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 1/2 tbsps neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed 80 grams
  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature 30 grams
  • 2 large eggs
  • Scant 1 1/4 cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped 175 grams
  • 2/3 cup prunes, chopped 95 grams
  • 1/2 cup how water 125 grams
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 cups of a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix them with a whisk and set the bowl aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the oil and butter on low speed to combine. Add the eggs, gradually increase the speed to medium, and beat for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the dates, prunes, and hot water. Let the fruit soften for a couple of minutes if it’s firm. Add the vanilla and puree until very smooth and room temperature, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the oil-egg mixture in the stand mixer bowl and begin mixing on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and mix until just a bit of flour is left unmixed. Add the fruit puree and beat on low speed until it’s fully incorporated, then increase the speed to medium for about 30 seconds to develop the cake’s structure. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and smooth the tops.
  • Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate the pan front to back after 10 minutes in the oven. 

To assemble:

  • Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in their pan, then place them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. Frost with the chocolate ermine frosting using a small offset spatula or a piping bag with a ½-inch tip.Frosted cupcakes will keep in the refrigerator for up to a few days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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