So you like pecan pie? Then you’ll LOVE these amazing Pecan Pie Cupcakes! Brown sugar cakes, topped with the smoothest ever pecan pie filling buttercream, and dunked in chopped toasted pecans. Happy fall!
Confession: I never had pecan pie up until a few weeks ago. I’m Dutch, so there. People don’t eat pecan pie much around here. They usually just stick to apple. But I’m an adventurous foodie, so I tried making pecan pie myself, in my own (well, my mom’s) cosy little kitchen a couple of years back. But. Truth be told, the pie was a bit of a disaster. See, the recipe called for light corn syrup, and when I couldn’t get my hands on some I used agave syrup instead, which was just a very bad idea. The resulting pecan pie was waaaaay to sweet and goopy. Yuck…
Flash forward to a few weeks ago. I was putting together my Roy Fares’ Giveaway post when his recipe for pecan pie tartlets caught my eye. Yes. Delicious, nutty pecan pie. Of course I had to make it!
So I got to baking, and the pecan pie tartlets turned out pretty good. In fact, I thought about photographing them for the blog before serving them. But then, disaster struck again! I couldn’t get the damn things out of the pans. So. I decided not to photograph them and the Rocking Rebel and I enjoyed our delicious pecan pie tartlets straight out of the pans. Because they WERE delicious! And they convinced me that I had to make something pecan pie flavored for the blog.
And since I didn’t want to go through the whole ordeal of making pie dough and lining a pie pan again, I decided on cupcakes 😉
Have you tried my recipe for ermine buttercream (aka: flour buttercream)? It’s by far my most popular recipe, and for good reason. Ermine buttercream is super smooth and velvety, it pipes beautifully, it’s very easy to make, and it’s not too sweet. In fact, you can adjust the sweetness to your own taste without compromising on the texture of the buttercream!
Anyway, flour buttercream is made by first making a simple pudding on the stove, using milk, sugar and all-purpose flour. This mixture is cooked until thick, cooled to room temperature, chilled in the fridge, and beaten into beaten butter to make the buttercream.
But instead of using a flour-milk-sugar pudding, you can also use a different kind of pudding. And guess what? Pecan pie filling is basically just pudding!
So I took an awesome pecan pie filling recipe by The Pioneer Woman and cooked it on the stove. I added a little water and flour to the mix to help the ingredients to dissolve and to thicken the pudding a little more and ta-daaa! Pecan pie buttercream pudding base ↓
Once the base was done, turning it into buttercream was easy peasy! And the resulting buttercream was delicious! First of all, it was super smooth, which is the no. 1 reason why I went with a flour buttercream approach to this buttercream. Secondly, the flavor. Pecan pie filling flavor. Lots of it. No silly hints of pecan pie overshadowed by lots and lots of powdered sugar. Nu-uh. A serious pecan pie kick!
The only thing it obviously lacked at this point, was pecans.
But I wasn’t really sure how much pecan flavor I needed. At first, I went with a single toasted pecan right on top of the buttercream, as you can see in the second photo of this post. It looked pretty, but I wanted more pecans. So I casually sprinkled some pecan pieces on top as well. Which was a lot better already.
Btw, look at that buttercream. So fluffy and delicious!
Still, I felt the sprinkling of pecans looked a bit, well, mhew. Not very generous, at least. So in the end I decided to just dunk the buttercream frosted tops of the cupcakes in a bowl of pecan pieces.
Much better. And soooo good!
These cupcakes would be perfect for all sorts of fall celebrations, but I made them just because it was Friday. And because I wanted cupcakes 😉
Enjoy this recipe!
And if you like this recipe and would like more recipes delivered straight into your inbox, click here to subscribe to my mailing list. I’m working on an Ebook with my Five Favorite Frostings for all of my subscribers, too. It’s going to be super cute and it features a recipe for a delicious Nutella frosting, which I promise is better than any Nutella frosting you’ve ever had before!
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- 130g (or ½ cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
- scant ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 25g (or 5 teaspoons) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon water
- 120g (or ½ cup + 1½ teaspoon) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 60g (or ¼ cup + 2½ teaspoons) granulated sugar
- 60g (or ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon, packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (about 100g total)
- 125g (or 1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 5 teaspoons buttermilk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 226g (or 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 60g (or 2 ounces) chopped, toasted pecans
- In a small saucepan, combine sugars, salt, vanilla, 25g (or 5 teaspoons) of butter, egg, flour and water. Stir with a rubber spatula until mostly combined. The butter won't incorporate yet, that's okay.
- Place the pan over low heat and keep stirring with the rubber spatula. The butter will melt and the sugars will dissolve. Keep stirring gently but continuously until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Cook for 10 seconds, stirring continuously, then remove from heat and pour the pecan pie pudding onto a plate. Set aside to cool completely to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F (standard oven setting) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the sugars and mix until the mixture looks light and fluffy, another 2 minutes.
- Crack the egg in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add half the egg to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until well combined. Add the remaining half egg and mix until the mixture looks like thick buttercream. The mixture may separate, but if you just keep mixing it will come together again. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl every now and then with a rubber spatula.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a rubber spatula until somewhat incorporated. Mix briefly with the mixer, about 30 seconds, then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again with your rubber spatula and mix for another 5 seconds. Finally, add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds, or until beautifully combined.
- Divide the batter evenly over the lined cups, place in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before frosting.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 226g (or 1 cup) of softened butter on high speed until light, pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the cold pecan pie pudding base one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the pudding has been added, mix for another five minutes on high speed until the buttercream is super smooth and fluffy.
- Place the chopped pecans in a small bowl that's wide enough to dunk the top of the cupcakes in. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large open tip with the buttercream. Pipe a mound of buttercream in the center of each cupcake, then dunk the cupcakes upside down in the pecan pieces, or decorate as desired.