Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Brown sugar cakes, topped with the smoothest ever pecan pie filling buttercream, and dunked in chopped toasted pecans.
For the pecan pie buttercream base:
  • 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
For the cakes:
  • 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
To finish the buttercream:
  • 226g (or 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
To decorate:
  • 60g (or 2 ounces) chopped, toasted pecans
Start with the pecan pie buttercream base:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Make the cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F (standard oven setting) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Finish the buttercream:
  1. 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.
Assemble the cupcakes:
  1. 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.
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at