These brown butter pecan cupcakes are made with nutty brown butter and topped with toasted buttered pecans! They're the perfect fall dessert!
As a born and raised southerner, one of my favorite ice cream flavors is butter pecan! So I wanted to capture that flavor in cupcake form!
You just need a few simple ingredients to make these brown butter pecan cupcakes!
- Cake flour - I always use cake flour in my cupcakes because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
- Brown butter - My favorite ingredient of all time is brown butter!! Brown butter is just unsalted butter that has been melted and gently cooked to bring out a toasty, nutty flavor. If you've never made brown butter before, you can check out this post with all my tips for how to make brown butter!
- Buttered pecans - The buttered pecans are the star of the show! But you could substitute pretty much any type of nut in it's place!
- Almond Extract - I just love how the almond extract pairs with the nutty flavor of the brown butter!
I recommend making the brown butter the night before you make the cupcakes, so that it has time to fully cool to room temperature!
Since both the cupcakes and the buttercream call for brown butter, I find it easier to just make one large batch and then weigh out the difference using a kitchen scale (½ cup of butter weighs about 113 grams).
However, if you don't have a scale you can just make two separate batches of brown butter!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
How to Make Buttered Pecans
The first step is making the buttered pecans! This is optional but I just love the extra flavor it adds!
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss together the pecans, softened brown butter, and a pinch of salt and spread in an even layer on the pan.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pecans are lightly toasted. Roughly chop and set aside.
How to Make Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the brown butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract together until combined.
Stir in about half of the flour mixture.
Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thin.
Then gently fold in the chopped buttered pecans.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
Let the brown butter pecan cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Cupcake Decorating Tips & Tricks
- For these big beautiful frosting swirls on these butter pecan cupcakes, I use the 9FT tip from this decorating kit. The tips are much larger than standard sizes and so fun for decorating cupcakes!
- Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!! After frosting, garnish with buttered pecans!
These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
Of course not! You can absolutely substitute regular unsalted butter. I just love the flavor that brown butter adds.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like
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Brown Butter Pecan Cupcakes
- ½ cup unsalted brown butter, room temperature
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ½ cups cake flour, substitute all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup buttered pecans
- The first step is making the buttered pecans! This is optional but I just love the extra flavor it adds!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss together the pecans, softened brown butter, and a pinch of salt and spread in an even layer on the pan.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pecans are lightly toasted. Roughly chop and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the brown butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract together until combined.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture.
- Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thin.
- Then gently fold in the chopped buttered pecans.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
- Let the brown butter pecan cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Brown Butter Frosting
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the room temperature brown butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
- Mix in vanilla, salt, and milk until fully combined.
- Beat the frosting on high for 4-5 minutes until lightly and fluffy.
- Frost cooled cupcakes and top with buttered pecans.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.