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BUTTER PECAN CUPCAKES

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These butter pecan cupcakes are tender, fluffy, bakery-style desserts. A celebratory treat during the autumn season, these Thanksgiving cupcakes are meant to be shared. They bring joy, smiles and food happiness!

PIN BUTTER PECAN CUPCAKES

Freshly-frosted butter pecan cupcakes on a dessert table with milk.

Depending on where you grew up, you might know these classic desserts as pecan pie cupcakes. They’re favorite hand-held treats often presented on cake stands at the dessert table, right next to the Thanksgiving pies.

These luscious desserts almost melt in your mouth. For the cupcake batter, you can use either vegetable oil or butter. Oil delivers a soft moist texture with a much loftier rise. But butter brings a richer, more buttery taste. To have my cake and eat it too, I often use half oil, half (melted/cooled) butter.

For more autumn delight, bring on all the fall flavors at communal meals and Friendsgiving gatherings. Serve butter pecan cupcakes with maple whipped coffee, an iced vanilla latte, or pumpkin spice hot chocolate.

A bite taken out of a butter pecan / pecan pie cupcake.

INGREDIENTS

These Thanksgiving cupcakes are easy to assemble with some fall pantry staples. You might already have everything you need on hand right now.

CUPCAKE BATTER

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Sea salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil (or melted/cooled butter)
  • Whole milk
  • Large eggs
  • Pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for making Thanksgiving cupcakes.

BUTTER PECAN TOPPING

  • Pecans, chopped
  • Light brown sugar
  • Light corn syrup
  • Butter
  • Large egg
  • Pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for butter pecan topping.

FROSTING

  • Butter
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt
Ingredients for cupcake frosting.

EASY INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

Missing an ingredient for these butter pecan cupcakes? Don’t put on your shoes and head to the market. Instead, head to your fridge or pantry. Check for these easy ingredient swaps.

It’s convenient and money-saving to use ingredients you already have on hand! Especially during stay-at-home times.

  • ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: Either pastry flour or cake flour can be used as a 1:1 substitute for this cupcake recipe. Just know, cake flour can make the surface of the cupcakes more tacky/sticky by the second day.
  • GRANULATED SUGAR: Just use light brown sugar for this recipe.
  • LIGHT-BROWN SUGAR: Use dark brown sugar or granulated sugar.
  • GROUND CINNAMON: Sub with apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice.
  • VEGETABLE OIL: This ingredient adds moisture, richness and makes cupcakes lofty. The best 1:1 subs are safflower oil and canola oil. These neutral-tasting oils won’t affect the flavor of the recipe.
  • WHOLE MILK: This ingredient helps keep cupcakes moist. If needed, use 2% milk instead of whole. If you have heavy cream on hand, use 60% cream to 40% water. Or try dairy-free vanilla milk.
  • PURE VANILLA EXTRACT: Sub this delicious flavor enhancer with bourbon, brandy or amber rum. Or sub with vanilla bean paste 1:1.
  • BUTTER: This ingredient gives frosting structure. The best substitutes are vegetable shortening or margarine. For the filling, use margarine.
  • PECANS: Use walnuts instead.
  • POWDER SUGAR: Make your own powdered sugar from granulated sugar. Process sugar in a blender or food processor until fine and fluffy. One cup granulated sugar yields about 2 cups powdered sugar.
Half dozen butter pecan cupcakes (AKA: pecan pie cupcakes) on a dessert table with milk.

BEST BAKEWARE FOR THIS RECIPE

Friends know I’m a huge fan of USA Pan bakeware. Their products are favorites at high-end stores like Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and Sur La Table. And with good reason. They deliver awesome results, every time.

Below is the specific cupcake pan I use for this recipe. We’re in the heart of baking season. Now’s the time to start your collection! Snag one at a great price through the Amazon affiliate link below. 👇🏻 You deserve the best.

RECIPE STEPS

It’s easy to make butter pecan cupcakes. To make the recipe simple to follow, it’s divided into 3 sections: mixing cupcake batter, assembling butter pecan topping, and whipping up tasty frosting. Easy peasy!

CUPCAKE BATTER

RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.

  • STEP 1: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and ground cinnamon. In a second bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • STEP 2: Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
  • STEP 3: Mix just until no large lumps remain. Be careful: do not over-mix the batter or the cupcakes will be dense instead of light and fluffy.
  • STEP 4: With a metal scoop or 1/4 measuring cup, divide the batter equally between the wells of prepared cupcake pan. Each well should be filled 3/4 full. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of 2 to 3 desserts comes out clean. Transfer Thanksgiving cupcakes to a cooling rack.

KITCHEN SMARTS: Cupcakes must be completely cool before frosting. Don’t cut corners on this process. If cupcakes are frosted before they’re totally cool, as heat rises from the center, the gorgeous frosting will start to droop.

How to make Thanksgiving butter pecan cupcakes in 4 easy steps.

HOW TO COOL CUPCAKES FAST: Cool them in the pan 10 minutes, then in the freezer 20 minutes (but no longer than that). Set a timer. To cool them on the countertop it takes 1 hour. Never use the surface temperature of these desserts as an indicator of how cool the cupcakes are inside.

One dozen Thanksgiving cupcakes cooling on a wire rack.

BUTTER PECAN TOPPING

  • STEP 1: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, egg, and vanilla extract.
  • STEP 2: Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the topping mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature before using.

FROSTING

  • STEP 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
  • STEP 2: Drape a flour sack towel over the stand mixer to protect your countertop. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Once ingredients are combined, stop the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • STEP 3: Beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with your favorite metal tip. For these butter pecan cupcakes, I used a Wilton 1M.
  • STEP 4: Pipe a ring of icing around the edge of each cupcake. Fill the center with butter pecan topping. Serve and enjoy cupcakes while fresh!
How to frost and garnish butter pecan cupcakes for Thanksgiving.

RECIPE FAQ

These are the most commonly asked questions when making butter pecan cupcakes, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

BEST TYPE OF CUPCAKE LINERS?

Parchment baking cups are the best liners for cupcake pans. They don’t scorch. They tear less easily than standard cupcake liners. But most importantly: cupcakes won’t stick to the parchment wrappers!

HOW LONG TO PREHEAT OVEN BEFORE BAKING CUPCAKES?

Always preheat your oven for 30 minutes before baking. This gives your oven enough time to reach temperature. Also, when you open the oven door to pop in the cupcakes, less heat is lost.

BEST TIPS FOR FLUFFY BUTTER PECAN CUPCAKES?

Always use fresh baking powder. Check the expiration date on the can. If it’s old or expired the cupcakes will not be fluffy. Bake the batter right after it’s assembled. If it sits out too long the bubbles created by the baking powder will deflate. To protect the bubbles, it’s also important that the batter is not over-mixed. This can result in dense cakes.

HOW TO PREVENT CUPCAKES FROM SINKING?

Do not overfill the cupcake liners. The proper amount of batter for each cupcake well is 3/4 full. Always under-fill rather than overfill cupcake liners. We want to give the cakes room to rise and dome. Once the batter rises past the supportive sides of the wrapper, the batter spreads and sinks because it no longer has a structure to help keep it upright.

HOW TO STORE UNFROSTED CUPCAKES?

Arrange unfrosted cupcakes in an air-tight container as soon as they’re cooled. In a cool room-temp environment, they can be stored on the countertop for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate up to 4 days. Just know that refrigeration can dry out and harden the small cakes.

HOW TO STORE FROSTED CUPCAKES?

Keep frosted cupcakes fresh by preventing them from being exposed to air, which can dry out the cakes and cause the frosting to get stiff. As soon as cupcakes are frosted, immediately store them in a tall air-tight container. The best type: rectangular plastic containers with snap-on sides or cupcake carriers. Store on countertop for up to 3 days.

CAN YOU FREEZE BUTTER PECAN CUPCAKES?

Yes. Both frosted and unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 1 month. If you have a choice, unfrosted is the best way to go. Arrange them in a single layer inside an air-tight container. If cupcakes are unfrosted, put a piece of parchment paper on the top of each cupcake, and then wrap them in plastic before adding them to the container. Before serving, defrost cupcakes on the countertop while still in the container.

Two butter pecan cupcakes on a white marble serving board on a Thanksgiving dessert table.

MORE FALL HOLIDAY CUPCAKES

If you enjoyed these Thanksgiving cupcakes, you’ll also want to try these festive fall treats. Each cupcake recipe is a crowd pleaser. Pick your favorites and make them a family tradition. Save them for later. Pin them to Pinterest.

Thanksgiving cupcakes being frosted and topped with a delicious butter pecan garnish.

RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends and family give this recipe high marks for taste, texture and pure yummy goodness. Among autumn desserts, these butter pecan cupcakes are definite favorite!

If you too enjoyed these Thanksgiving cupcakes, give them a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero! Share it with a friend.

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Freshly-frosted butter pecan cupcakes on a dessert table with milk.

BUTTER PECAN CUPCAKES


Description

These butter pecan cupcakes deserve a place on your Thanksgiving dessert table! These cupcakes are fluffy and tender with the perfect crumb. Topped with scrumptious frosting, they’re garnished with a butter pecan topping that brings visions of pecan pie.


Ingredients

Scale

CUPCAKE BATTER

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly-packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted/cooled butter)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

BUTTER PECAN TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FROSTING

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt, to taste

Instructions

CUPCAKES

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners. 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and ground cinnamon. In a second bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, milk, eggs and vanilla.
  2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix just until no large lumps remain. Be careful: do not over-mix the batter or the cupcakes will be dense instead of light and fluffy.
  3.  With a metal scoop or 1/4 measuring cup, divide batter equally between wells of prepared cupcake pan. Each well should be filled 3/4 full. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of 2 to 3 cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the desserts to a cooling rack. 
  4. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting. Although the surface may be cool to the touch rather quickly, the interior heat will rise to the surface and make the frosting droop. Cool them in the pan 10 minutes, then in the freezer 20 minutes (but no longer than that). Cooling on the countertop takes 1 hour.

BUTTER PECAN TOPPING

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, egg, and vanilla extract.
  2. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the topping mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature before using.

FROSTING

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add vanilla extract. Mix to combine. 
  2. Drape a flour sack towel over the stand mixer to protect your countertop. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Once ingredients are combined, stop the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with your favorite metal tip. For these butter pecan cupcakes, I used a Wilton 1M.
  4. Pipe a ring of icing around the edge of each cupcake. Fill the center with butter pecan topping. Serve and enjoy cupcakes while fresh!

Notes

FOR FLUFFY CUPCAKES: Always use fresh baking powder. Check the expiration date on the can. If it’s old or expired the cupcakes will not be fluffy. Bake the batter right after it’s assembled. If it sits out too long the bubbles created by the baking powder will deflate. To protect the bubbles, it’s also important that the batter is not over-mixed. This can result in dense cakes.

HOW TO PREVENT CUPCAKES FROM SINKING: Do not overfill the cupcake liners. The proper amount of batter for each cupcake well is 3/4 full. Always under-fill rather than overfill cupcake liners. We want to give the cakes room to rise and dome. Once the batter rises past the supportive sides of the wrapper, the batter spreads and sinks because it no longer has a structure to help keep it upright.

  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cool Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Butter Pecan Cupcakes, Pecan Pie Cupcakes, Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

butter pecan cupcakes > join the conversation

In your hometown, are these Thanksgiving cupcakes known as pecan pie cupcakes or butter pecan cupcakes? Do you add a drizzling of caramel sauce on top? Share your thoughts on this delicious fall dessert in the comments!

5 thoughts on “BUTTER PECAN CUPCAKES”

  1. Fantastic cupcakes to start the morning. I love how delicious they taste and look! The recipe was easy to follow with a gorgeous outcome.

    Reply

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