Sunday, August 29, 2010

Butter Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Greetings everyone! Today I get to share my most recent cupcake adventure – Butter Pecan Cupcakes. I got the opportunity to make these birthday cupcakes for one of our hygienists at work. I actually had a lot of fun with this cupcake request because it was one I didn’t have a recipe for. A challenge! For starters, I had never had anything butter pecan flavored before in my life. So, as “research” material, I got some butter pecan ice cream (what a wonderful excuse to buy ice cream right?) and tried it to decipher the flavors. What I got from the ice cream was this: nice buttery, pecan-y, caramel-y yummy goodness :-D So, I started looking for recipes for a pecan cupcake and one for a caramel frosting. I actually did a trial run of this cupcake recipe following all the directions, but did not like the frosting as it was more like a very thick glaze instead of frosting. So, today I made the cupcakes again (although I used buttermilk instead of sour cream and butter flavor instead of vanilla extract) but used a different frosting recipe. It turned out just as I was hoping! Next time I might even wait to add the caramel topping until the very end, and only mix enough so the topping doesn’t blend with the frosting completely to give more of a “swirl” look to it. We’ll see if that works! Meanwhile, here are the recipes I tried. Enjoy!

Butter Pecan Cupcakes
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans*
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp butter flavor

Preheat to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin cup liners.
Sift and whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped pecans.
In mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in buttermilk and butter flavor. Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Divide batter among muffin cups.
Bake cupcakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 15-22 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

*Toasted pecans: I placed the pecan halves on a cookie sheet and toasted them in the oven for ~10min while the oven was preheating for the cupcakes at 350F. What you are looking for is a nutty aroma from the pecans, and watch out for them to not scorch!

Caramel Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
¼ cup caramel topping (I used Smucker’s Caramel Flavored Topping)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp butter flavor
1/8 tsp salt
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk

Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 1 Tbsp. milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in up to 2 Tbsp. additional milk for desired consistency.

Cupcake recipe adapted from

Buttercream recipe adapted from


  1. Delicious! I love butter pecan ice cream (my favorite treat from Baskin Robbins) and so I'm sure that these cupcakes would be perfect for me!

  2. Lu, that looks so yummy! My mom's hosting a baby shower in September and wants to make her own cupcakes. She is not a baker and I'd like to help her out, but I'm not a baker either. :) Actually, the baking isn't the problem, our biggest problem is always the icing. How did you get it to look like that?

  3. Hi Rachel! I usually pipe my frosting on with a cake decorating tip, in this case it was a star shaped tip. If you make your own frosting, make sure to beat it to stiff peaks. You can take the frosting bowl and turn it upside down and the frosting should not move :) Hope this helps, let me know if you want ideas to cupcake flavors as I have a whole bunch of different cupcake recipes/cookbooks! :D