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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Pecan Frosting

Yields 18-20 cupcakes     adjust servings

These Pumpkin Cupcakes are made extra moist and flavorful thanks to the addition of browned butter! Top them off with a sophisticated Maple Pecan Buttercream Frosting and you have autumn's new favorite cupcake. They would be a perfect Thanksgiving dessert if your family is not into pie!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 and 2/3 cup flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree* (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 batch Maple Pecan Frosting (click here for the recipe)
  • toasted pecan halves, for topping
  • maple syrup, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and place oven rack so that the cupcakes will be in the center of the oven. Line two muffin tins with 18-20 paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a 2 or 3 quart saucepan, melt 3/4 cup butter over medium heat. Keep the heat on medium and don't walk away. Stir occasionally. Soon the butter will bubble and form a thick white foam on top. After that, the foam will recede a little bit and you will start to see little brown "bits" forming on the bottom of the pan. Stir them up and take a whiff. If you see brown specks and your butter has taken on a nutty aroma, your butter is browned. Take it off the heat right away. It goes from browned to burned real quick, so pay attention! Set aside to let it cool a bit.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together 1 cup pumpkin puree* (not pie filling), 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. When the browned butter has cooled (it can still be warm, just make sure it's not so hot you risk curdling your eggs) add it to the pumpkin mixture and stir well, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure it's all incorporated.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 and 2/3 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves. Add the flour mixture to the batter in increments, stirring each time. Once all the flour is adding, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix ONLY until just combined. Make sure there are no streaks of flour but once they are gone, stop mixing. A few small lumps in the batter are okay but not too many.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner with 1/4 cup of batter.
  7. Bake the cupcakes at 325, one pan at a time, for 18-20 minutes. Make sure the cupcakes are in the center of the oven. (If you only have one muffin tin, cool the muffin tin in a fridge for a couple minutes before baking the next set.) You will know the cupcakes are done in the center when a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with no batter on it. You can also press your finger into the top of a cupcake, and if the cupcake springs back immediately, it's done. (if your finger leaves a dent, leave it in a couple more minutes.)
  8. Within 3-4 minutes of taking the cupcakes out of the oven, carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. This will help keep your cupcakes from getting soggy on the bottom. Be careful not to burn yourself!
  9. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them with Maple Pecan Frosting! Click here for the recipe. I used a pastry bag and a large star tip to frost the cupcakes. You could also snip the corner off of a ziplock bag. Or frost the old fashioned way with a butter knife!
  10. Top each cupcake with a pecan and drizzle with extra maple syrup! Totally optional.

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