This all-butter Maple Frosting with pecans is great for any fall cake or cupcake. Maple makes for a very sweet buttercream frosting, but the pecans balance it out perfectly!

Maple Frosting with chopped pecans

Originally posted October 23, 2014

So I’m making this frosting the other day with Charlotte, and it’s going great. There is a cloud of powdered sugar in the air, spilt maple syrup on the counter, small, buttery fingers, and all the measuring cups are being lined up and realigned just so. Typical bake-with-mom frosting session.

I taste the frosting and ask her, “What does it need Charlotte?” And she says, casually throwing a thumb over her shoulder toward the computer, “I don’t know Mom. Go check your blog.”

Whole pecans in food processor

Seriously?? Even my 3-year-old knows that I can’t do anything without consulting a recipe. This might sound weird coming from a food blogger, but what can I say, the internet just knows too many things for me to want to take the time to guess everything. (It needed salt, btw, and yes, I figured it out ALL BY MYSELF.)

My brother Nathan was totally mocking me the other night because I looked up my own recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, I looked up a recipe for a freaking sandwich, on my own blog. Now granted, they were these awesome Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, but still. You kinda lose some amount of cooking-cred when you have to look up a sandwich recipe. (Maybe it’s the Charlatan coming out in me?) Honestly though, that’s part of what this blog is about: cataloguing recipes I love so I don’t forget them!

Maple Buttercream Frosting

I am in looooove with this frosting. I’ve been experimenting for a couple weeks now and finally got it to optimal awesomeness. I really love the sophisticated touch the pecans add. The nuts are chopped so small that you don’t really feel like you’re eating nuts. There is no nut-crunching necessary, they just melt into the frosting perfectly and add great flavor. This frosting is very sweet without the nuts, so if pecans aren’t your thing you’re crazy just pair it with cookies or cake that is not overly sweet.

Sliced Carrot Cake with maple frosting

How to make Maple Frosting

The first step is to get those delicious pecans all chopped up nice and small. You can do them by hand or in a food processor. I like them small and I like saving time so I drop them in the cuisinart and hit the pulse button until I’m happy. Take a look at the photos to see how small I like them, but you do you!

Chopped pecans in cuisinart

Next you roast up those pecans. Set a frying pan over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir occasionally until they start to smell delicious, or until they barely start to brown. You can let those cool while you start on the buttercream.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter to within an inch of its life. Just kidding, beat it for a couple minutes until it’s high and fluffy. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and maple syrup and keep beating it until well mixed. Add another cup of powdered sugar, the maple extract, and salt until it is all combine.

Lastly, you add those beautiful chopped pecans (they should be fully cooled). Then enjoy! Put them on whatever beautiful baked good you’ve got planned.

Ingredients for Maple Frosting

  • Pecans (toasted, finely chopped)
  • Butter (salted)
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Real Maple Syrup (Grade A)
  • Maple Extract
  • Salt

Here’s the Cinnamon Cardamom Cake that I made to go with this frosting:

Cinnamon Cardamom Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting on cake stand

UPDATE: I also used a variation of this frosting to make Carrot Cake. (I added cream cheese!): Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Pecan Frosting.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Pecan Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Other cakes and frostings to love:

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake:

Blackberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

Strawberry Truffle Cake

S’mores Buttercream Frosting by Wine and Glue

Apple Cider Cupcakes with Nutmeg Frosting from Eat Live Run

Honey Buttercream Frosting from The Cupcake Project

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Maple Pecan Frosting

4.86 from 14 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 24 Servings
This all-butter Maple Pecan Buttercream Frosting is great for any fall cake or cupcake. Maple makes for a very sweet frosting, but the pecans balance it out perfectly!


  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted, finely chopped
  • 1 cup salted butter, 2 sticks
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup, I used Grade A
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  • Chop up the pecans. You can chop them with a knife or in a food processor. See photos to see what level of choppiness we're talking.
  • Set a frying pan over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir occasionally until they start to smell delicious, or until they barely start to brown. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter to within an inch of its life. Just kidding, beat it for a couple minutes until it's high and fluffy.
  • Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and maple syrup. Beat well.
  • Add 1 cup powdered sugar, maple extract, and salt. Beat well.
  • Add the chopped pecans when they are completely cooled and beat it. Try not to eat it all with a spoon.


I've never tried this with fake maple syrup. I'm sure it would work fine! Let me know if you try it out.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 157
Keyword: buttercream frosting, Maple, pecan
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. If making a day or two in advance would it be better to hold off on adding the nuts and beat in in frosting day? 

  2. Excellent! I followed the recipe exactly, frosted a two layer spice cake and put sprinkles of maple sugar and some toasted pecan halves on top. Delicious. Not an ordinary frosting. I love the complementary complex flavors.

  3. This is really really good! Authentic maple syrup adds necessary maple flavour (I didnt have maple extract) and doesnt make the icing too runny or sweet. I had unsalted butter so i added more salt which balances out the flavours.

    1. So glad you loved the frosting J! Great idea using real maple syrup :) Thanks for reviewing!

  4. This frosting is friggin dynamite! I did add a sprinkle of a few spices to the pecans at the end of their toasting: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom & cloves. 

    I paired it with this delicious banana cake recipe, so it tastes a little bit like bananas foster:

    Giving the cake to one of my coworkers tomorrow for her birthday. She’s gonna be so thrilled. 😀
    Thank you for sharing the deliciousness!

    1. Ooh I love the idea of combining this with a banana cake!!! That sounds so good! I love Sally’s recipes, she’s amazing. I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment Kris!

    1. Perfect description Virginia! I’m so glad you liked it. PS, I love you name, I’ve always wanted to name a daughter Virginia :)

  5. This frosting recipe is excellent! Thank you for sharing. I made vanilla cupcakes with this frosting yesterday and haven’t been able to keep my hands out of the cookie jar – uh cupcake holder – ever since. Followed your directions exactly, which would be my advice to anyone reading. Don’t mess up a good thing. Thanks again!

  6. Fantastic! The toasted pecans pair perfectly with the maple syrup and result in a divine buttercram icing. In reference to questions about whether the maple syruo would make it runny, not remotely. If anything it intesifies the creaminess.

  7. Looking at the comments to try and decide whether the maple syrup is necessary or does it make the frosting runny. It appears that not one of the commenters has actually tried the recipe.

    1. Hey Rita! I’ve tried the recipe :) I promise it doesn’t make the frosting runny. But if you want you could add it toward the end in increments to make sure it doesn’t make it runny. Enjoy!

  8. I’m about to try this but I’m not gonna add the maple syrup because I’m making a brownie cake so it’ll be too sweet and I don’t want diabetes on a plate lol. I’ll let you know how it turns out :)

    1. “Diabetes on a plate” lol!! enjoy Fay! that sounds like an awesome cake!! You’re sending me the recipe right :)

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