Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
So today I am sneaking in one last treat before Halloween. I know these aren’t spooky or anything like that, but they are so perfect for the fall and just too good to wait any longer to share.
As much as I like baking and trying new flavors of cupcakes, I usually tend to prefer the basics when it comes to actually eating these treats – my favorites being vanilla bean and red velvet. So while I figured these would be good, I wasn’t expecting to love them. But boy was I wrong.
Let’s start with the cupcake base. Filled with plenty of pumpkin puree that keeps them nice and moist, they are also packed with a generous helping of fall spices, cinnamon chips for little bursts of goodness and then of course the brown butter. Which takes these to a whole different level – giving them a sort of nutty quality as well. The base is so good that I would be more than happy to just eat them alone. Which says a lot.
And then there’s the frosting, with a hint of cinnamon and packed full of maple flavor. Combined with the base it’s almost like you are eating an awesome pumpkin pancake. And yet I feel like that description doesn’t even do these justice.
Fall in cupcake form. That’s what we have right here. Now excuse me while I go have some apple cider, make some more of these cupcakes and frolic in the gorgeous colorful leaves. And maybe we’ll throw in some pumpkin picking for good measure.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup cinnamon chips
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon maple flavor
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- few tablespoons milk, if needed
- sugared pecans
- sparkling or coarse sugar, optional
- To make the cupcakes - preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.
- Cut the butter into chunks and add to a medium skillet. Let the butter melt over medium heat and then continue to cook, whisking frequently, until it begins to brown (this takes several minutes). You should see brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once you see those bits, turn off the heat and continue to whisk constantly for about 30 seconds, until the butter is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the butter - those bits can turn black quickly. Pour the butter into a bowl and let cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and cooled butter until well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Add in the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Gently fold in the cinnamon chips.
- Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about ⅔ of the way full. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, rotating the pans once during baking if needed. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting - add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until well combined. Add in the salt, cinnamon, vanilla, maple flavor and maple syrup. Beat on low until incorporated and then increase the speed to high and beat for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. If you need to thin out your frosting, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Add more sifted confectioners’ sugar to thicken your frosting. Pipe or spread on the cooled cupcakes as desired.
- Garnish each cupcake with a sugared pecan and sprinkle with some sparkling sugar.
Cupcake base adapted from Martha Stewart. Frosting tweaked slightly from the maple frosting I used on these pumpkin cookies.