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Brown Sugar-Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

  • Author: Bon Appetit
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x


Crunchy and light pecan cupcakes are topped with a decadent, creamy frosting


Units Scale


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (I used whole milk)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. For the cupcakes, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and chopped pecans in a medium bowl.
  3. In another bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and cream again until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully mixed in. Add sour cream and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated - Do not over mix!
  4. Divide batter into 12 cupcake liners. Bake 20 minutes of until cake tester comes out clean.
  5. For the frosting, begin by making the caramel in a small sauce pan. Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook, while swirling and scraping down sides of the pan, until deep golden brown. Remove from heat, add cream (it will bubble), and the return to low heat and stir until caramel is melted into the cream.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the two egg yolks together before slowly adding the caramel mixture while beating. Let this mixture cool completely.
  7. In another bowl, cream the butter and salt until smooth. Add the cooled caramel mixture and continue mixing. Add in sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth and at the desired consistency. Let the frosting cool completely (1 hour), then frost cooled cupcakes and adorn with chopped pecans.


  • The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup cake flour and 1 cup all purpose flour - I used 1 cup all purpose and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and had a delightful turnout.
  • To toast pecans: toss 2 cups of pecans with 1/4 cup melted butter, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 350 F for 7 minutes. Allow to cool before using.
  • This frosting is not really stiff - don't expect to sculpt a masterpiece from it; however, I think it is better this way due to the sweetness. You won't want 1/2 cup of frosting on each cupcake! Also, make sure you allow the frosting to cool for at least an hour before using it to frost with.