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A marble cake stand with a wooden base is topped with pecan cupcakes

Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 28-30 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes


These Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes are buttermilk cupcakes with a hint of brown sugar and are filled with toasted pecans. The brown sugar maple frosting is the perfect topping for these cupcakes.


For the cupcake

  • 1 cup (120g) pecans, toasted
  • 1 ¾ cups (238g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (59g) light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup (118ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (60g) light sour cream
  • 2 cups (280g) all purpose-flour
  • 2 teaspoons (7.5g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (296ml) buttermilk

For the frosting

  • 4 sticks (453g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 8 cups (1041g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon (30ml) maple syrup
  • 23 tablespoons (30-44ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • Additional pecans for garnish (optional)


For the cupcakes: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes, longer if the oven is not fully preheated. Cool the pecans and then chop into fine pieces.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients. Then, add half the dry ingredients to the batter followed half the buttermilk and beat until it starts to combine.
  6. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the buttermilk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  7. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed. Add the chopped pecans and fold into the cupcake batter.
  8. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.

For the frosting:

  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until butter look light in color.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and heavy cream. Beat on low until ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting. If the frosting is too thick, add an additional tablespoon of heavy cream and continuing beating until fluffy.
  5. Frost the cooled cupcakes using a large open star tip and garnish with leftover crushed pecans. Store in an airtight container.