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Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Celebrate fall in the best way possible – by whipping up a batch of these Maple Pecan Cupcakes! They’re topped with a creamy brown butter pecan frosting for the ultimate autumn treat.

A maple pecan cupcake balancing between the divots of a cupcake tin with a bunch of whole pecans beside it

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The Best Homemade Cupcakes for Fall

This recipe is sponsored by, all opinions are my own.

As the nights get cooler, and it takes longer to warm up during the day, I am reminded with how much I love fall. I think about turning on my oven, mixing up some cake batter and waiting for my house to fill with smell of toasted nuts, cinnamon and brown butter. These flavors make for the perfect cupcake.

A six-count muffin tin containing some frosted pecan cupcakes as well as some whole pecans

These Maple Pecan Cupcakes are a spiced maple cake with toasted pecans and a brown butter pecan frosting. I think it should be a requirement that all frosting has brown butter in it from now on.

This recipe starts with a cake mix, but it’s what inside that makes it special. I’ve added cinnamon & nutmeg, some light brown sugar, Greek yogurt, maple syrup and toasted pecans. I lightly toasted the pecans while the oven was preheating and then chopped them up and threw them in the batter. There’s no shame in using a cake mix, because you can definitely make it your own.

Cupcakes and pecans scattered about a dining room table with a bag of pecans from in the background

The frosting for this recipe start with a similar frosting I used on my Salted Caramel Butterscotch Cake. Then I saw this maple pecan frosting and I knew a combination of the two would be just perfect. In fact, the same coworker who went gaga for that cake took the last 4 cupcakes back to his desk to enjoy the following day. I can’t argue with that!

For the frosting, you’ve got a brown butter base-frosting recipe and it’s loaded with toasted pecans, a hint of bourbon and some maple syrup. The bourbon is optional, and I would suggest substituting with heavy whipping cream instead.

Three maple pecan cupcakes on top of a red and white cloth napkin and a metal muffin tin

Tips & Tricks for Cupcake Perfection

The secret to using the brown butter in the frosting is to brown it first (while your other butter is softening) and then allow it to cool. First you need to build the base of the frosting with the softened butter and powdered sugar and get it nice and thick before you add the liquid browned butter.

Since this is a chunky frosting, I opted to use a cookie scoop to put the frosting on top of the cupcake and garnished it with a pecan. I’m obsessed with the way the scoop of frosting looks on top.

A frosted maple pecan cupcake with a large bite taken out to reveal the light and fluffy interior

I got a gorgeous bag of pecans from my friends over at I first heard about when I was looking for bulk sprinkles. You guys have no idea how many sprinkles I go through in a year! It’s too expensive to buy the smaller jars in the baking aisle, so I sought out somewhere to buy bulk sprinkles.

When asked to stock my pantry I was more than excited about it. I got to pick out a few of my favorite things and some fun surprises as well. I go through quite a bit of baking items in my house, especially when I was writing my cookbook.

So I opted for items such as graham cracker crumbs, pecans (duh), walnuts & toasted coconut. I also received some mini nonpareils and salted caramel covered pretzels (cookies coming soon!).

You guys, those pretzels did not last long! Plus I got a large bag of sprinkles and my day was absolutely made. 

A variety of nuts in brightly colored green, orange, blue and yellow packages

Coming up in October is our annual cookout at the pumpkin patch. I, of course, always make desserts and usually bring some fall-themed cupcakes. These babies might just make it into the lineup this year!

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A maple pecan cupcake balancing between the divots of a cupcake tin with a bunch of whole pecans beside it

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

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  • Author: Julianne
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 20
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Celebrate fall in the best way possible – by whipping up a batch of these Maple Pecan Cupcakes! They’re topped with a creamy brown butter pecan frosting for the ultimate autumn treat.


For the Maple Pecan Cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Greek yogurt vanilla or plain (5.3 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

For the Brown Butter Pecan Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, browned
  • 67 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or heavy cream)
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Additional pecans for garnish


Make the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. While the oven is preheating, toast the pecan. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for up to 10 minutes, until you start to smell the pecans. Set them aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients: cake mix, eggs, milk, oil, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla extract, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix all the ingredients together until it’s well combined.
  4. Take ½ cup of the toasted pecans and coarsely chop them with a sharp knife. Fold the pecans into the cupcake butter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between cupcake liners, about 3 tablespoons for each cupcake.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes, baking times will vary by oven. Check the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

  1. Remove 3 sticks of butter of the refrigerator, one stick will be browned and the other 2 will be left to soften.
  2. To brown the butter, use a small saucepan, and cut the butter into pieces. Melt the butter over medium heat and allow it to boil and bubble. Once it’s stops boiling, stir it frequently and it slowly starts to turn an amber color and releases a nutty aroma. Remove the butter from the heat and allow it to cool.
  3. Cut the remaining butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until butter looks light in color.
  4. Add 4 cups powdered sugar, one cup at a time and mix on low speed until incorporated into butter. Add the maple syrup and bourbon and continuing beating.
  5. Next , add 1 cups of powdered sugar and slowly pour the cooled brown butter into the frosting and beat it into the butter until the frosting is completely smooth.
  6. Add the last cup of powdered sugar and a pinch of salt and beat on low speed until the cream is incorporated. Then beat it at a high speed for 1 minute to whip some additional air into the frosting.
  7. Take the remaining toasted pecans and finely chop them with a nut grinder or a sharp knife. Add the pecans to the frosting and mix them until they are incorporated.
  8. Take a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons size) and scoop the frosting onto the cupcakes. Place a whole pecan on top.


Makes 20-22 cupcakes.

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More Festive Fall Treats to Make

A collage of two images of maple pecan cupcakes with brown butter pecan frosting on top

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15 comments on “Maple Pecan Cupcakes”

  1. Going to try these, but hopefully I’ll be successful subbing a home-made box mix recipe I found instead. I hate using box mixes and prefer it all to be from scratch.