Jump to Recipe

Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes

Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes are buttermilk cupcakes with a hint of brown sugar that are filled with toasted pecans. The brown sugar maple frosting is the perfect topping! Whether you’re celebrating the holidays, a birthday or another special occasion, Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes are one of the best decadent cupcakes you can share with your family and friends.

Whether you’re a new baker or an experienced baker, cupcakes always bring joy and can be much less intimidating than cake.

I like to try and keep my recipes simple so that anyone can make them. I’ve even included a video of this recipe so you can see how to do it step-by-step.

You’ll love the toasted pecans in these light and fluffy buttermilk cupcakes. Also, the creamy brown sugar maple frosting pairs so perfectly with the buttery pecans in the cupcake.

You can add buttermilk to pretty much everything! This classic ingredient enhances just about any baked good from breakfast to dessert. A slightly acidic batter helps keep baked goods moist and tender. Sour cream keeps these cupcakes super moist; it really makes the crumb so nice and tender.

Tips to Make the Brown Sugar Maple Frosting:

  • Most of my frosting recipes start with COLD butter. There’s a theory behind it. It’s better for piping and allows you to control the consistency of the frosting. You can read more about how I make buttercream frosting if you want details.
  • Once you’ve beaten the butter for several minutes and it’s fluffy and whipped, start adding the powdered sugar. I add 2-3 cups at a time and alternate it with the liquid ingredients to prevent it from getting too thick.
  • The liquid ingredients are vanilla extract, maple syrup and heavy cream. Heavy cream can also be substituted for milk. The heavy cream makes this frosting super fluffy.
  • The key to making a whipped frosting is to ensure you’re beating the frosting at the various stages, before adding any of the powdered sugar and then again after each addition of powdered sugar.

If you love cupcakes as much as I do, then try my Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes and Maple Walnut Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting, too.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes

Photo of Brown Sugar Pecan Cupcakes
  • 15 min
  • 15 min
  • 30 min
  • 28-30 cupcakes


For the Cupcakes:
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 cups all purpose-flour
2 teaspoons baking  powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

For the Frosting:
4 sticks unsalted butter
8 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon
Additional pecans for garnish


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. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *