These Maple Walnut Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting are the perfect combination of a moist vanilla cupcake infused with real maple syrup and buttery walnuts. The brown butter frosting adds to the overall nutty finish of these cupcakes.
There’s a combination of white and light brown sugar in this recipe. The brown sugar helps bring out the subtle maple and caramelized flavors in these cupcakes.
For the frosting, it’s a whipped brown butter frosting. This frosting is pretty much AH-mazing. The brown butter adds an element of flavor with a nutty finish and a hint of maple syrup. It really complements these cupcakes well.
If you’re not comfortable making brown butter frosting, let me walk you through the steps. It’s much easier than you think!
How to make brown butter frosting:
- Start by making the brown butter. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. It’s helpful to cut it up before you melt it.
- Once it’s starts boiling, stir frequently and after it’s been boiling for a couple minutes, you’ll notice some brown specs in the bottom of your bowl. That’s the milk solids and butter fat.
- The butter will slowly start to turn an amber color and releases a nutty aroma. You can determine how much amber (or browning) you’d like, the darker the color, the richer the flavor. However, it can go from brown to burned rather quickly, so once the browning process starts, keep a really close eye on it and stir constantly.
- Remove the butter from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Sometimes I throw it in the fridge if I need to speed up the process, but you do NOT want it to turn back to a solid. It should be cooled enough that it won’t further melt anything it comes in contact with. So, if it’s just warm to the touch, that’s okay.
- Before adding the brown butter to your frosting, you want to make sure it already has a solid, whipped foundation of butter and powdered sugar. The brown butter is one of the last things I add.
- If you feel like your frosting is not stiff enough, you can add one additional cup of powdered sugar.
- This frosting is best when it’s served right away when it is whipped and soft. As this frosting sets, it will become slightly firmer and it will “crust” over. This happens because the brown butter stiffens the frosting as it sets, since it’s added in a liquid form.
Maple Walnut Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
- 30 minutes
- 14 minutes
- 14 cupcakes
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 14 whole walnuts for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, vegetable oil, eggs, sour cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients and the milk and continuing beating until the flour is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the chopped walnuts and stir to combine.
- Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350°F for 14-15 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.
- 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 starts boiling, stir it frequently and it will slowly start to turn an amber color and release a nutty aroma. Remove the butter from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
- Cut the remaining cold butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until the butter looks light in color.
- Add 2 cups powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated into the butter.
- Next, add the remaining powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and cooled brown butter into the frosting and beat it into the butter until the frosting is completely smooth. Then beat it at a high speed for 1 minute to whip some additional air into the frosting.
- Pipe the cupcakes using a large open star tip and top with a walnut. These are best served fresh. The frosting will firm up the longer it sets.