These cupcakes jumped to the front of the line because if I don’t share them with you, I will positively burst with excitement!
I’d like to say these cupcakes are all about the brown sugar toasted pecan crumble because it is heavenly, but that would be doing a huge injustice to the soft, perfectly spiced pumpkin cake, pecan pie filling and brown sugar bourbon frosting!
I got a little out of control with these Pumpkin Pecan Pie Cupcakes, so let me break it down:
A soft, moist, buttermilk pumpkin cake is lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace and ginger; Topped with a brown sugar toasted pecan crumble prior to baking; Filled with a pecan pie filling; And frosted with a creamy brown sugar bourbon cream cheese frosting!
It sounds like there is a lot going on but all the flavors come together perfectly into a sweet, brown sugar pumpkin dessert!
This pumpkin spice cake absolutely melts in your mouth: Soft and delicate but not too fluffy! The perfect balance of pumpkin and spice.
The smooth, creamy cream cheese frosting contrasts beautifully with a little crunch from the crumble topping and toasted pecans.
It’s like a pumpkin, brown sugar pecan dream that you never want to end.
I could bring myself to give them all away. I just couldn’t. The additional punishing hours on the treadmill will totally be worth it.
A soft, moist pumpkin cake is lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace and ginger; topped with a brown sugar toasted pecan crumble prior to baking; filled with a pecan pie filling; and frosted with a brown sugar bourbon cream cheese frosting!
For the Cupcakes:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon (slightly rounded)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/8 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted*
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2/3 cup buttermilk
For the Crumble:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
For the Pecan Pie Filling:
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans
For the Bourbon Brown Sugar Frosting:
½ cup unsalted butter, cold
8 ounces cream cheese (not whipped, not light, and the best you can find)
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons Bourbon (to taste)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Make the Crumble:
Stir the vanilla into the melted butter. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir with a fork until all the ingredients are equally moistened. They should hold together and then break into crumbles when squeezed in your hand. If it is still too dry you can add melted butter 1 teaspoon at a time, but be careful not to make it too moist or it will be greasy and not crunchy/soft like it should be.
Also note that if you chop your pecans too big, they will impede the crumbles from forming.
Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 14 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners. I use two standard paper liners per cupcake.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and all spices; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat sugars and melted butter together with a hand mixer until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla after the last egg.
Add the pumpkin and mix on medium until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
Alternately add flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. I add a third of the flour then half of the buttermilk and repeat. Fold the last flour addition in by hand to avoid over mixing.
Scoop into prepared tins, filling almost to the top of the cup. Add some crumble to the top of each cupcake. Bake in preheated oven 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few clinging crumbs. Mine took 18 minutes.
Remove immediately from muffin tins to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Pecan Pie Filling:
Mix all pecan pie filling ingredients together and cook in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for a minute. Remove from heat and cool. If you continue to cook the filling, it will continue to thicken up. I got distracted and so mine boiled about 3 minutes before I took it off the heat.
Make the Frosting:
Cream together cream cheese, butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add the bourbon to taste and then add the powdered sugar and cornstarch, mixing well with a hand mixer. To further thicken the frosting, add more powdered sugar. This will obviously alter the taste if you add a lot more sugar. You can also refrigerate the frosting to thicken it a little as well. I did not refrigerate nor did I add any additional powdered sugar to mine before I piped it.
Assemble the Cupcakes:
Once cupcakes are cool, cut a hole in the center of each cupcake with a pairing knife. Remove the cut-away piece and cut the bottom off, leaving some cake and the crumble; eat the cut off cake for quality control; place a dollop of the pecan pie filling in the center of each cake; and replace the crumble coated center piece, pressing down slightly. The centers will be slightly elevated, but this doesn’t matter because you are going to frost them!
Frost with your favorite piping tip! There will be more frosting than you need for all the cupcakes. I’m sure you’ll figure out something to do with the remaining 1/3 cup!
*Melting Butter: I melt my butter in the microwave in 10 second intervals on 50% power until almost all the butter has melted. At this point I remove it from the microwave and stir or swirl the bowl until all the butter has melted. I do not like when the cream separates from the butter.
Sifting: If your powdered sugar is lumpy, feel free to sift the powdered sugar and cornstarch into the frosting before beating. I did not do this and I was right in the world, but your sugar may need a good sift.