Remember back around Halloween when I made healthy Pumpkin Pie Muffins? This recipe for Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes wins. I don’t care how much sugar or butter this recipe calls for, its worth it. There is something so wonderful about this combination of flavors and textures: the creamy yet nutty, almost smokiness of the icing and the soft, tender, warm sweetness of the cupcake itself. As I’m typing this I’m glad I saved some of these cupcakes in the freezer because I already want to make another batch!
Taste: Comforting depth of fall flavors
Texture: Soft, moist
Ease: Clear instructions, no special equipment or hard to find ingredients. Browning the butter is probably the most difficult part.
Appearance: Its a cupcake, so of course its going to be cute!
Expense: Little, the only thing I had to go out and buy was pumpkin puree and more butter
Pros: The cupcakes can be frozen so if you don’t feel like making 15, freeze half and half the icing recipe
Cons: The cupcakes don’t last long once iced, the icing turns hard
Would I make this again? Yes!
Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes
From Martha Stewart Cupcakes, Makes 15
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
- 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (optional)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Brown Butter Icing (Recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Brush standard muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage, if desired, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
4. To finish, dip top of each cupcake in icing, then turn over quickly and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed, keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Brown Butter Icing
Makes 1 cup
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into bowl, leaving behind any burned sediment.
2. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to brown butter, stir until smooth. If necessary, add more milk (up to 2 tablespoons) a little at a time, just until icing is spreadable. Use immediately.