Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes

I’ve been on a slight caramel binge lately. It seems as though recently caramel has been calling my name. I’ve grown to adore the complex sweetness caramel offers, not to mention how well it pairs with nearly any dessert. What caramel does for nuts is nothing short of miraculous, nuts + caramel = happiness. 

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it, simply because it looked like such a cute idea. I was so serious about making these cupcakes that I even bought jumbo-sized muffin tins (any excuse to buy kitchen items). And believe me, you’re going to want a jumbo sized cupcake so you can chow down on all that sticky, sweet, crunchy goodness. 

As a note, I didn’t bother to cut the waxed paper circles like the recipe instructs (too lazy). So I just used jumbo sized paper liners. It didn’t go great… the liners stuck to the sticky pecan bottoms (go figure) but I was able to salvage the cupcakes. If you want neat, take the time to make the paper circles. 

Thanks to Oh Nuts for providing the pecans I used in this recipe!

Recipe Rundown

Taste: A deep, caramel, sweetness paired with the nutty pecans and slightly tangy cake. 
Texture: The cake is moist in the middle, firm around the edges. The sticky pecan topping is exactly that – sticky and crunchy.    
Ease: These were actually easier to make than I thought they’d be.
Pros: A cute, miniaturized version of the classic dessert.
Cons: None really.
Would I make this again? Yes, these would be great for entertaining – everyone would get their own little cake.

Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcakes!
Makes 12 extra-large cupcakes


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 12 waxed paper circles that fit the bottom of extra-large muffin tin cups. Line 12 extra-large muffin tin cups with the paper circles. Spray the inside of each opening and the paper circles with nonstick cooking spray.

For the topping:
Heat the butter, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter and brown sugar melt and the mixture is smooth. Take off heat and put 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar mixture into the bottom of each waxed paper-lined cup. Spoon 2 tablespoons of pecans on top. Set aside.

For the cupcakes:
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Fill prepared cups with a generous 1/3 cup of batter on top of brown sugar and pecans, to just below the top of each pan.

Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted into the upper cupcake batter comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 2 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Use a small knife to loosen the cupcakes from the sides of the pan. Carefully place the wire wrack on top of the cupcakes in their pan. Using oven mitts or a pot holder, invert the pan and rack to release the cupcakes onto the wire rack so the pecan bottom is facing up. Remove the paper circles. If any pecans should stick, replace them on the cupcakes. Let cool completely. Serve, pecan side up, warm or at room temperature. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Get my *Favorite Desserts* e-cookbook for free!

Don't miss a recipe! Sign up to get new posts delivered via email and receive a FREE E-COOKBOOK!

8 Responses to “Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes”

  1. #
    Blog New Black — April 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    OMG, my fiance would LOVE these! Awesomeness.

  2. #
    natalie — April 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    thanks for the tip about cutting out the circles–I totally would've gone for the shortcut too!

  3. #
    Maris — April 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    These are fantastic. My brother loves pecan pie and I am sure he would love this also!

  4. #
    Tessa — April 23, 2011 at 2:08 am

    I am a caramel fan too. Add it to almost anything, and I'm game. Love these little cakes!

  5. #
    skylar — April 23, 2011 at 3:24 am

    oh man i have been going nuts over caramel too lately!! I don't know what it is, but it seems i cant get enough of it! caramel + nuts = amaaazing!!

  6. #
    Mary — April 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Oh, dear my. My thighs are in trouble. Hope to make these today. Mmmm

  7. #
    zizi — June 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    this cup cake is soooooooooooooo addictive. It is amazing. the first time i made it they came out perfect. I would warm however, this is not an everyday food item as it is not meant to be a healthy option. With that said, if you want people to compliment your baking skills, i highly recommend this recipe.

  8. #
    zizi — June 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Oh btw, DO NOT USE ANY GLAZED PECANS as these will stick to the wax paper. use plain pecans. they will come out amazing still.

Leave a Comment