Filed Under: Cakes & Cupcakes

Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes

Recipe By Tessa Arias
April 22nd, 2011

Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes have a flavorful deep caramel sweetness plus a crunch from the nuts! YUM.

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Tessa's 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.

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 from!



How to make
Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Cupcakes have a flavorful deep caramel sweetness plus a crunch from the nuts! YUM.


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


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12 extra large muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms of the muffin cups with rounds of wax paper or foil cut to fit only the bottoms of the cups; spray. Stir together the butter, honey and brown sugar over medium heat in a saucepan for about 2 minutes or until smooth; remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl for about 2 minutes with a mixer on medium speed until the mixture thickens and turns a pale color. Add the oil, vanilla, and sour cream and beat on low speed; adding the flour mixture a little at a time until a smooth batter has developed.
  3. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoon of the butter, honey and brown sugar mixture into the bottom of the muffin cups. Add 2 tablespoons of the chopped pecans to the muffin cups. Top the pecans with a generous 1/3 cup of the batter.
  4. Place a foil lined cookie sheet under the muffin pans to catch drips and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool 2 minutes in the pans on a wire rack. Loosen the cupcakes from the sides of the pan with a small knife. Place the rack on top of the cupcakes and holding pan and rack together, invert the cupcakes onto the rack. Remove paper circles. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

From Food
Course: Dessert

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  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.

  9. #
    BERNARD SANDNER — May 19, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Dear Tessa, Is there any way to make these with less oil?

  10. #
    Gale — July 31, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    I was wondering if I could add chopped apples to these sticky buns? Please send me the answer to my email address? Thank you


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