pumpkin brown butter cupcakes

If you're a baker, you've probably already tried a pumpkin recipe this fall. Maybe a loaf or two of bread? Whoopie pies with cream cheese filling? Perhaps a pie?

May I suggest to you another baked good to add to your arsenal of autumn sweets? These cupcakes, I admit, have the texture more akin to bread or a muffin, but there is an ingredient that makes this oh-so-special and worth a try.

Browned butter. You use it not just in the cake, but also in the icing. Lick the bowl, good to the last drop, positively, delectably delicious. And oh, the aroma! The nutty, rich smell of the butter...

The flecks of milk solids are turning golden at the bottom of the skillet.

You can see some of the flecks in the batter.

Vanilla is used in the frosting, along with browned butter,
confectioner's sugar, and a smidgen of milk.

Even without the icing, the cupcake/muffin is pretty darn good.

With the icing, however, the cupcake is divine.

Thanks to Monica of My Cupcake Journey for choosing the wonderful recipe. I baked this with a bunch of bloggers who are baking through Martha Stewart's Cupcakes- you can join in on the fun too if you'd like!

Tastewise, I felt it was little flat. I would add at least a quarter teaspoon each of ground ginger and cardamom to the spices. Also, I didn't use sage in the recipe. I didn't want that herbal note with my pumpkin cake.

Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Brown-Butter Icing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Brush standard muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a sauce pan, 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.

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.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers 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.

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

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

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.

This post is linked to Chic and Crafty


  1. Rebecca, you are Johnny on the Spot! I'll get that link up ASAP! Thanks for baking! And yes, considering I just dissed butter, It's the star in this one! :-)

  2. is this the recipe with the sage?

  3. Yummy!! I think I'll give these a try! You have a very tasty blog- makes me wish I were a better baker!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a sweet comment! I'm going to subscribe to your blog and live vicariously through your kitchen (if you don't mind me drooling over your pics) :)

  4. @ mlpk, yes there's sage, though i omitted it- i suppose i should have posted on that! thanks for reminder :)

    @emily, hope they work for you- the icing is great for a variety of breads!

  5. Thanks for following along! I loved these lil cuppies!


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