Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

by Friday, September 23, 2011 Permalink 0

Welcome autumn. I love you and I am happy that you are finally here. I’m so ready for warm woolen sweaters, rainy nights gathered around the fire, braised anything and lots and lots of pumpkin stuff – pies, cakes and of course my favorite – Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL’s, for those in the know).

So, with today being the first day of fall (well, really it’s the autumnal equinox – for those of you who are nerds like me) it’s time to celebrate! I have been waiting for this day since August and I wanted to do something special.  That’s when I came across the Martha Stewart recipe for Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes in her latest cupcake book. I immediately had two thoughts – 1) how did I miss this recipe and 2) I have to share them with you on this special day.

First up, anything with the classic spices of cinnamon, clove and fresh nutmeg is automatically amazing. The sage is such a welcome addition as it adds the most rich, complex flavor to the cupcakes topped off by the most addicting sweet, salty, nutty Brown Butter Icing.

Words really cannot convey how delicious these are. You have to make these. Like, today. I’m not kidding.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes

Here is the start of the cupcake batter. Pumpkin, the sugars and of course the brown butter with sage.

It’s definitely the time of year for sage so I planted mine a few months ago. I find that planting herbs really encourages me to use them in my cooking and its super cost effective- a whole plant costs a few dollars more than what you would pay for a few sprigs of something at the market.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes

The flour has just been mixed in and its starting to come together.


brown butter pumpkin cupcakes

Hot out of the oven.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes

Make sure you butter your muffin tins really well so that you can get them out easily.


brown butter pumpkin cupcakes

So, I don’t know what happened to the pictures of the Brown Butter Icing process. I think the delicious fragrance that was coming out of the oven caused me to forget everything that I was doing, including taking pictures.

Forgive me. I’ll do better next time. I promise.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes

These are incredibly moist little cupcakes with the right amount of spice and sweetness. I hope you get to make these very soon, they don’t disappoint.

Also, if you haven’t already you should pick up the Martha Stewart Cupcake cookbook – its amazing. So many great ideas.


much love!



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.




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