Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Pecan Pie

Apple, pumpkin, pecan...which is your favorite fall pie? Although I love all three of these, my absolute must have at Thanksgiving is pecan. I am a sucker for the ooey gooey brown sugary center of this pie. It really doesn't get much better than pecan pie as far as I'm concerned. Well except for maybe cupcakes. So I had this brilliant idea to make some pecan pie cupcakes and see how they compare to a slice of good ole pecan pie. You see I've had this recipe for a 3-layer Pecan Pie Cake in my recipe binder for the past few years now. Every fall I put it on my "must make" list and somehow it has yet to happen. I think the recipe is from an older issue of Southern Living magazine. So this year I was determined to try this cake in one way or another so I decided, let's try it as cupcakes.

I will just come right out and tell you I have some mixed feelings about how this recipe turned out. I think the cake part is excellent. It's moist and there's a pecan in every bite, can't complain about that. It's the Pecan Pie topping where things got a little weird. I'm not quite sure what to make of the consistency that I ended up with. I followed the recipe for the most part, although I did cut the ingredients in half because I didn't need a big batch of cupcakes and then I substituted light brown sugar and light corn syrup instead of the dark brown that was called for in the recipe. I heated the mixture, and whisked constantly, but wasn't really sure what the end result was suppose to look like. Unfortunately I did not have a picture of the final cake to go buy which would have been helpful. This topping required chilling as well. So I put the mixture into the fridge and came back 4 hours later hoping for the best. What I ended up with was a brown congealed glob that was no where near spreadable. So I let the mixture come to room temperature for a while and then came back to spread on top of the cupcakes. The mixture was still not easily spreadable but I made the most of it. Afterall, I wasn't going to let a perfectly good batch of cupcakes go to waste.

After spreading the icing on to the best of my abilities, I was left with a not too appetizing looking cupcake. I needed to do something quick to make it some what appealing...enter my friend Mr. Turkey! Oh yes, my turkey cookie cutter came to the rescue as I decided to bring in a traditional "pie" element and top each cupcake with a piece of baked pie crust in the shape of a turkey. Thank you Mr. Turkey for saving this batch of cupcakes, you sure are cute sitting up on top!

Pecan Pie Cupcakes (makes 12, adapted from Southern Living Magazine)

-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
-3 eggs, separated
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, gradually add sugar and beat well.
  • Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  • Combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Stir in 1 cup of pecans.
  • Beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form and fold into batter.
  • Pour batter into prepared liners about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cupcakes cool on wire rack.
  • Frost with Pecan Pie Topping. Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
Pecan Pie Topping

-1/4 cup light brown sugar
-1/2 cup light corn syrup
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-2 egg yolks
-3/4 cup half and half
-1/8 tsp salt
-2 Tbsp unsalted butter
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Whisk together first 6 ingredients in saucepan until smooth.
  • Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and boil 1 minute or until thickened.
  • Remove from heat, whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
  • Place a sheet of wax paper directly on surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and chill 4 hours.
  • Remove topping from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting cupcakes.
Turkey Pastry Garnish

-1 refrigerated pie crust
-granulated sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out pie crust on lightly floured surface.
  • Cut out 12 turkeys using cookie cutters.
  • Lightly sprinkle some granulated sugar on each turkey cut out.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Place turkey garnish on top of cupcakes, by placing a toothpick behind them to allow them to stand up straight.
Have any of you ever made Pecan Pie cupcakes? If so how did they turn out, please share the recipe with me, I'm in need of a better one! Or have you tried to make this Pecan Pie Cake from Southern Living...what did you think of the Pecan Pie filling portion of the recipe...did it work for you, was it spreadable? Any suggestions, send them my way, I need to give these another try!

Although these cupcakes tasted good, the topping was just a little strange, I think a good ole pie of pecan pie comes out on top today!


  1. Fantastic presentation. The cake itself sounds amazing.

  2. Very cute idea with the turkey crust! SO cute :)

  3. I'm madly in love with pecans! such a pity they're impossible to find here in Italy! love your cupcakes!

  4. these look so yummy! beautiful presentation.:)

  5. These are so cute Lauren! My husbands favorite pie is pecan pie so I'm sure these would be a hit in my house. Do you think you would make them again even with the issues you had with the topping? Love the turkey on top of these by the way...too cute!

  6. I've made the Pecan Pie Cake before, and am trying today to adapt it as cupcakes. The "topping" is really a filling that is similar to a pastry cream, so I plan to fill the cupcakes with the filling rather than use it in place of frosting.


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