Maple and pecan is one of my absolute favourite flavour combinations, so when I saw these maple & pecan cupcakes in the Primrose Bakery Book I knew I had to try them. Especially now that Autumn is in full swing, it seemed like the perfect cupcake to enjoy with a mug of tea in front of the fire.
These cupcakes are a breeze to make, without even the need for an electric whisk! I made these completely by hand and the sponge was light and moist and the frosting super smooth. The caramelised pecans may be the only hurdle, as even experienced bakers can have trouble when sugar has a mind of its own!
For these cupcakes I actually made the caramel twice, as I kept the first batch on the heat slightly too long and it seized. But with caramel perseverance is key – and watching your pan like a hawk! You want to keep it on the heat just until all the sugar is dissolved and its a light golden brown colour. The caramel will harden quickly, so you’ll need to have your pecans already prepared on baking paper, to aid the pouring process.
The sponge begins with the creaming method, followed by the addition of maple syrup and then the eggs. At this point the mixture is unsurprisingly very wet and therefore can look a little curdled. But never fear, as once the flour has been folded in the whole mixture is beaten well until its a smooth consistency.
The mixture makes the perfect amount for 10 American sized cupcakes – muffins to us English folk – and the frosting recipe makes enough for a generous heap on each! The chopped walnuts in the sponge, coupled with the smooth maple frosting and crunchy caramel decoration makes for an excellent combination in these maple & pecan cupcakes!
Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and line a muffin tray with 10 muffin cases.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until its pale and smooth. Then add the maple syrup, beating well and then the two eggs, beating between each addition.
Using a spoon, fold the flour into the batter and beat well, then fold in the nuts.
Fill each muffin case around 2/3 full, and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and they are golden brown. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst they are cooling, make the caramelised pecans by putting the caster sugar into a heavy-bottomed pan. Melt the sugar on a low-heat until completely dissolved and its a pale golden brown colour. Whilst the sugar is melting, spread the pecans onto a sheet of baking paper, then working quickly pour the melted sugar over the nuts covering them completely. Once the caramel has hardened and cooled completely, break into 10 pieces and set aside.
To make the frosting, beat the butter, maple syrup and half of the icing sugar together until smooth. Due to the syrup this will take a little longer than normal. Then, gradually add the remaining icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
Using a piping bag and nozzle pipe the frosting onto each cupcake and top with a caramelised pecan.