Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

Hello friends, today I will teach you how to make a delicious Fall dessert recipe. These Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes are rich, and the ultimate cozy cupcake of the season. The brown butter in the frosting and in the cupcake batter adds a deep nutty flavor to the cupcakes.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes with caramel on top and an oreo.

Making the pumpkin caramel sauce for the top of the cupcakes is optional but I highly recommend it, as it takes the cupcakes to the next level.

Plus it’s super easy to make!

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cupcake cup in half showing the middle of the cupcake with an oreo on the bottom.

Another totally optional part about these cupcakes is adding the Oreo to the bottom of the cupcake tin. I was shopping for the ingredients to make the Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes at the store, and I saw these pumpkin spice Oreos, so I knew I had to incorporate them into the cupcakes.

Just place an Oreo cookie inside the cupcake tin before adding the batter on top.

placing oreos on cupcake pans, and top the oreos with pumpkin cupcake batter.

If you don’t want to add the Oreo simply skip this step and bake the cupcake batter normally.

I am using brown butter to make the pumpkin cupcake batter.

You don’t want to cook the butter to long, just enough to reduce it to about 1/2 cup. If you do reduce the butter to less than 1/2 cup, make sure to add more butter to compliment it. You could also add oil if you don’t want to make more brown butter and wait for it to cool down.

making brown butter.

You will make brown butter for the cupcakes and also for the frosting, so you can go ahead and just make all the brown butter at once if you want to. And remove 1/2 cup to make the cupcakes before it solidifies.

Also make sure the brown butter is completely cooled down before making the cupcakes.

If you don’t want to use brown butter in the cupcake batter, you can sub for 1/2 cup of oil or 1/2 cup of softened butter.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes with caramel on top and an oreo.

When making the frosting, make sure to let the brown butter cool down all the way. I also like to place it in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes so it can solidify a bit, making the frosting firmer. If the butter is too liquidy, it might make the frosting runny.

making brown butter pumpkin frosting.

You will need both brown butter, and also regular unsalted softened butter to make the frosting, this is because using just the brown butter won’t work too well for the consistency of the frosting.

frosting cupcakes with brown butter frosting and adding caramel sauce on top.

How to make cupcakes with brown butter?

To make cupcakes work with brown butter instead of regular softened butter, you will have to make sure to change the amounts in the recipe you are using, because once you brown the butter, it should also reduce its quantity. So for example, if the recipe you are using asks for 1/2 cup of butter, you will have to use about 10 tbsp of butter because once browned, you’ll be left with 1/2 cup.

brown butter pumpkin cupcakes with caramel on top and an oreo.
brown butter pumpkin cupcakes with caramel on top and an oreo.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

Camila Hurst
These Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes are the ultimate Fall dessert recipe! The brown butter in the frosting and in the cupcake batter adds a deep nutty flavor to the cupcakes. Making the pumpkin caramel sauce for the top is optional but highly recommended as it takes the cupcakes to the next level.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter 141 grams
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 190 grams
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50 grams
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 100 grams
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 170 grams
  • 12 pumpkin spice oreos optional
Brown Butter Pumpkin Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup brown butter 113 grams – instructions on how to make it below
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened (113 grams)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar 500 grams
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree 75 grams
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50 grams
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream 30 grams
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter 42 grams
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree 30 grams
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt or more to taste

Instructions
 

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Place one oreo on each cupcake cavity.
  • Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently as the butter melts.
  • Soon the butter should come to a gentle simmer, keep stirring frequently. The butter will begin to get golden and you will notice some brown speckles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter in a bowl. Let it cool down for about 10 minutes or so.
  • Start by sifting the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the eggs to the cooled butter and whisk.
  • Add the sugars and whisk until mixture is incorporated.
  • Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake tins.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. When you touch the top of a cupcake lightly with your finger, it should spring back.
  • Let the cupcakes cool down before filling and frosting.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Buttercream
  • Start by making the brown butter. Place 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently as the butter melts. Soon the butter should come to a gentle simmer, keep stirring frequently.
  • The butter will begin to get golden and you will notice some brown speckles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter in a bowl.
  • Let it cool down completely, or place it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. The butter should be solid and completely cooled down before using it to make the buttercream. If you let the butter cool down on the counter, place it in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes before using so it’s a bit solid.
  • Add the softened butter to the cooled brown butter. Beat both butters for a minute until creamy and incorporated.
  • Add the sugar, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice to the bowl and beat for one minute until completely incorporated.
  • If the frosting is too thick and dry at this point, add 2 tbsp of heavy cream or milk. Continue to beat for another two minutes over medium speed.
  • Place the frosting in a piping bag.
Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
  • Place the sugar in a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, over medium heat.
  • Stir the sugar the whole time, while it melts. The sugar will begin to form a brown syrup, and you have to stir the whole entire time, to make sure it melts evenly. Otherwise, some parts of the sugar will burn, while others won’t get a chance to melt.
  • As soon as the last bit of sugar melts, immediately lower the heat to medium-low, and add the heavy cream.
  • It’s very important to not let the sugar cook too much or burn. If the sugar cooks too much at this point, the caramel will be hard once it cools down, or it will taste bitter.
  • So as soon as you see no more bits of solid sugar, be quick and add the heavy cream.
  • Be very careful when adding the heavy cream as it will bubble up and you don’t want to get burned.
  • As soon as you add the heavy cream, some of the sugar will crystallize, and that’s ok. Continue to stir the heavy cream for 30 over medium-low heat.
  • Add the butter and stir to combine.
  • Once the butter has almost completely melted, add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and salt to the pan.
  • Stir to combine over the heat, for about 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the pumpkin puree has fully incorporated with the sauce.
  • Pour into a heat proof container and let it cool down completely.
  • If there are bits of crystallized sugar in the sauce, pour the sauce through a strainer after you take it out of the oven. But if you follow all instructions right, that shouldn’t happen. Though I understand sometimes we get distracted and don’t stir enough, or forget to lower the heat. It happens. And that’s a good way of fixing it.
To assemble
  • Place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes.
  • Top with some of the caramel sauce and a halved oreo if desired.
Storage
  • Store the cupcakes in the fridge for up to 4 days, let them come to room temperature before consuming.

Notes

Brown butter for the cupcakes: You can substitute the brown butter in the cupcake for vegetable oil if you don’t wish to use brown butter. However, the amount will change, you will need 1/2 cup of vegetable oil instead of 10 tbsp of the indicated amount of butter, because when you cook the butter, some of it will evaporate. Also, you don’t want to cook the butter to long, just enough to reduce it to about 1/2 cup. If you do reduce the butter to less than 1/2 cup, make sure to add more butter to compliment it. You could also add oil if you don’t want to make more brown butter and wait for it to cool down.
Brown butter for the frosting: You can also use all regular butter, instead of brown butter in the frosting. Replace it with the same amount.
You will make brown butter for the cupcakes and also for the frosting, so you can go ahead and just make all the brown butter at once if you want to. And remove 1/2 cup to make the cupcakes.
Keyword brown butter, pumpkin

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