Monday, March 10, 2008

Cupcakes and a Spectacular Comeback

I am on such a maple kick lately that when I was deciding on which recipe to make for Cupcakes Spectacular, hosted by Arfi of HomemadeS, I thought it would be fitting to make a cupcake with maple flavorings. Oddly, I chose the garnish before I decided on the actual recipe.

Maple Pralined Pecans; I made this recipe a dozen times without fail except for once, this past Christmas. You’re supposed to put 1 cup of maple syrup in a saucepan with one cup of pecans, bring to a boil and stir for about 15 minutes until the syrup crystallizes onto the pecans. I stirred for like a half hour and nothing happened. The whole thing was a burnt, mapley mess. But, I decided to try again, telling myself I must have measured wrong or something last time. So I measure and mix and boil and stir and sure enough after 15 minutes nothing was happening, again. So before the whole thing burned again, I threw 2 tablespoons of butter into the mix, stirred and dumped everything onto my baking sheet. Lo and behold, a few minutes later after it had cooled, I had the most wonderful fudge-like maple pecan brittle I had ever tasted! Well, now I had my topping! Not wanting to overwhelm the cupcakes with maple, I made an apple-pecan cupcake with a maple frosting.

The maple taste is not very strong in the frosting alone but add the chopped up brittle and we’re in business! The cupcakes themselves, without frosting are really moist and fluffy, and the brittle, well, it’s a wonder I still had any to garnish the cupcakes! I had so much fun with this event and I learned a few things about myself : I can come back from a failed recipe with a back-up plan, which is always a good thing, and I can decorate cupcakes! Thanks for hosting such a great event Arfi!

Apple Pecan Cupcakes
Adapted from

I made 58 mini-cupcakes with this recipe, but I assume it would make 12 large cupcakes.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped apples
3/4 cup finely chopped, roasted pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line cupcake molds of choice with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, add to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk, stirring until batter is smooth. Fold in the apples and pecans. Spoon batter into the cupcake molds.

Bake for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cupcakes are done when they spring back to the touch.

Maple Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar, sifted

6 tbsp maple syrup

Cream butter with an electric mixer, add confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup. Beat well. You can add more confectioner’s sugar for a thicker frosting. Also this recipe doubles easily.

Maple Pecan Brittle
Adapted from Ricardo Volume 3, Number 3

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup pecans
2 tbsp butter

In a medium saucepan, combine maple syrup and pecans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and stir for 15 minutes. Add butter, stir to combine and quickly spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Let cool and break into pieces. Enjoy as is or chop up to decorate cupcakes.

Note: if after only 15 minutes the syrup crystallizes onto the pecans: Congratulations! You’ve made pralined pecans, something I’m apparently not able to do anymore. Just omit the butter and quickly spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. They can also be eaten as is or chopped up to decorate the cupcakes.

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Alfie said...

Another fabulous offering - and drooly pics. Maple pecan is my favourite combination!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful cupcakes. I love the idea of all those great flavors together.

tara said...

I adore using brittles and pralines as a garnish for desserts - it gives such a wonderful contrast to frostings and cream. Love this combination!

bron said...

What gorgeous cupcakes! They look so inviting and we loooove maple and pecan together.

Stef said...

Those do look spectacular! I love maple too!

Amy said...

Beautiful! I love maple-pecan anything.

Mansi Desai said...

these look wonderful, and guess what! I got all the ingredients for this yesterday, and now I've found a classic recipe too:)

Kevin said...

Those cupcakes look and sound amazing! Maple and pecans are a great combination. Bookmarked to try!

Aimée said...

I am fighting an 'anything-sugar' craving right now and looking at these doesn't help! They are really, really cute and I'm crazy about anything maple!

kellypea said...

Way to think on your feet with that second try on your praline. It looks fabulous and these cupcakes are to die for. I love maple everything!

michelle @ TNS said...

that brittle is sounding *good*, and those are great pics. yum!

Arfi Binsted said...

oh yum! brittle reminds me of my sweet childhood. every ied el fitr, my mum's friend and a neighbour would always make peanut brittles. she cut them in slabs and oh my god, i just loved them as treats! thank you for entering the cupcakes spectacular event, Lynn. you take me back to the oldies. lovely.


LyB said...

Alfie - Thanks so much!

Lynn - Thank you, I had fun mixing and matching!

Tara - The pecan pralines were actually meant for a garnish to a maple tart originally, that was good too!

Bron - Thank you very much!

Stef - Every year, this time of year, I go nuts with the maple!

Amy - Maple and pecans looove each other! :)

Mansi - I can't wait to see how yours turn out!

Kevin - Let me know how you like them!

Aimée - Don't fight the craving sweetie! ;)

Kellypea - Thank you, I had to try something! :)

Michelle - Thank you so much!

Arfi - I had so much fun with these, thanks again for hosting this wonderful event!

Patricia Scarpin said...

LyB, what a wonderful recipe! The words "maple" and "pecan" together made me dream. :)

Brilynn said...

Those are gorgeous! I love that you're on a maple kick!

joey said...

Maple and pecan together is a definite winner! Your cupcakes sounds absolutely delicious and look gorgeous :) Yes, you can definitely decorate cupcakes!

LyB said...

Patricia - Dream a Little Dream of Maple, I like it! That'd make a great post title ;)

Brilynn - Thank you, I was afraid people would get tired of mmmmmaple, I won't anyway!

Joey - lol! These were my first "decorated" cupcakes, I usually just spread some icing on cupcakes and voilà!

nicisme said...

OMG! Somebody.... please help me... I think I just inhaled the computer screen!

LyB said...

Nic - lol! Glad you liked these!

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Anna said...

Sorry - I'm confused as to when the apple and pecans go in the cake batter... maybe I'm being blind?

They sound and look amazing though!

LyB said...

Hi Anna! No, you're not blind! I forgot that part of the instructions. The apples and pecans go into the batter right after you're done mixing in the milk and the dry ingredients. I'll update the recipe right now. Thanks very much for your comment.

Anna said...


I made these yesterday - and OH MY GOODNESS! They were delish! I make a lot of cakes, and they're often good, but these were something else! Thanks for the recipe.