Sunday, 10 April 2016

Pecan cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I haven’t yet baked a single cupcake during 2016 so thought it was about time I rectified this most heinous situation.  The pecan sponge is an adaptation of a recipe where it was intended as a 20cm cake served as dessert with toffee sauce.  Most sponges can be converted into cupcakes pretty simply by a reduction in baking time.

The original recipe used maple syrup instead of the golden syrup I used; I made this switch because Mr CC actively dislikes the smoky flavour of maple syrup.  He’s not known for being picky about food, there are probably less than a handful of no-go ingredients for him, so it would seem rude not to accommodate him.  I prefer golden syrup too!

Take time to blitz the pecans to a fine crumb but, at the same time, don’t blitz them for too long so they start to release their oils.  Once you hit the look of ground almonds, stop!  I kept mine perhaps a bit coarser than ground almonds:

Pecans have a robust flavour so I chose a cream cheese frosting as I thought it would hold its own against the nuts.  The tang of the cream cheese works well and I kept it simple with a dash of vanilla.

There are three distinct flavours to these cupcakes – cream cheese, syrup and pecans.  They all hit together but the pecan is the one you’re left with at the end.  They are sweet – as you’d expect with sugar, syrup and pecans (which I always think of as a sweet nut) - but it’s a flavoursome sweet rather than a sugary sweet; you aren’t left with itchy teeth!


For the sponge:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g muscovado sugar
350g pecans – blitzed to fine crumbs in a food processor
3 eggs
100g golden syrup
150g self raising flour

For the frosting:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g icing sugar
180g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate: pecan halves


Preheat the oven to 170C/ fan 150C/340F/gas mark 3 ½.

Line two cupcake pans with paper cases – I got 20 generous sized sponges.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and well combined – it will never go quite as fluffy with brown sugar as it would with caster.

Beat in the ground pecans.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Beat in the golden syrup.

Fold in the flour.

Spoon into the paper cases and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.  Mine took 20 minutes.

De-tin and leave to cool on a wire rack lined with either kitchen or baking paper – the reason for this is that the nuts release oils during cooking and by standing it on something absorbent you will end up with nice dry paper cases by the time they’ve cooled.  (NB. Removing them from the tin ASAP stops them continuing to cook when out of the oven -this is what can cause the paper cases to gap and look ugly).

Now make the frosting: beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined and smooth.

Beat in the cream cheese and vanilla.

If the frosting is very soft don’t be afraid to refrigerate it for 30 mins or so before using.

Pipe over the cupcakes, or spread with a knife if you prefer.

Decorate with pecan halves.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Maggie said...

I love pecans too - I have to agree with Mr CC that golden syrup is far better than maple syrup. The cupcakes look very professional.

Gloria Baker said...

These look amazing CC I love this cream cheese frosting :)

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

You had me at pecans and then again at cream cheese frosting! And they look so perfectly formed too!
I have to say though I am a Maple Syrup girl at heart...... But whether that's usual or not..... I have noticed Mr CC can be a tad fussy!!!!

Cakelaw said...

Yum! These look and sound amazing.

Jo said...

Golden syrup beats maple syrup hands down, every time! I really like the sound of these so will bookmark the recipe (cheers!) They look so cute and cheery with the fat dollop of cream cheese icing on top.

Stuart Vettese said...

Mr CC is a heathen! How could he not like maple syrup??! Seriously though, the golden syrup in these would taste equally delish!

Choclette Blogger said...

Ooh these look so pretty and they sound fab too, so I've bookmarked. I've got a whole load of cupcakes I need to make soon and these would make a good flavour contrast to some of the others I have in mind. I'm rather a fan of golden syrup too, although I also love maple.