Two Peas and Their Pod

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

We got home yesterday from a ten day trip with Travel Oregon. We loved every second of our vacation (stay tuned-I will be doing a few posts about our trip), but it is always nice to come home.

I have a travel hangover and was tempted to not write this blog post for today, but I made these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting before we left on vacation and have been dying to share them with you. They are the BEST pumpkin cupcakes I have ever tasted…and I am not saying that because I made them:) They really are life changing.

I fell in love with salted caramel sauce when I made Apple Crumb Bars with Salted Caramel. I actually had leftover caramel sauce from the bars and that is what inspired these cupcakes. Making homemade caramel sauce is SO worth the extra effort…and see, you can get two fabulous desserts out of one batch of caramel sauce. Bonus! And the salted caramel sauce is good enough to drink by the gallon, but try to save some to make the frosting:)

The brown butter, pumpkin, and salted caramel frosting come together to create the most heavenly cupcake in the history of cupcakes. I am usually a cookie person and can pass on cupcakes, but if you put one of these Brown Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel in front of me I would devour it in a heartbeat. And if you tried to take a bite, I would fight you for it:) There really are no words to describe these cupcakes. They really are pumpkin perfection!

It is officially fall now, so get out the pumpkin and make these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting. This is the perfect pumpkin recipe to kick-off pumpkin season! And if you are a pumpkin fan, like me, make sure you check out these 50 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Yield: 15 cupcakes

The best pumpkin cupcakes you will ever eat!


For the Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the Salted Caramel Frosting:

Salted Caramel Sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce


1. To make the brown butter pumpkin cupcakes: preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown, Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, and brown butter. Add the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before removing cupcakes.

5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the salted caramel frosting. First, make the salted caramel sauce. Make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don't burn it. To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking. You can swirl the pan to move the sugar around.

6. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. This is where it is easy to burn the caramel. You want the caramel to reach 350 degrees F. If you are new to making caramel, I suggest using a thermometer.

7. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.

8. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes.

9. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large mason jar and cool to room temperature.

10. To make the frosting: beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and then add the salted caramel sauce. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.

11. Frost the cooled pumpkin cupcakes with the salted caramel frosting and and drizzle cupcakes with extra salted caramel sauce, if desired.

Note-you can use store bought salted caramel sauce, but I highly recommend homemade salted caramel sauce. It is the best. The salted caramel recipe will make about 2 cups so you will have extra. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Pumpkin cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

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189 Responses to “Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting”

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  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 24, 2012 @ 3:35 am

    The cupcakes look awesome and then with that frosting added – doesn’t get much better than pumpkin and caramel!

  2. Shannon in Alaska — September 24, 2012 @ 5:53 am

    Ground gloves, eh? Sounds tasty!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 24, 2012 @ 6:35 am

    These sound unreal. Mmm.

  4. antique engagement rings — September 24, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    The cupcakes look wonderful as usual!

  5. Oh my gosh!!!! I’m calling sick at work so I can stay home and make these!

  6. Lauren at Keep It Sweet — September 24, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    The combination of brown butter and pumpkin sounds amazing… these cupcakes must be heavenly!

  7. Aimee @ ShugarySweets — September 24, 2012 @ 7:33 am

    These look gorgeous!

  8. Blog is the New Black — September 24, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    Oh my! Delicious!

  9. Rachel Cooks — September 24, 2012 @ 8:17 am


  10. Anne [A Squared] — September 24, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    I love anything pumpkin-flavored, but these look spectacular!

  11. Zeeona @ Basil and Strawberry — September 24, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    I wish I could have one, they just look so perfect!

  12. Cat — September 24, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Oh I love pumpkin products in the Autumn/Fall. These look just amazing!

  13. Cookbook Queen — September 24, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    These sound so perfect right now — love that salted caramel drizzle!!

  14. kelley {mountain mama cooks} — September 24, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    I don’t even really like pumpkin things but this frosting and that caramel sauce have me thinking otherwise! They are gorgeous, Maria!!

  15. Natalie @ Free Range Human — September 24, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    These look so good! Love that it’s pumpkin season!

  16. Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 24, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    I’m so glad you had such a wonderful time! And now I want cupcakes… at 10AM. Ugh. I think I need to go to the gym first. And then I can devour a whole plate of these.

  17. Lindsey @ Family Food Finds — September 24, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    Wow! These are going to be a “must-bake” this season. If you say something is life-changing, I take your word for it! Thanks for another great recipe! :)

  18. Sarah — September 24, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try these. I did actually laugh out loud at your typo though, “1/8 teaspoon ground gloves” :) I love your blog and your recipes help me break out of my comfort zone and try amazing new things!

    • Two Peas replied: — September 24th, 2012 @ 10:08 am

      Fixed it:)

  19. Erica — September 24, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    Oh my gosh- if these don’t scream Fall- I don’t know what does! Your trip looked totally amazing (especially all the desserts). And your little man makes my heart melt.

  20. Ashley — September 24, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    I’m a little delayed this year but finally think it’s time to bust out the pumpkin. These sound phenomenal. I tried to make caramel sauce for caramel apples once and it was a fail. I’ll have to give it another go…. :)

  21. marla — September 24, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    Maria, these are some irresistible cupcakes you came up with! need some now.

  22. Kevin @ Closet Cooking — September 24, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Those pumpkin cupcakes look amazing!

  23. Tracey — September 24, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Yum, they sound heavenly Maria!

  24. HeatherChristo — September 24, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    you couldn’t have a better flavor combo here! it’s probably my very favorite! these look so gooood!

  25. Becky @ Project Domestication — September 24, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    I shall make. Love that the recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce is enough for both. It’s all about Fall baking!

  26. TidyMom — September 24, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    Love me a good pumpkin cupcake….and these are certainly calling my name!

  27. Sydney — September 24, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

    Those look so beautyful!

  28. Vicki — September 24, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    These look wonderful! saving for later :)

  29. Brooke — September 24, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

    Holy cupcake batman, this sounds like my kinda perfection!

  30. Carlas Confections — September 24, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    Whoa these look like heaven! I cant wait to try some of these Maria!

  31. nancy — September 24, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    do you think you could make it into a layer cake?

  32. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — September 24, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

    Bring on pumpkin season! These look great…love the salted caramel

  33. Julia @ Live Pretty — September 24, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    So wish these were on the menu at my favorite coffee shop – grabbed a pumpkin scone with glee that Fall is here last week and was soooo disappointed at the lack of real pumpkin taste. I am absolutely making these :-)

  34. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks — September 24, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    Two of my favourite things all rolled into one. These look perfect Maria!

  35. Jaynie @Junabug — September 24, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

    I was going to make chai spice cookies today, but I changed my mind after seeing these cupcakes!

  36. Cookin' Canuck — September 24, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

    I’m glad you had such a great time in Oregon! These cupcakes encompass everything good about fall.

  37. So glad you wrote this, these look mouthwatering!

  38. Cassie — September 24, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    Salted caramel is the best. These are stunning!

  39. Kristen — September 24, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    Oh my goodness those look good! Salted caramel and pumpkin has to be an amazing combination!

  40. gina @ skinnytaste — September 24, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    That looks SOO GOOD!!!!

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