Maple Pecan Cinnamon Cupcakes

I’ve already told you guys about my love affair with cinnamon-bun-like things, so it was only a matter of time before I put that cinnamon love into cupcake form.

These cupcakes were inspired by the little girl in my class who comes in every morning and asks, “Melanie, guess what I had for breakfast today??”  Every morning, I go through 85 guesses.  Toast?  Cereal?  Green eggs and ham?

And every morning she finally yells at the top of her lungs, “CINNAMON BUNS!!!!!!!!” with more excitement than Christmas Day, a snow day, and a birthday combined. HUGE grin.  Literally like it’s the best news of anyone’s life.


Though I seriously doubt this 4-year-old peanut eats cinnamon buns every day for breakfast, you gotta respect her joie de vivre.  When it comes to cinnamon buns, she knows where it’s AT.

So I took all the best parts of a cinnamon bun (cinnamon+brown sugar+butter), added some fancy (pecans+maple) and baked them into a cupcake.  And that cupcake is gooooood.  The kind of good where you eat one and then come back for two more since cinnamon buns are a breakfast food and breakfast foods are healthy.  Impaired judgement good.

You could also leave off the frosting and these would be NUMMY muffins.

Cinnamon Cupcakes (adapted from Hello, Cupcake!‘s vanilla cupcake recipe)

yield: 24 cupcakes


For the cinnamon swirl:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple sugar*
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • maple buttercream (recipe below)
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans

*I just happened to have this on hand.  You can easily omit the maple sugar if you don’t have it.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin tins with 24 paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, melt the 4 tablespoons butter in the microwave.  Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple sugar.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  4. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the 1/2 cup butter and sugar on high until fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and add the eggs one a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternatively in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix until almost combined, then gently fold in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Fold 8-10 times, so that you can still see large streaks of cinnamon sugar.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about halfway.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely on wire racks.  Top with maple buttercream (below) and garnish with toasted pecans.

Maple Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on high until smooth.  Reduce speed to medium and beat in maple syrup.  Reduce speed to low and add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Beat in vanilla and milk; beat on medium for 1 minute or until frosting is fluffy and smooth.

10 thoughts on “Maple Pecan Cinnamon Cupcakes

  1. Clair

    I love that story…I can imagine the whole thing. So cute. =)

    We were at Joe’s family’s house this weekend with nothing to do on a Friday night. So we made a huge batch of cupcakes (with sugar and all)…chocolate chip cookies in the bottom, banana cake, peanut butter frosting. I was channeling you!

      1. The Sweet Life Post author

        I thought they were too sweet with 1 cup but not quite sweet enough with 3/4 cup so I wanted it to be in between. But I’m realizing now that 5/6 is awkward to measure so I changed it to 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon. Thanks for pointing that out!!

  2. Anna {dear friend}

    CINNABUNNNNN cupcaaaakes!!!!! They were dreeeeeeeeemy.

    And that child seems like such a gem. Is she the girl from the video?

    Also, I had a new genius idea this morning: 5K boston CUPCAKE TOUR. We could make our own. BOOM.

  3. Pingback: Raspberry Dark Chocolate Muffins | The Sweet Life

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