Full of warm spices, covered in rich maple glaze, and sprinkled with crushed candied pecans, these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites are a superbly delicious way to impress your guests this fall.
I know – few people like multi-component recipes. Stick with me though. I swear it’s all worthwhile.
These Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites may take a few steps, but the fall-focused flavors all come together in a magical, fancy bakery kind of way. It’s like autumn perfection in a rich, tiny bite. It’s my homage to my birth month, November, and one of my fav ingredients – pumpkin! Enriched with brown butter and littered with crunchy candied pecans, I dare you to eat just one pumpkin cake bite.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites with Maple Glaze & Candied Pecans
These Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites were inspired by my new favorite Starbucks drink – the Maple Pecan Latte. I wanted to marry those amazing fall flavors with one of my other loves, pumpkin. Call me basic if you want, I don’t care. Delicious is delicious I say!
Since was a little kid, I’ve had a soft spot for all things pumpkin, even requesting my mom’s homemade pumpkin pie for my birthday cake on multiple occasions (as I detail in this early Pumpkin Crème Brulee recipe). I knew all of these flavors would meld well in one scrumptious dessert.
Unlike many pumpkin bread or muffin recipes, these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites are unabashedly sweet. The cake is moist and the maple glaze is rich. Use as much glaze as you prefer to your own taste preferences. From some testing I did, I know most of my friends and family have serious sweet teeth. Many would have dove face first in the glaze if given the chance. A few found the glaze a little on the rich side though, so keep that in mind. You can always leave a few cakes without glaze, or just lightly drizzled, if you want to please a variety of people.
Oh, and did I mention the candied pecans? Not only are the crushed candied pecans mixed into the batter, the glaze is sprinkled with a few bits as well. This adds amazing texture and a bit of class to each little bite!
Tiny Cake Tips & Tricks
Using Non-Stick Cakelet Pans: After eyeing it for years, I finally bought this adorable fall cakelet pan for myself on a bad day when I needed a little pick-me-up. A fun and slightly frivolous kitchen gadget usually does the trick.
The internet is full of tips on how to ensure cakes come out whole from pans like these. I’ve personally found the key to using detailed Bundt cake pans is a ton of butter. Use your fingers to make sure every small crevice and indent in the mold is full of butter, then dust everything in flour. This technique (plus a firm enough cake recipe) has helped me easily remove cakes from molds (nearly) every time.
No cakelet pan? Make cupcakes instead! The batter from these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites makes lovely mini cupcakes. Just line a mini cupcake tin with wrappers, and fill each three-fourths full with batter. You may want to shorten the bake time slightly, but just check at the 15-minute mark to see how they are doing.
Applying the Maple Glaze: Make sure the Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites are fully cooled before dipping them in the Maple Glaze. Warm cakes have a habit of soaking the glaze up, ruining the visual effect and reducing the flavor.
If you want a seriously rich and decadent dessert this season, make a batch of Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites with Maple Glaze & Candied Pecans. These sweet little desserts are sure to be a huge hit!
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites with Maple Glaze & Candied Pecans
With warm spices, rich maple glaze, & crushed candied pecans, these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Bites are a delicious way to impress your guests this fall.
Makes 25-30 Cake Bites
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (plus some for greasing the pan)
- 1 cup flour (plus some for dusting the pan)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup Candied Pecans, crushed (see note below)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (plus more if the mixture is too thick)
- ¼ cup Candied Pecans, crushed (for topping)
- Nonstick Cakelet Pan (or cupcake tins – see recipe notes)
To Make the Cake Bites:
Heat the oven to 325°F. Generously grease your cakelet pan, making sure to get a lot of butter in any delicate or detailed areas of the mold. Dust with flour.
To brown the butter, melt the stick of butter over medium heat, swirling occasionally so that it heats evenly. The butter will start to sputter and foam, and go from a golden color to a rich shade of amber. Once the foaming begins to slow and you smell a nutty aroma, remove the pan from heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. (More information on how to brown butter.)
As the butter browns, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and spices) in a separate bowl or large measuring cup. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugars and brown butter with the paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the pumpkin puree, milk, and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour mixture a half a cup at a time. Be careful not to overmix. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold the crushed candied pecans into the mixture with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling about three-fourths of the way. Depending on your molds you may have extra batter – this can be turned into cupcakes if desired. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. Let rest in the pans for 5-10 minutes, and then carefully invert the pan onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
To Make the Glaze:
Once the pumpkin cake bites are cooled to room temperature, prepare the glaze. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk into the powdered sugar and the maple syrup one after the other. The glaze should be thick but spreadable. Spoon the glaze into a heat-proof bowl, and apply the glaze to the cake bites. You can either drizzle the glaze over top, or dip portions of each cake bite into the glaze to coat. Sprinkle the crushed pecans over top as you go, pressing larger pieces into the glaze to help them stay. Allow the glaze to harden before storing (about 10 minutes).
Store the Pumpkin Cake Bites in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.
Cupcake Alternative: If you don’t have a cakelet pan, this recipe works just as well for mini cupcakes. Line a mini cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers and follow instructions as above. Fill each wrapper three-fourths of the way full and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Drop dollops of glaze and a sprinkling of candied pecans on each once cool.
Making Candied Pecans: Candied pecans are super easy to make, and take almost no hands-on time at all. See my recipe for Easy Homemade Candied Pecans or use your favorite. You can also substitute plain roasted pecans (or omit altogether), if you prefer.