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.