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A brown butter-pumpkin cupcake on burlap with an orange ribbon in front of it.

Brown Butter-Pumpkin Cupcakes With Bourbon Caramel Frosting and Filling

Soft, ultra moist and full of warm spice, these brown butter-pumpkin cupcakes are filled with gooey, rich bourbon caramel for an extra decadent treat. We then use that sweet sauce to make a creamy, fluffy bourbon caramel frosting. These show-stopping, gourmet brown butter-pumpkin cupcakes with bourbon caramel frosting and filling will become your new go-to fall dessert.
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 16 people
Calories 417kcal


  • Stand or hand mixer
  • Small skillet
  • Muffin pan


Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 tablespoons butter diced into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

Brown Butter-Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • ¾ cup butter cut into pieces
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract

Bourbon Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup bourbon caramel sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • Make the caramel sauce first to allow it to thicken. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for one minute. It doesn’t need to be hot — just heated long enough so that it’s not cold from the refrigerator. Set aside.
  • Add the white sugar and water to a large skillet. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat. About every 20 seconds or so, grab the skillet handle and give it a gentle shake back and forth a couple times. As the mixture cooks, it will begin to boil and start to darken.
  • Once the water and sugar mixture turn to an amber color, immediately turn off heat and whisk in heavy cream. The mixture will furiously boil up. When it subsides, whisk in butter, bourbon and vanilla. Pour into a separate container, such as a large measuring cup. To see step-by-step photos of this process, visit my original bourbon caramel post.

Brown Butter-Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees and place cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Give the pan a shake occasionally and continue to cook until butter turns golden brown. Turn off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, maple extract and brown butter. When adding the brown butter, use a spatula to scrape all those leftover brown bits into the batter. Whisk in the flour just until combined. The batter will be thicker than most cupcake batters.
  • Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick comes out out cleanly of the center of the cupcake, about 20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes, and when they're cool enough to handle, remove from the muffin tin to ensure the residual heat doesn't keep baking them. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Once cool, use a butter knife to cut a well in the cupcake and fill with bourbon caramel sauce. Be sure to leave enough cake at the bottom to hold the caramel, so only cut down about halfway. Top with bourbon caramel frosting.

Bourbon Caramel Frosting

  • Using a stand or hand mixer, beat softened butter until light and fluffy.
  • Incrementally add the powdered sugar, about a ½ cup to 1 cup at a time. Periodically scrape the side of the bowl to make sure you incorporate everything.
  • After adding all the sugar, pour in the bourbon caramel sauce, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat until everything mixes together and is nice and fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes with a butter knife. Enjoy!


  • For baking at 5,280 feet, I used 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder. That was the only adjustment I made for altitude.
  • I've made these cupcakes without maple extract, and they're still delicious, but I love the extra warmth the maple extract adds.
  • The frosting has always been stiff enough for me to pipe, but if you ever need to tweak the texture, you can add more powdered sugar to add stiffness or a splash of cream or milk if it needs thinning. I'd be surprised if you need to adjust, but just know those options are there if you ever need to troubleshoot this or any other frosting recipe.
  • Adapted from Martha Stewart.
  • Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 413mg | Sugar: 50g