Maple and Pecan cupcakes (dairy free)

I warn you, maple syrup is not cheap….. and this recipe uses a lot of it. You could probably try substituting something cheaper with a similar taste, but you can’t beat real maple syrup. To me, the combination of maple and pecan nuts feels kind of autumnal, probably just me but with the cold weather setting in, these seemed about right.

Ingredients, makes 12 cupcakes
115g Trex or other butter substitute
50g soft brown sugar
160ml maple syrup
2 large eggs
115g self raising flour
60g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
 
For the maple buttercream
75g Trex
75g Pure sunflower spread
135ml maple syrup
435g icing sugar
 
For the caramelised pecans
60g golden caster sugar
20 pecan halves
 

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tin with cases.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until smooth. Add the maple syrup and beat well (at this point mine looked like a disaster, a curdled mess, but I just chucked some flour in and carried on). Gradually add the eggs while beating well. Fold in the flour and the nuts.

Spoon into the cases about 2/3rd full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 – 25 mins until risen and golden. Leave to cool slightly in the tin then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the caramelised pecans. Gently the heat the golden caster sugar (I actually used normal caster sugar with a bit of soft brown thrown in to give it colour, probably could have just used normal caster sugar though) in a saucepan until it melts and is golden in colour. Spread the nuts on a sheet of baking paper then carefully pour the melted sugar over them, covering them completely. Be very careful when working with melted sugar, it is dangerously hot. Once the caramel has hardened, break it into pieces, ensuring there is a pecan half in each.

Sugar starting to melt

For the buttercream, beat together the Trex and Pure, gradually add the sifted icing sugar and the maple syrup until smooth and creamy.

Ice each cupcake with a swirl of buttercream and top with a caramelised pecan.

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