Martha Stewart’s pumpkin sage brown butter cupcakes are a seasonal favorite of mine, especially when paired with brown butter icing. This year, I made a batch of mini cupcakes for the workplace, saving of course a healthy tupperware full of them to snack on at home! Here is the recipe, with a few tips:

Pumpkin (Sage) Brown Butter Cupcakes
Makes 12 regular cupcakes, or about 30-32 mini cupcakes.

  • 170g (¾ cup or 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 210g (1 ⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup fresh sage (chiffonade)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 220g (1 cup) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Brown Butter Icing (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or brush with butter and dust with flour.

2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage, if desired, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for standard cupcakes and 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

5. To finish, dip top of each cupcake in icing, then turn over quickly and let set. I prefer to use a smaller bowl with a deeper pool of icing. If icing separates or does not smoothly coat the cupcake (e.g. icing has trouble sticking to cake), add a little more milk to the icing and mix well. Decorate as desired — I added some white chocolate curls this time. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed, keep at room temperature until ready to serve.



Brown Butter Icing
Makes 1 cup

  • 113.5g (½ cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 250g (2 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into bowl, leaving behind any burned sediment.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to brown butter, stir until smooth. If necessary, add more milk (up to 2 tablespoons) a little at a time, until the icing is the right consistency. Use immediately.


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