Last weekend, my husband and I traveled back home to New Orleans to visit friends and family. We’ve lived in Texas for 15 years and although we love Texas, call it home and cannot imagine living anywhere else, our hearts belong to the Crescent City.
We had a relaxing time in Louisiana. EJ’s parents live in a little city just north of New Orleans. It’s a quaint little town where most of the homes are surrounded by majestic oak trees.
EJ and I only had a couple of days and we wanted to spend most of the time visiting with his parents and exploring the area. While we were there, we stopped into a little shop that made pralines and had a sample. Wow, I had forgotten how wonderful pralines taste. They’re extra rich and buttery with chunks of pecans. Absolutely delicious!
Those pralines inspired me to make these moist and rich Butter Pecan Cupcakes with Praline Cream Filling and I’m submitting this recipe for the Imperial Sugar Be a Cupcake Hero Cupcake Contest.
Imperial Sugar is one of the wonderful sponsors of the Blog Elevated Conference held in Houston this week. I’ll be attending and it’s my first ever blogging conference. I’m really excited about it! I’ve enjoyed my first year of blogging tremendously and have loved connecting with so many interesting people. But now, I’m ready to take this blog to the next level and I can’t wait to learn from the experts at the conference.
Contests inspire me to “think outside the recipe box” so to speak. Cupcakes are fun and who doesn’t love a great tasting cupcake. I sat on this challenge for weeks trying to come up with the perfect idea for a cupcake. The taste of the pralines during our New Orleans visit inspired me and set my mind into motion. I couldn’t wait to get home and get to work.
I used three types of Imperial Sugar in this recipe, Imperial Extra Fine Granulated Sugar, Imperial Light Brown Sugar and Imperial Confectioners Powdered Sugar. To tell the truth, even if there weren’t a contest involved, I’d use Imperial Sugar anyway. I’ve always used it.
Instead of actually putting praline pieces into the cupcakes I decided to infuse every aspect of the cupcake with the amazing favor of pralines. The ingredients in pralines are butter, sugar, cream and pecans and these Butter Pecan Cupcakes taste just like a praline “cake”. Rich, buttery and very moist.
I added a luscious Praline Cream filling inside the cupcakes. A combination of mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, Imperial Confectioners Powdered Sugar and maple syrup which further enhanced the praline flavor.
Adding a filling to a cupcake isn’t hard at all. You can either use a really sharp knife and cut out the center or use a cupcake corer designed to easily cut a little hole in the middle of the cupcake. After you’ve cut your hole, add your filling.
For the icing, I made a feathery light praline frosting.
To really make sure I captured the flavor of pralines, I “forced” myself to make a batch. I’ll have the praline recipe for you in a later post.
These Butter Pecan Cupcakes with Praline Cream Filling are the real deal. A taste of New Orleans in every bite.
Here’s my disclosure – I baked these cupcakes as an entry into an Imperial Sugar Contest where if I win, the price of my Blog Elevated Conference ticket will be refunded to me. Entries will also be pinned to the Be A Cupcake Hero Pinterest Board where you’ll be able to see all kinds of delicious cupcake recipes. I purchased all of the Imperial Sugar myself and was not reimbursed for my purchase, which isn’t a problem since I always have Imperial Sugar in my pantry anyway :).
Butter Pecan Cupcakes With Creamy Praline Filling
- 1 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup butter, softened and divided
- 1 tablespoon Imperial Light Brown Sugar
- 2 cups Imperial Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup milk
- 8 oz mascarpone at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Imperial Confectioners Powdered Sugar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 sticks butter, softened (1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons Imperial Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups Imperial Confectioners Powdered Sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- TO MAKE THE CUPCAKES
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Set aside.
- Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add the butter and Imperial Light Brown Sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the pecans and stir until completely coated. Continue stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the pecans to baking sheet to cool. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, cream the Imperial Granulated Sugar and remaining butter (1 cup) until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in the buttered pecans.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.
- Bake until cupcakes are golden on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool, about 20 minutes.
- TO MAKE THE FILLING
- Using an electric mixer, combine all ingredients and whip until smooth.
- Using a knife or a cupcake corer, create a hole in the center of the cupcake for the filling. Fill the hole in each cupcake with the filling.
- TO MAKE THE FROSTING
- Place two sticks of softened butter in an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 4 minutes.
- Add the Imperial Light Brown Sugar, salt and Imperial Confectioners Powdered Sugar and beat for 1 minute.
- Add the maple syrup and the heavy whipping cream and beat for an additional 4 minutes.