This recipe is a paid collaboration with Natures Charm, all views are my own.
Even though it's not widely celebrated over here in Ireland when I think about Thanksgiving, all things pecan pie come to mind. But, I love putting a spin on regular recipes, like this vegan pecan pie cheesecake, and now this vegan thanksgiving cupcake recipe for pecan pie stuffed cupcakes!
These cupcakes are good! They are full of festive flavors and make the perfect vegan Thanksgiving dessert. They're essentially vegan caramel cupcakes with pecan pie filling and vegan caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.
What to expect from these vegan cupcakes
- Tender and moist
- Fluffy and light
- Eggless and dairy-free
- Surprisingly easy to make
- Perfect for those with a sweet tooth
- Great for special occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas and holidays, etc)
Notes about the ingredients
- Pecans: These are vegan pecan pie cupcakes after all, so pecans make an appearance in the cupcake batter, filling, and garnish of these cupcakes.
- Soft brown sugar: This helps to create a moist cupcake with a hint of caramel flavor.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These are both leavening agents for these vegan pecan pie cupcakes.
- Soy milk: Mixed together with apple cider vinegar which creates a vegan alternative to buttermilk. I find soy milk the best option due to its slightly higher protein content, but you can use another plant-based milk if preferred.
- Vegan caramel sauce: This adds flavor, sweetness, and moisture to vegan caramel cupcakes. It's also added to the vegan Swiss meringue buttercream, creating a vegan caramel buttercream!
- Evaporated coconut milk: This is the main ingredient for the pecan pie filling for the cupcakes. You can also use canned coconut milk for this step.
- Olive oil: I love using olive oil for baking but you can also use an alternative neutral-tasting oil such as rapeseed or sunflower.
- Vanilla extract: This enhances the flavors and sweetness of cupcakes.
- Sea salt: This also enhances the flavors of the other ingredients in the recipe.
- Pure maple syrup: This is added to the filling to give a delicious pecan pie flavor.
- You’ll also need aquafaba, soft brown or caster sugar, vegan butter, and cream of tartar for the vegan Swiss meringue buttercream
How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)
(Full ingredient quantities and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post)
Baking the cupcakes
First thing, add all your wet ingredients and mix together in a jug or small bowl (the vegan buttermilk, olive oil, caramel sauce, and vanilla extract).
In a separate large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients (flour, soft brown sugar, ground pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). This helps to ensure that the leavening agents are evenly dispersed throughout the cupcake batter without the need to over-mix once the liquids are added in.
Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until you have an even batter. Be careful not to over-mix the batter, once it looks smooth stop whisking!
Next, divide the cupcake batter between your cupcake liners and bake. You'll know the cupcakes are ready by inserting a skewer which should come out clean.
Pecan pie filling for cupcakes
To make the pecan pie cupcake filling, first melt the vegan butter in a saucepan before adding the soft brown sugar, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and evaporated coconut milk. The acidity from the drop of vinegar will help to prevent your caramel from crystalizing (hello baking science!).
Simmer the ingredients for several minutes and lastly add in the pecans and salt, simmering for a few more minutes to help caramelize the nuts. Allow the pecan pie filling to cool completely before attempting to fill your cupcakes.
Next remove the center of the cupcake with a cupcake corer, being cautious not to go all the way to the bottom of the cake.
Topping the cupcakes
The caramel frosting for these pecan pie cupcakes is simply this vegan Swiss meringue buttercream recipe with added caramel sauce.
Pipe the buttercream on top of the cooled, filled cupcakes, leaving a well in the middle for extra caramel sauce - yum!
If you'd like to take these vegan pecan pie cupcakes to the next level you can top them with caramel shards as I did here. Food52, Chel Sweets, and Epicurious all have recipes and tutorials on how to make easy caramel shards.
These cupcakes are best served at room temperature. If you're keeping them for more than a couple of days, refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I recommend taking them out of the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to bring them to room temperature before serving. Especially if you’re topping them with vegan buttercream which stiffens up when chilled.
- Chocolate pecan pie cupcakes: Instead of making caramel cupcakes, make these chocolate cupcakes instead and fill them with pecan pie filling.
- Pumpkin pecan pie cupcakes: Make this vegan pumpkin cupcake recipe and fill them with pecan pie filling and caramel buttercream.
- Drunken pecan pie cupcakes: Add 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon to the pecan pie filling for these cupcakes.
Accurately measure your flour
For the most accurate measurements, I suggest you go by grams. All recipes here on Addicted to Dates have the option to switch between US customary and metric measurements. If you must measure in cups though, be sure to use to spoon and sweep method. If in doubt, Love and Lemons have a fantastic tutorial with step-by-step images on how to accurately measure flour.
Adjust the sweetness of the cupcakes
Rather than changing the sugars or quantities in the recipe (which will completely through off the recipe and I do not recommend). For a less sweet cupcake, try topping these with Italian meringue buttercream or vegan cream cheese frosting which will give them a tangy spin.
More vegan cupcake recipes
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!
- 1 cup (236 ml) soy milk
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup (118 ml) olive oil, or neutral cooking oil
- ¼ cup (56 g) vegan caramel sauce
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250 g) plain flour
- ¾ cup (165 g) soft brown sugar
- ¼ cup (25 g) pecans, finely ground
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) sea salt
Pecan pie filling
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons (36 g) soft brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons (60 g) pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (78 ml) evaporated coconut milk
- ⅓ cup (33 g) pecans, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) sea salt
- ½ batch (½ batch) vegan Swiss meringue buttercream
- ¼ cup (56 g) vegan caramel sauce, plus extra for garnish
- 12 (12 ) pecans
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) demerara sugar, optional
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon, optional
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the olive oil, caramel sauce, and vanilla extract to the vegan buttermilk mixture, stir and set aside. Add the flour, soft brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a separate bowl and whisk to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined - do not over-mix.
- Distribute the batter amongst the cupcake liners and bake for 22-25 minutes. Check they are done by piercing them with a toothpick or a knife, the knife should come out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool further for 30-40 minutes.
Pecan pie filling
- Add the vegan butter to a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and evaporated coconut milk and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the pecans and salt and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to the fridge to chill for an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegan Swiss meringue buttercream.
- Slowly add the vegan caramel sauce to the vegan Swiss meringue buttercream, in one tablespoon increments, whisking to incorporate the mixture in between each spoon. Once all of the caramel sauce has been added, whisk for another minute to combine.
- Use a cupcake corer (or apple corer) to cut out the centres of the cooled cupcakes, and reserve the pieces that you remove. Fill each cupcake with pecan pie filling and place the reserved cuts back on top of each one.
- Mix together the demerara and ground cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar for the garnish, if using.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle. Pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake, top with more caramel sauce, pecans and cinnamon sugar.
- These cupcakes are best served at room temperature. If you're keeping them for more than a couple of days, refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I recommend taking them out of the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to bring them to room temperature before serving. Especially if you’re topping them with vegan buttercream which stiffens up when chilled.
- Nutritional information is based on filled cupcakes without frosting.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon to the pecan pie filling for a boozy version of these cupcakes.
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