“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” -Harriet Van Horne
Pistachio Cupcakes

Pistachio Cupcakes

Nothing beats a good old vanilla or chocolate cupcake, but I really I like cupcakes that take on less traditional flavors. In this case, pistachio brings a nice blend of salt, crunch, and color. I adapted this recipe from Joy the Baker, who recently posted about brown butter pistachio doughnuts. I've turned these into cupcakes, and added a cream cheese frosting, which adds a dollop of sweetness to the more savory-brown-butter-flavor of the cake.   

YIELD: 12 cupcakes
ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes (includes shelling pistachios)
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •  2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and browned (we’ll use 4 tablespoons of browned butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Fill cupcake pan with paper liners. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, sugar, and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir and watch carefully as the butter begins to brown (this can take around 10 minutes). It will smell nutty as it begins to brown and the froth will melt away. Once browned, remove from heat and set aside in small bowl.  

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Measure 4 tablespoons of the browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir together until well combined.  

Use a spoon to drop batter into the prepared cupcake pan (about 3/4 full). 

Bake for 12-15 minute, until slightly browned and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting: mix together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until soft and fluffy. 

Frost cupcakes and top with remaining pistachios. 


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