Salted Caramel Pecan Cupcakes

If you’re a fan of all things salted caramel, then you’ll love these fluffy melt-in-your-mouth pecan cupcakes with salted caramel frosting. These are definitely the, I can’t believe they’re gluten-free, kind of cupcakes! But as gluten-free bakers know, anything can be recreated gluten-free and still taste mouthwateringly good.

Often adding almond flour to my cupcakes and cakes helps to keep them extra moist for longer, as gluten-free bakes tend to dry out much quicker than normal wheat-based bakes. The same goes for these cupcakes, the ground pecans added to the cupcake mixture add an extra dose of moisture to help keep them fresher for longer.

What equipment do I need for this cake?

  • 12 hole muffin or cupcake baking tray
  • Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer (optional)
  • Medium-sized cupcake cases (non-stick)
  • Piping bag and 1M piping nozzle

What ingredients do I need?

  • Butter – Unsalted, room temperature butter is best for this recipe
  • Caster sugar – White refined caster sugar or fine caster sugar is preferred or light brown sugar as a substitute
  • Eggs – Medium free range eggs at room temperature, just the egg whites are needed for this recipe
  • Gluten free flour – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Self-raising Flour with added Xanthan gum is perfect for this recipe, otherwise a standard flour blend will work fine
  • Vanilla Essence – Vanilla essence, extract or vanilla paste can be used as long as it is gluten-free
  • Baking Powder – Any baking powder can be used, just check the label that it is gluten-free
  • Almond flour – Almond flour is a great addition to gluten-free bakes, keeping them moist
  • Ground pecans – Ground pecans may not be readily available in your area, so use a food processor to finely grind 50g worth for this recipe. Make sure to use plain, unsalted, non-roasted pecan nuts
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt – Both of these add an extra layer of moisture for super soft fluffy cupcakes, full-fat is best
  • Ground nutmeg – Finely ground shop-bought nutmeg is fine or you can grate your own into the mixture
  • Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten-free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice
  • Salt – Salt is needed in order to balance out the sweetness
  • Icing sugar – Standard icing sugar, sifted to avoid a lumpy frosting
  • Salted Caramel -Any salted caramel cream will work here, just check the label that it is gluten-free. I tend to go for the thicker, creamier ones rather than the runnier, but either will work well
  • Milk or heavy double cream – Either works well for the frosting, double cream will however add that extra creaminess
  • Pretzels – No salted caramel cupcakes are complete without some mini salted German pretzels to top them off, just make sure to use gluten-free ones


  • Room temperature ingredients are imperative so as not to create a mixture that curdles.
  • If you forget to take your eggs out of the refrigerator in advance, pop them into a bowl of lukewarm water (not boiling or hot), for around 15 minutes. This helps to gently bring them to room temperature without cooking them!
  • Some of the cheaper cupcake cases tend to stick to your cupcakes, ruining that magical moment when you peel back the paper to see a beautifully baked cupcake. In order to minimize the disappointment here, try to purchase cases that have non-stick on the label or lightly grease the cases before pouring in the mixture with a silicone greasing brush and a bit of oil or butter.

Salted Caramel Pecan Cupcakes

Deliciously moist pecan flavored cupcakes with a salted caramel buttercream and pretzel topping

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hours

Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Difficulty: easy

Author: Sarah | Baked by Sarah, Gluten Free


For the cupcakes:
  • 230g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 115g margarine
  • 3 egg whites at room temperature
  • 40g almond flour
  • 50g ground pecans
  • 120g sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence or paste
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
For the buttercream frosting:
  • 250g butter, room temperature
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy double cream
  • 5 tablespoons salted caramel
  • 12 salted pretzels to top


  1. Preheat the oven to 165 ° C fan assisted and line a cupcake tray with 12 cases.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed in a mixer or with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy, and paler in color.
  3. Whisk in the egg whites one at a time until completely combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and vanilla paste and whisk again until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Sift in the flours, baking powder, ground pecans, xanthan gum, salt and nutmeg and fold in with a spatula until no pockets of flour remain.
  6. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases, filling them 3/4 full.
  7. Bake on the middle shelf for around 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Set the cupcakes aside on a cooling wrack to cool completely whilst preparing the frosting.
  9. For the frosting, cream the butter on the highest setting until light and fluffy and paler in colour.
  10. Slowly sift in the icing sugar in batches and whisk on high speed until combined.
  11. Add the milk and salted caramel, and whisk again until thoroughly combined an no lumps remain.
  12. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes using a 1M piping tip.
  13. Top with chopped pecans and salted pretzels to finish.

Happy Baking!

Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!

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