So basketball fans, here we sit in the elbow-deep in the throes of March Madness. Oh, the things I know about basketball could fill volumes...

well maybe not volumes. Maybe a volume. or a page. Do I hear a paragraph? AAAArrrrgggh! Okay, I know next to nothing about basketball! But I used to know some things. Back in the 80's when I lived at home and we watched Wide World of Sports (agony of defeat, or my-feet as we used to say) I know tons about b-ball. Growing up just an hour outside of Boston I could name and point out nearly all of the Celtics. Larry Bird, Kevin McCale, and the Chief, Robert Parish reigned.

The police chief in my hometown was Jack "The Shot" Foley from the 1962-63 Celtics team and revered player for Holy Cross in the late 50's. Yes, Jack's kids played ball for our high school and back then I never missed a game.

These days, I don't have TV so watching a game is pretty moot, but making treats for my bracket-loving co-workers is always a thrill for me. Just as I follow my friends football post-season Patriot's woes on Facebook, I watch their hoops elation too. Recently one of my former pre-school students scored her 1,000th point for our high school team and it was a delight to see the pictures. The little girl I knew in matching tights and hair bows has grown into a strong, talented young lady with a great sense of fair play. Bravo Miss Lacey!

Now forgive my lack of roundball reliability, but hopefully my baking talent will be my saving grace. May I present [Butterscotch Pecan Cupcakes]. (see what I did there with the brackets?)

I'm a big fan of the two-stage method for mixing cake batter. Basically, you combine all ingredients except half of the liquid, beat for two minutes, add the rest of the liquid and beat for two more. Very simple, and the resulting batter gives you a tender, fine-grained cake that domes nicely.

So, into the bowl will go

    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup butter, softened
    1/3 cup white granulated sugar
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/3 cup milk, room temperature
    1 egg
    1/4 teaspoon extra strong butterscotch flavor
    2 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps (optional, but very good)

Add the 1/3 remaining milk and beat for another two minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times.

Scoop the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins and bake at 350°F for 18 to 22 minutes. These cupcakes dome slightly and then settle a bit while cooling. One of my favorite parts of these cuppers is the crisp, nutty, baked edge.

Turn the cupcakes out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Cooling them in the pan will cause them to steam, making for soggy bottoms and tough edges.

Mmm, pecan goodness in little flecks throughout every butterscotch-y bite.  While these are actually wonderful without any frosting at all, they are even better with some Italian Buttercream.

You'll need about 1 1/2 cups of prepared Italian Buttercream, flavored with 1/8 teaspoon of butterscotch flavoring and 2 tablespoons of butterscotch schnapps.

Love to jazz it up a bit?  Adding some homemade butterscotch candy crunch to the icing adds a nice finish. Check out our blog on homemade candy making for a recipe and directions. During photography day, we had a great time snacking on the candy bits that didn't make it into the pictures.

If you want to go all out with the basketball theme, you can roll balls of orange fondant and use food safe markers to draw on the lines.  Just try to keep your co-workers from tossing them around the room too much!

Please make, rate and review our recipe for Butterscotch Pecan Cupcakes

Print just the recipe

While you are at it, why not turn March Madness into Cupcake Madness: Your team advanced? Make Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. Knocked out a rival? You deserve White on White Cupcake. and Grasshopper Cupcakes are your reward for not gloating (well, not too much) at the water cooler.

Filed Under: Recipes
MaryJane Robbins
The Author

About MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team the following year. MJ loves to create decorated cookies for the catalogue, and blog about all kinds of foods, especially sweet treats.