Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream

Buckle up, cupcakes, there is major cuteness ahoy.

Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream |

What, like you’ve never made a recipe just so you could top it with an adorable miniature candy fruit?

Actually, these pear cupcakes served a dual purpose: I got to indulge my love of whimsy and painfully literal cupcake decorating, and also got to address what is known in our house as The Pear Situation:

Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream |

Remember when I wrote about how I’m a sucker for a good deal? Well, recently I got a chance to buy a giant box of delicious pears for $30. The box was massive, so I split it with a friend…and still ended up with over 50 pears in my half box. They were rock-hard at first, but within a few days they all ripened at once, which means after I’d gorged myself eating them plain, I was left scrambling for things to do with them.

I asked my Facebook peeps for ideas, and got tons of great suggestions for pear recipes. I’ll be sharing some of my pear creations over the next month—spaced out so that you don’t suffer from pear fatigue like I am. (#firstworldproblems much?) First up: Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream!

Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream |

These cupcakes are made with diced fresh pears and a hint of cinnamon. The flavor is subtle (which is true of most pear baked goods) but you can still taste the pears, and the moist texture is amazing. I topped them with a sweet, delicately flavored honey buttercream—it doesn’t overwhelm the light pear flavor, but instead complements it perfectly. I added a splash of orange blossom water to the buttercream, because I am an old person and want all of my sweets to taste like flowers. I loved the floral and citrus notes it added, but you can skip it or substitute another extract like almond, orange, or lemon.

Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream |

Each cupcake was topped with one of these Swiss Petite Pear candies from Oh Nuts. I used them as part of the candy buffet at our Very Hungry Caterpillar party back in April, and afterward, when I saw I had a few dozen left, I decided to save them for some cupcake decorations. As with most cupcake toppers, they’re absolutely not necessary but also absolutely adorable.

If you want to try your hand at making your own, you can use marzipan to make candy pears quickly and easily. Sweetapolita has a marzipan pear recipe she topped with gold glitter, and Bakingdom stuffed hers with a chocolate-dipped hazelnut.

Happy weekend, everyone! I hope your days are filled with cupcakes and sweetness and, maybe, wee fruit-shaped candies.

Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream |

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Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream
yield: 24 cupcakes

For the Pear Cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups finely diced pears (from 2 large ripe pears)

For the Honey Buttercream:
1 3/4 cups (12.25 oz) granulated sugar
9 egg whites, room temperature
1 lb butter, softened but still cool
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (6 oz) honey
1 tsp orange blossom water (optional)

To Make the Pear Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 24 paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put the  butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and mix in the finely diced pears. Don’t worry if the batter looks broken at this point. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is almost entirely combined. Stop the mixer and finish by hand, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl well.

Divide the batter among the lined cups. Fill them only about 2/3 full–this recipe produces cupcakes with a flat top, so if they’re overfilled, they will spread out instead of crowning, and be less attractive. Bake until the tops are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched, about 20-22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely at room temperature before frosting them.

To Make the Honey Buttercream:
Combine the egg whites and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whisk them together. Choose a small saucepan that lets you fit the base of the stand mixer snugly into the top of the saucepan—this is your makeshift hot water bath. (Alternately, you can use a different bowl or an actual bain marie and then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl once it’s heated.) Add an inch of water to the bottom of the saucepan, and bring the water to a simmer.

Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom isn’t in contact with the water, and heat the egg white mixture. Whisk frequently so that the egg whites don’t cook. Continue to heat the whites until they are hot to the touch, and when you rub a bit between your fingers, you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar. Once the whites are hot, transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer and fit it with a whisk attachment.

Beat the whites on high speed until they are no longer warm to the touch—feel the outside of the bowl, and make sure that it is around room temperature. Depending on your mixer and the temperature of your environment, this may take 10-20 minutes, or more. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the softened but cool butter in small chunks, a tablespoon at a time, making sure to wait in between additions. It may separate or look a little gloopy at this point—fear not. Once all of the butter is added, increase the speed again and whip until it comes together and is light and fluffy. If, after 5 minutes, it hasn’t come together, refrigerate the mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes, to cool the mixture down, and whip it again.

Add the salt, honey, vanilla extract, and orange blossom water, if you’re using it, and mix until well-blended. The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it’s been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until it softens, then re-whip it to get the fluffy texture back before you use it.

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29 Responses to Pear Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream
  1. These are ever so cute, I love that mini pear on top! And that buttercream looks fantastic too ;-)
    Enjoy your weekend, Elizabeth! x

  2. Johlene says:

    I love the idea of pear cupcakes with honey flavoured frosting.. just seems to match perfectly!! The little pear sweets are the perfect finish touch!!

    Have a great weekend!
    Flavours & Frosting

  3. OMG, these look wonderful! I love love your website, so many delicious sweet cakes! I am not good at baking, so I am really envious of your baking skills!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you Cindy, that is so sweet! I have to say the baking is a result of years of practice and even more years of eating desserts. :) :) :)

  4. I love those little bitty pear candies. I think I might be able to doctor them into pear buns. . . . I’m still obsessed. These cupcakes look lovely. Perfectly sweet but not too sweet. Can’t wait to see the fruits of “the pear situation”!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Sara! They actually have lots of cute teensy fruit–I basically want to stick all of them on different cupcakes. :) Love the idea of pear buns too! I would be all over that if you give it a go.

  5. I’ve never seen pear cupcakes! Or those adorable little candies:) What a cupcake, Liz, especially with that honey buttercream. A new combo – must try this! Thanks!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I know, I don’t know why pear cupcakes don’t get much love! Maybe because they’re more of a muffin flavor? Well, I love them, and totally recommend you give them a try!

  6. Wow, you and I are exactly the same!!! I too am a sucker for a good deal, and am currently sitting on about 20 pounds of apples and pears! These look amazing! Where did you find the orange blossom water? I have been looking for it for awhile.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, it’s so hard to turn down a good bargain–and then you end up having pears for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. :) I found the orange blossom water at my local grocery store, but it does have a large Middle Eastern food section, so that may not be the norm.

  7. I so know what it feels like to end up with 50 IMMEDIATELY RIPE fruits! And I love a challenge, too! Especially when the result is caaaake.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I know! I ended up freezing the last of them and have been having pear smoothies for the last few weeks–it’s weird but it works. And caaaake is always a winner!

  8. These are, without a doubt, one of the CUTEST cupcakes EVERRRRRR!!!!! that honey buttercream with orange blossom…. Gosh! I can taste what it will be like with the cupcakes! DE-LICCCCC-IOUS!!!! :)

  9. Oh my!! These may just be about the cutest cupcakes I’ve ever seen. They look delicious!

  10. I made cupcakes yesterday and also made honey buttercream. Mine might have been with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey though. :)

    These sound great and I love the idea of seasonal fruit; makes them healthy cupcakes right?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh heeeey brain twin! Sounds like great minds think alike! And yes, adding pears basically makes these a health food–pear cupcakes for breakfast, anyone?

  11. Danguole says:

    I think your bargain shopping “problem” works out nicely for us! The internet is all the better for it, trust me.

    Also, I love how these could have been super-healthy muffins but no! You wouldn’t do such a ridiculous thing. LOVE IT.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Super-healthy muffins? You insult me! I SAID GOOD DAY SIR.

      [Seriously, though, I love me a good muffin too. I think I need to add a few to my recipe archive! The question is, should I add some blue cheese or what? :) ]

  12. […] it over the edge from snack/breakfast food to a true dessert!  I started with this cupcake recipe from Sugar Hero and this frosting recipe from Chow and tweaked it as you see below.  This is […]

  13. McJerz says:


    I made this recipe yesterday and it was a big hit! I ended up baking them in mini cocottes because I managed to misplace my muffin tin, but they still turned out excellent!

    I am literally in the same predicament you were, I just bought 20lbs of pears because it was a great deal and now I’ve got to find something to do with all of them!

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! And how terrible is it that every baking recipe only calls for a few pears, so you’re still left with a giant box at the end of it?? I don’t know how that works, but it’s totally true. :) Good luck finishing your 20 lbs!

  14. Matea says:

    Honey buttercream! Topped with those cute little pears–who can resist? Not I :)

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