These are very simple to make. I toasted the pecans on the stove because there were so many of them. If you want to work in small batches you can use the microwave, too. To top the cupcakes, I sprinkled the remaining pecans over the icing. If you would like, you can just mix them into the icing and spread it on.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt ¼ cup of the butter. Add the chopped pecans and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook the pecans. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and remaining cup of butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add the dry mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk. Mix well after each addition. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of the toasted pecans. The remainder will be used to top the cupcakes.
Spoon ¼ cup of batter into each liner. Bake for 13-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 3 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
Butter Pecan Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
8 ½ cups powdered sugar
5 ounces evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream together the butter, vanilla and 3 cups of the powdered sugar. Once well incorporated, add evaporated milk alternating with a cup of sugar at a time until all ingredients have been added. Beat on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Spread on cupcakes and top with remaining 1 1/3 cups toasted pecans.