From the Cupcake Archives. Originally posted in early 2007. Some of you may argue that the bacon dessert fad is passe and overdone. Yet this posted up way before the craze went overboard. Studded with bacon and with bacon grease and butter as the base fat you get plenty of bacon flavor. Brown sugar and maple syrup ensure an addicting sweetness. I've rewritten the post and taken new photographs of the recipe.
This is the original bacon cupcake recipe. Enjoy.
So the original impetus for this - as with so many other projects I take on - was an inside joke. Back in high school, in the ancient years of dial-up and when the Spice Girls were still on the radio, my friends and I had a little thing call The Passbook.
The Passbook was essentially a choose your own adventure-like story of inside jokes and snide humor that was crafted by our little group. One of us would start a story and then after some set-up, would pass it on to someone else who would write the next section. Often it was all rather inane, though after Columbine we had to keep it hidden as in many of the pages characters who were real people were often killed multiple times (always in humorous manner such as being run over by a HomeGrocer.com truck or death by irony). One of the inside jokes and characters we created was Beatis Goddessa, the Bacon Goddess. B.G. for short.
She became the central mascot of every little project we made and passbook we wrote. B.G. had white hair, spoke in Middle English, wore a skimpy little outfit, and had the power to turn anything or anyone into bacon. Her Ultimate Attack? The Hyper Bacon Cannon where she would fire a beam of bacon flavored pain at her enemies and, verily, smite them with much badassery.
It sounds silly now, I suppose. (Okay, I know.) However, we loved her.
I was talking with my best friend, Janelle, my bud since we were both five and whom our parents thought would be my future bride (if not for the whole, you know, gay thing on my side of the equation). She and I had been major participants of The Passbook and B.G. held a lot of meaning. As we chatted we moved from high school reminiscence to cooking and she suggested making a cupcake inspired by B.G.
A bacon cupcake? At the time, back in 2007, it was an odd suggestion. Practically unfathomable.
The first thing I decided to do at was call up friend and dessert chef extraordinaire Shuna Lydon. I explained that I knew the cupcake had to use maple syrup as it seemed a logical sugar to offset the saltiness of the bacon, and because, darn it, it tasted so good when the syrup lugubriously crawled over from my waffles to the bacon on my Sunday breakfast.
She gave me a few quick lessons in utilizing maple syrup in baked goods and how to keep a batter from breaking due to it's chemical composition. From there we seemed to have proper balance of salty to sweet.
Ahh, but how to cram in enough bacon flavor? Yes, you can add crumbled bacon on top of the cupcake or crumble it in, but it can get lost once you frost it. No, what you do is make bacon and allow the grease to solidify. Beat it with butter as your base fat, a classic southern baking trick often used for cornbread or biscuits, and you have a super bacony cake crumb.
This cupcake is an outside-of-the-box cupcake. A breakfast cupcake. A cupcake for those who eat with no fear.
In a cupcake.
Yeeeah. That's right. It's okay to swoon, scream in lust, and throw your underwear at the screen in adoration. I'll pause for a second. Just be sure to wipe your saliva off the keyboard before you continue reading.
The maple frosting can be sprinkled with large grain turbinado sugar and flake salt to create layers of texture and flavor. Another way to go about garnishing the cupcake is a piece of bacon. Admittedly, the latter works better for appearance and is far easier, but using the large grain sugar and flake salt will ensure a far more satisfying and engaging treat (depending who you talk to).
I also encourage you to use quality, locally produced bacon. The fat will be purer, the taste not so artificially salty, and you'll get more pork with a huskier and meatier flavor.
If you're a fan of salty-sweet combos, then you'll like this cupcake as it shows off bacon's true versatility as not just a tasty breakfast bit, but a true key ingredient in sweet things. Bacon is a curious ingredient that's eager to preform for you, and prove its worth as more than a side to your scrambled eggs. I think if you like to dip your bacon in the pool of maple syrup around your waffles then you'll like this cupcake.
Special thanks to my best bud, Janelle, for the awesome picture of Bacon Goddess.
Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Makes 6-8 / 350F oven
4 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon bacon drippings (left in the fridge to become solid)
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
1 1/4 cup self rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
minuscule pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup minced bacon, cooked and drained (extra for garnish, if desired)
large grain turbinado sugar (optional, for garnish))
flake salt (optional, for garnish)
1) Cook some bacon in a fry pan (about 6 thick strips). Reserve the drippings and place in the fridge to solidify. Mince 1/4 a cup of the bacon. The chef should eat whatever is left to assure that the bacon is tasty.
2) Beat the crud out of the butter and solidified bacon fat 'till light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat well until combined.
3) Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
4) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder together. Seriously, do it. You want a fine crumb for this recipe.
5) Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix, then 1/2 of the milk, then continue to alternate the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the bacon.
6) Scoop into cupcake papers and bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes for even baking.
Maple Syrup Frosting
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
1 cup of powdered sugar
Combine the syrup and butter until combined. Add the sugar, a bit at a time, and whip at high speeds until combined. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Sprinkle on flake salt and turbinado sugar or top with crispy shards of bacon for decoration and a lot of added flavor.