The Odd Couple: Bacon and the Cupcake

Constituent: Bacon

Representative: Cupcake

 

Bacon cupcakes instagram photo

Bacon is by no means underrepresented in the food world. But in the dessert world, it has little-to-no-voice. There is such a thing as Caramelized Bacon but I’m much happier with what the cupcake has done for this beautiful, crunchy, salty, artery-clogging meat. I can honestly say this is the only non-vegetarian baked good I have ever made. And I think that’s something to be proud of.

The Supplies
The Supplies

French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream and Bacon

(adapted from this recipe)

Makes 24 standard cupcakes

To make the streusel:

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

  1. Combine the brown sugar, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the cold butter into the mixture by hand, squishing the pieces in to mix it
  3. Cover and freeze while you prepare the cupcakes.

My input on the streusel: If you want to save time, or you hate mashing cold butter into flour, you can skip the streusel all together. But if you do decide to make it, a fork works well for the mashing. Or a food processor. Food processors are basically magic—but be careful not to over mix it. It should have a crumbly quality to it.

look at those crumbles
look at those crumbles

To make the cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbls baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbls vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Add the butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and mix well, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Incorporate any remaining flour by folding the batter with a spatula.
  4. Place three tablespoons of batter in each prepared baking cup.
  5. Divide the streusel evenly among the cupcakes, and sprinkle it on each one.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

My input on ingredients: I used cake flour. I’m not too sure it made much of a difference but, hey, it definitely didn’t hurt. Also, you can always use Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream if you’re a fan of that.

My input on the cupcakes: So it’s odd to make cake batter this way but it worked out just fine. There were some stray dry ingredients in the bowl that I had to fold in but that was no big deal. Try and work quickly when doling the batter into the tins as the baking powder is reacting on two-fronts as soon as you add the wet ingredients to the mix. The sooner you get those babies in the oven, the lighter they’ll be. There is an EXCESSIVE amount of streusel so don’t be shy about covering the cupcakes with it. Any left over can be frozen and used later for whatever you please.

cupcakes in oven

To make the Maple Buttercream:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
  2. Beat in the sugar.
  3. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and syrup.
  4. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes.

My input on the frosting: Buttercreams get their light texture from being beaten like there’s no tomorrow. And I KNOW you probably groan audibly just like I do when a recipe specifies times for which you have to mix things. It’s like, I just wanna eat this cupcake man, I don’t have the time! But seriously, make the time. It’s worth it. Then, when adding the sugar, do it a little at a time, about 1/2 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition. I stopped at 3 cups of sugar and decided it was enough especially since the maple syrup was still going to be added. Don’t skimp on the sugar too much though because you need the dryness of the sugar to hold the buttercream together after adding the wet ingredients.

Zee Buttercream. Very light considering it has all that butter in it
Zee Buttercream. Very light considering it has all that butter in it

To make the BACON(!):

1/2 a package of Thick-cut bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a cooling rack (oven safe!) on top of a baking sheet (NOT a cookie sheet, this pans needs edges y’all)
  2. Lay bacon flat on cooling rack and place in oven
  3. After about 10 minutes, remove from oven and flip the bacon over and place back in oven
  4. After another 10 minutes, remove the bacon again. It should be nice and crispy! If it’s not, then put it back in the oven but keep an eye on it
  5. Let cool COMPLETELY on paper towels (to soak up the bulk of that grease)

My input on Bacon: You might want to make the whole package of bacon because…I mean…look at it. Also, any self-respecting cook or chef knows the importance of tasting. And you’ll need to taste at least 3 or 4 slices of this to make sure it’s good enough for the cupcakes. At one point I started to think we were saying it too frequently but now I’m thinking “one more time for luck”—I love you, Bacon. 

Fresh out of the oven!
Fresh out of the oven!

The Major Assembly:

  1. Pipe on the frosting or you can just shmear it on in not particular manner. But lay it on a bit thick! It is the glue that holds the bacon to the cupcake.
  2. Cut the cooled bacon in half or into three pieces
  3. Stick a piece of bacon in that buttercream
  4. Admire your handiwork

Obviously, you can assemble these beauties any way you want. Want to crumble the bacon? Go for it! Want to eat all the bacon instead of putting it on the cupcakes? It’s your kitchen.

Happy Baking!

Behold!
Behold!
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