Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

My sister Cathy is a genius.  She's been playing around with cupcakes recently and came up with a fabulous combination.  Since she doesn't have a blog of her own she said I could share the recipe here on mine.  She's also generous and super cool.

The cupcake starts with a fabulous buttermilk cake recipe.  It has the perfect level of sweetness and it's moist with a lovely small crumb.   The buttermilk flavor is reminiscent of good pancakes and the perfect accompaniment to the bacon. Then crispy fried bacon pieces are mixed into the batter (with a few sprinkled on top of the batter just before it goes in the oven.) When the cupcakes are cooled, they are frosted with a maple cream cheese frosting.  It may sound crazy, but the combination of salty and sweet is perfect and a lot of fun.

If you've got a BBQ to go to this summer, try bringing these along.  You'll be the hit of the party and everyone will think you are brilliant.  You are brilliant after all, so why not show it off?

Buttermilk Cupcakes

3/4 c softened butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c buttermilk + 1 T
2 3/4 c cake flour
1/2 salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks.
3/4 lb bacon (preferably maple smoked) cut into small pieces and fried until crispy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the 1 T buttermilk and 1 t vanilla.  Sift together the dry ingredients.  add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter, stopping just before the flour is fully mixed in.  Add 1/2 the buttermilk.  Then add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the last of the buttermilk, and then the last of the flour.  Finish stirring in the flour by hand.   Gently fold in the egg whites.   Set aside 24 pieces of bacon for garnish.  Fold in 3/4 of the remaining bacon pieces.

Portion out into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners.    Just before putting pans in the oven sprinkle the rest bacon pieces over each cupcake.  Bake for around 15 minutes until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed.   Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. This should make 24 standard sized cupcakes.

When cool frost with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and garnish with bacon pieces set aside earlier.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese
1/2 c butter
3 c powdered sugar
1-2 t Maple extract (I use the Mapline brand.  Flavor to taste.   Add more if you really want to punch up the maple flavor.  You can use real maple syrup but that would take some monkeying with the ingredients and it would end up being even sweeter frosting.  It's up to you.)

Mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.   This does make a lot of frosting, but if you are going to use large frosting tips to frost the cupcakes, you will need this much.  You'll notice that mine only have one layer of frosting on top.  If you are going to make soft ice cream style peaks with the frosting, you'll need even more frosting than this, so count on having to double the recipe.  When the cupcakes are frosted, put a little piece of bacon on top of each cup cake, just so no one is surprised to find bacon when they bite in.

This cake recipe is fantastic.  It would make a great base for many different kinds of cupcakes.  The buttermilk adds a really lovely flavor and texture to the cake.  If you do make yourself some Maple Bacon Cupcakes, let me know how they are received.  My sister and I would love to know.