You Said Bacon What?!

Mouth. Is. Watering.

With the growing popularity of shows like Cupcake Wars on the Food Network and DC Cupcakes on TLC, cupcake mania has swept the nation. Pint-sized, decorated, delicious samplings – who could resist such a cute, sweet treat? Standard fare at birthday parties, the traditional vanilla and chocolate have reigned for decades. Although, with the recent trend of cupcakes in lieu of cake at weddings and other momentous occasions, artisans have been inspired to whip up some inventive concoctions.

Just when you think about every combination of ingredients possible has been tried and used in a cupcake, you turn around and see something like hibiscus mango, strawberry champagne or… [gasp] bacon maple! Now that’s just crazy talk. Mangos and strawberries are delicate and sweet, like what you think a ‘normal’ cupcake should taste like. That makes sense. Bacon on the other hand is salty, crunchy (or wiggly!) and simply not something that should be anywhere near a dessert.

Of course then you start to think about it a little more… you like bacon. Or moreover you love bacon! And that smell… the smell of bacon sizzling on the stove for lazy Sunday morning breakfasts. For breakfast people make pancakes, putting on sweet syrup and eating it with bacon. Pancakes are essentially a ‘cake’ no? Suddenly this oddity seems rather logical and dare we say it… genius!

For those who’ve not yet fainted or immediately opened a new browser googling pictures of nice, ordinary pretty cupcakes, this is now officially something you must try. Besides, seeing the faces on your family and friends once you show them your delicious masterpiece will be worth it.

Bacon Maple Ganache Cupcakes
Courtesy of Food.com
Serves: 18

Ingredients

Cupcakes:
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
• 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans (2 sticks)
• 1 3/4 cups sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons maple extract
• 1 1/4 cups milk

Ganache: (fancy word for silky, yum frosting)
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 lb semisweet chocolate, chopped or 1 lb chocolate chips
• 1 pinch salt

Oh, and bacon. Of course.

Directions

Cupcakes:
• Preheat oven to 350°F
• Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
• Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
• In the a different bowl with a mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
• Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in maple extract.
• With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk. Beat until all combined.
• Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full (Ice cream scoop works amazing for this)

Bake 20 minutes until golden and the a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (Or until your house smells like pancakes!)

Ganache:
• In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream to full boil; turn off heat.
• Add chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover with cream.
• Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. (To get silky-smooth ganache takes longer to mix than you think!)
• Add salt; stir until combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and let chill overnight or until spreadable.
• When cupcakes have cooled, spread some ganache on top.
• While the cupcakes are chilling, cook up some of your favorite bacon however you like it. (Crunchy and toasted is recommended. Store bought pre-cut pieces will do)
• Chop in pieces, top the cupcakes, and voilà!

While we’d all like to think of ourselves as the next Cake Boss, sometimes we just need to admit to ourselves we could use a little assistance. By this I mean the help (and speed) of cake mixes and pre-made frosting. Soo much faster, easier, but still just as delectable!

For this, you will want to prepare any type of butter or vanilla cake mix (as instructed on the box) for 24 cupcakes. You can really experiment with which cake flavor your use and get a little creative here. Duncan Hines has a caramel cake mix! While those are being baked and cooled, for the frosting you can use any kind of vanilla or butter cream will work. Try to keep the frosting a rather plain flavor, nothing too crazy because the next step is to add about a tablespoon of maple syrup/pancake syrup. This is about personal taste as you can add more or less depending on how sweet you want it.

Incorporate the syrup into the frosting well. Swirl onto cupcakes and top with diced bacon! (Note: bacon bits are not suggested, as they don’t have that ‘authentic’ bacon flavor and texture). Scooping frosting into the corner of a gallon sized plastic bag and snipping the tip makes for really easy frosting that looks like what you’d find in a bakery. This is a good idea too for those of you who prefer vanilla flavorings to chocolate.

Would you ever try the bacon maple ganache cupcake?

♥AUTHOR: KATIE LOPERFIDO

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