Bacon could be its own food group. (In my humble, bacon loving opinion.) My love of bacon is no joke. If there is bacon in the ingredient list, count me in. You’ll also find me at bacon related events like the recent Charm City Bacon & Bourbon Wars or the Mixology 101–The ABC’s: Alcohol, Bacon, Cocktails event a while back. This delicious cured pork product can be found in or on just about everything, even cupcakes. So you can see where my mind went when brainstorming my next savory cupcake idea. Why not bake with ingredients you love for Valentine’s day?
With bacon as the key ingredient, I knew chocolate was my next step and I found a great recipe for Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes on 52 Kitchen Adventures. Adapted from Joy of Baking’s chocolate cupcake recipe, this recipe intrigued me with its use of rendered bacon fat in place of some of the butter. After doing a bit more research I found out that you can easily substitute bacon fat for butter in ANY baking recipe as the sub ratio is 1:1. Who knew!
Now, one might think that in order to obtain rendered bacon fat for this recipe, you would have to cook the bacon for the recipe and then wait for that fat to cool. Not the case when you are a true bacon lover and always (and I mean always) have bacon fat in your fridge. Lucky for me I had just enough for this recipe and proceeded with making the batter while the pound of fried bacon strips cooled. Once the batter is mixed, you then add the crumbled bacon. No skimping on bacon flavor with this recipe, with both rendered bacon fat and real bacon crumbles right in the batter. I knew this cupcake was bound for greatness. (Side Note: I ran out of refined sugar and had to use 1tbsp of brown sugar to make up the difference, that substitution didn’t seem to matter, but I wanted to note it.)
With all that savory meat product in the cake, I wanted to make sure the filling and frosting had a sweet balance. So I decided to make the tried and true Chocolate Fudge filling I used in last years Chocolate Blackberry Syrah cupcake. This would add an extra punch of chocolate as well as a smooth texture. The frosting was inspired by the new Crown Royal Maple, because what kind of chocolate bacon cupcake would this be without a little whisky? Making buttercream frosting from scratch comes so naturally to me now that I just measure the butter and liquid (in this case the whisky) and add confectioners sugar until it is as sweet as I like.
Once everything came together, taking that first bite was nerve racking. I wanted so much for this cupcake to taste as fantastic as it looked…
And success! My love of bacon (and chocolate, but mostly bacon) didn’t fail me. Not only did this cupcake taste like a delicious mix of cured pork and smooth chocolate, but it was moist, fluffy and full of flavor. The Crown Royal Maple frosting was subtle, but paired well with the cake and filling. The bits of bacon in the cake were great and didn’t end up being chewy like you might imagine. The crunchy bacon bits on top added the perfect fried bacon texture. My co-workers and friends all seemed to like it as well, noting that they couldn’t believe how much bacon flavor they tasted and they really loved the fudge filling (that filling is always a winner).
The only advice I would give about baking these cupcakes is be careful when baking the cake as the baking time is listed as 15-18 minutes, but mine were done right at 15- any longer and they would have been overdone. Otherwise, get out there, buy some bacon and have at it, I promise these will not disappoint any bacon lover.
– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Elisa (Baltimore, MD)