Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream and Candied Bacon

Let me tell you the one small thing I know about bacon—it’s not really my thing. Except for an occasional BLT. Then bacon is totally my thing. I love a good BLT. But I don’t understand the general public’s fascination of and love for bacon. It’s seriously not all that great.

Now let me tell you the one small thing I know about candied bacon—it’s totally my thing. Holy cow. Why have I not ever had candied bacon before? It’s seriously awesome. I don’t know what made me think of searching for a chocolate/bacon cupcake recipe, but so glad I did. These were a hit with everyone at the office.

choc-bacon-cupcake

I did have some trouble with the original frosting recipe. I think part of it was the type of butter I used, but I’m also wondering if part of the frustration I had with the frosting recipe was the addition of the maple syrup. No matter how much powdered sugar I added, the frosting never set up and got “stiff.” So I switched frosting recipes to a traditional buttercream, used different butter and drizzled the maple syrup on at the end instead of adding it in while making it. It made all of the difference, and turned out so much better. The recipe below is the second one I used.

I ended up using three different recipes to make these, and the links are at the bottom. The original frosting recipe that didn’t work for me is the one included the chocolate cupcake’s source. The picture below isn’t the best, but it’s a better shot of the maple syrup drizzled on top. These are two of the cupcakes I had to re-frost when I decided to ditch the first batch of frosting and make new.

choc-bacon-cupcake2

Just believe me when I say that these are awesome. You may need a couple to become fully satisfied. Between the coarse sea salt popping up in the cupcake and the sweetness from the toppings…so good. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes
Original recipe from The Novice Chef
Makes 24-30 cupcakes

Ingredients
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp coarse salt
3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
5. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each two thirds full. Bake 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Transfer tins to wire racks to completely cool.

Maple Buttercream
Original recipe from Savory Sweet Life
Makes enough for one dozen cupcakes. Double this recipe for two dozen cupcakes.

Ingredients
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter softened
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
¼ tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 4 tbsp milk or heavy cream
Maple Syrup for drizzling

Directions
1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Adding a half of cup at a time, add 3 cups of powdered sugar with your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
2. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream and beat until well combined. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

Candied Bacon
Original recipe from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

Ingredients
6 strips of bacon
Maple syrup
Brown sugar

Directions
1. Heat oven to 375, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay your bacon strips across a baking rack and place the rack on the foil-lined baking sheet.
2. Using a pastry brush or spoon, brush each strip of bacon with a layer of maple syrup and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Flip your strips over, basting and sprinkling with brown sugar again and bake for another 10 minutes. Check bacon, and stick them back in the oven for up to another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Crumble into desired sized pieces.

Frost the cupcakes, top with bacon crumbles and drizzle maple syrup. Serve with a napkin—the maple syrup can make this a messy one!

—m.

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