After a lot of talk, I finally did it. Put bacon in a cupcake. I am personally a huge fan of bacon and was really excited about this. Some of my faithful taste testers turned up their nose. Poor life choice on their part, because these were amazing. It started with my new cake book, Vintage Cakes.
My friend was having a baby shower in a few weeks, so I gave her the book and told her to pick out a cake. She chose a burnt sugar cake with maple cream cheese frosting. Good call. Then I asked her how would she feel about bacon being added in and her husband answered, “YES”. I figured I shouldn’t add bacon to the whole cake because some people have this crazy notion that bacon doesn’t belong on cake, but I did intend to make a few cupcakes with the same batter and frosting to try it out.
My other change was to add a chocolate ganache. I felt like using maple cream cheese frosting for filling and the frosting would make it way too sweet, so I decided to layer it with chocolate ganache instead to balance out all that sweet. Another good call.
The name “burnt sugar” honestly doesn’t sound that appetizing to me- but melting sugar is how you get caramel and caramel is one of my baking food groups so I figured this had to be good. The name comes from melting sugar- it melts, there’s smoke, it smells like it’s burning- and you end up with this “burnt” sugar syrup. This syrup was added to the cake batter therefore giving the cake it’s name. I get nervous every time I cook sugar because it’s ALL about timing and pretty easy to mess up, but I managed to get it right the first time with this one. Score.
I followed the Burnt Sugar Cake recipe verbatim from Vintage Cakes, and it turned out completely awesome. The only thing is that it says to pour the batter between three 8″ pans, I only used two. Granted I wanted taller cakes because I knew I wanted to creat four layers. If you want three layers, by all means use three pans. This probably makes a little over 2 dozen cupcakes.
Burnt Sugar Cake
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. hot water
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 3/4 c. butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. maple syrup
- 1/3 c. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. whole milk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350*.
To make the burnt sugar syrup, melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. You can swirl the pan but do not stir. When the sugar is melted and amber in color, remove from heat. Slowly and gradually add the hot water. Once all the water has been added, return the pan to medium heat and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the syrup. Stir occasionally to keep sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove the syrup from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and maple syrup. Add in the oil and vanilla. Blend in the egg yolks and eggs one at a time. In a small bowl, combine the burnt sugar syrup and whole milk. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and syrup mixture (beginning and ending with the flour). Divide batter between cups and bake for 20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
Being the multi-tasker that I am, I decided to bake the bacon at the same time as the cupcakes. I laid out several strips of bacon on a baking sheet and slid it on the bottom rack under the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes were cool, I decided to dip the cupcakes into the ganache instead of filling them like I usually do. Mark that under anther good call. Just enough chocolate to add some a little somethin somethin, but still not be the dominating flavor.
From here, pipe on some maple cream cheese frosting. If you’re wondering how to make that…make cream cheese frosting and add some maple. But be careful- due to the maple and the cream cheese this frosting can be difficult to frost with because it doesn’t hold it’s shape. That just means it’s more delicious. Crumble your bacon into tiny pieces and sprinkle them on top. Perfect sweet and salty cupcake!!