French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes

French Toast Cupcakes
Adapted from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson
Makes 14

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and then cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup milk
10-12 slices bacon

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking pan with paper liners.

2. Cook bacon in batches by prefered method until browned, but still slightly flexible. Soak up any extra oil on paper towels and set aside to cool. Once bacon is cooled enough to handle, cut a couple slices of bacon into inch-long pieces. This will be the decoration on top of the cupcake, so make as many as you think you'll need. Set aside. Chop or tear the remaining bacon into tiny pieces. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in maple extract. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mix and two of milk, beating until smooth. Fold in small bacon pieces. Mix until evenly distributed throughout batter.

5. Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

Maple Buttercream
Adapted from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson
Makes enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes

2 cups confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I used some pure Maple syrup made right here in Ohio!)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
Pinch of salt

1. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, maple extract, and salt, and beat until well combined. Add confectioner's sugar, half cup at a time, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2. Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Top with inch-long bacon pieces.

Baking with Bacon? Who thought that was a good idea? Really. Who came up with it? Who sat there and thought, you know what? Bacon would be amazing in this dessert. I'd love to know who it was, because I totally want to shake their hand and give them a great big pat on the back. I never thought I'd make bacon with anything other than eggs and toast, or maybe pancakes or waffles. I certainly didn't think I'd ever mix bacon with cupcakes. But thanks to the genius that came up with the Best Use of Bacon category at Cupcake Camp (not sure if it was Kiesha, Carmen, or another brilliant mind), I gave it a shot. And it was amazing. Seriously. Amazing. Okay, maybe not like mind-blowing, I-have-to-sit-down kind of amazing. But still pretty awesome. And apparently I wasn't the only one that thought so.

When Kiesha first talked about organizing Cupcake Camp, I was really excited. I totally wanted to be a part of it. Then she told me the categories I could compete in if I so chose. Most Creative Decoration, Best Vegan, Best Use of Alcohol, and Best Use of Bacon. Crap. What was I going to do with those?? After deciding at first to try the Decoration category, I changed my mind. If I'm going to enter into a competition, I'm going to pick the one that's going to make me work the hardest to get it right. I went for Bacon because, honestly, what the hell can I do with bacon and a cupcake?

I was so excited to tell Boyfriend about the Bacon category. I thought he, of all people, would be the most excited about it! Sadly, he didn't show as much enthusiasm as I thought he would.. He was intrigued, but not the "OMG That's AWESOME!" that I thought he would be.. Maybe my delivery was off. But he was still up to helping me figure out what to do. His initial suggestion was to bake the cupcake into a bacon cup. Like a slab on Canadian Bacon stuffed into a cupcake pan, with the cupcake poured into it and baked. Interesting concept, and done very well with eggs on the cover of Gale Gand's Brunch book, but logistically I don't know that cupcakes would work. (Plus the idea of it slightly disgusts me. Sorry!) So onto more brainstorming. I started thinking, what do I like to eat bacon with? Eggs. Scrambled Egg Cupcake? Ew. That's out. What else? I eat it with pancakes and waffles.. and French Toast. With lots of syrup. Wait a minute. French Toast and Syrup... I could make a cupcake that tastes like French Toast and top it with a frosting that tastes like syrup. And I could throw bacon in it! I think I'm onto something here!

My first test run of the cupcakes was a raving success! The only complaint? Needs more bacon! The cupcake I thought I would agonize over, reworking and refining the recipe to find the perfect balance of flavors came out nearly perfect on the first try. Now to figure out the frosting; I had 2 maple buttercream recipes to decide between. The first was a Martha Stewart recipe. I've never gone wrong with Martha, so I figured it would be okay. Looking at the recipe, I immediately spotted a slight problem. It takes 6 egg yolks. And the only thing that cooks these yolks is the 2 cups of maple syrup you boil and mix in. And that's it. Other than the butter, there's no other ingredients. I worried about making these to take to a cupcake event where they'll sit out for a couple hours. What if the syrup didn't cook the yolks? What if I make everyone sick!? I decided against Martha's recipe and went with the recipe I found in the the same book I found my French Toast Cupcake recipe in. No eggs, and no boiling involved. And it came out fantastic. I had my combination!

When baking day came, I had to triple the recipe to make the 3 dozen I was required to bring. This meant cooking an entire package of bacon! (And using an entire roll of paper towels while cooking them.. and now my microwave smells like bacon every time I use it.) It wasn't until after I cooked and chopped up all the bacon that I realized I hadn't left any to top my cupcakes with. That meant another grocery store run later for a whole new package of bacon. Story of my life. I had originally thought to make candied bacon as my topper, but after wasting 4 pieces in a bubbling, sticky mess the morning of the Camp, I decided to forgo the candied bacon and stick with regular. There just wasn't enough time to mess with potential disasters. I was already sort of freaking out about the frosting after running out of Strawberry Buttercream for my Neapolitans. I was worried I'd have to whip up some more, and I was running out of time. Luckily, the double batch I'd made was more than enough, so I could relax a little.

Bringing the cupcakes to Camp, I noticed I wasn't the only one who thought to try Bacon cupcakes. I was up against 4 other bakers in the category! Who knew bacon was so popular! With flavors like Pretentious Pork and The Elvis, I was in trouble. And another Maple Bacon flavor?? I'd never stand a chance in the competition! They all looked so good! After eating my way through 15 of the flavors featured at Cupcake Camp, it was time to hand out the prizes. I held my breath as the winner of the Best Use of Bacon was announced. (You'd think I was up for an Oscar with how nervous I was!) And the winner is... Me! I won! Yay! I couldn't believe it! The judges picked me! (I really don't think I've ever won anything in my life, so it's still amazing to me!) I was so excited to claim my $50 gift certificate to Sassafras Bakery that I forgot I had promised Boyfriend I'd yell "Yay Bacon!" if I won. Oh well. Maybe next time.

So Bacon in a cupcake actually works! One of the judges--the owner of Sassafras Bakery!--told me after the event that she voted for me because my cupcakes hit all the senses. I have to say I kind of agree. Maybe I'm just a little biased, but I thought they looked pretty! And smelled really good. Very maple-y. The taste was pretty awesome too! Sweet maple flavor with a hint of spice from the cinnamon, and a blast of saltiness from the bacon. Mmm. But I guess that's not really all the senses.. Maybe the wrapper felt nice and soft when you held it in your hand? And if you listen closely, you might be able to hear the bacon sizzling in the pan (or microwave..)? Ah, who cares about touch and hearing! They're not important!

The moral of the story? Always push yourself to try something new. Who would have thought I'd ever make a Bacon flavored cupcake? And who would have thought other people would like it? Enough to award me a prize. I certainly didn't know. But I gave it a shot, and worked hard to make it the best I could, and look where it got me! So, challenge yourself. Everyday. You never know when or how you'll be rewarded.

See more about Cupcake Camp and get the recipe for my Neapolitans!
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Kara said...

They look awesome, looks like you did an incredible job, still sounds weird though x

Anonymous said...

You can't be serious

Danae said...

Kara- It was a little weird for me too going into it, but once I actually tasted it, it's quite good! I'm totally one for the sweet and salty combo though.

Anonymous- Totally serious. About as serious as the heart attack that pound and a half of bacon I made would induce.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Can we be best friends?? Seriously!!

Chocolaty Lifestyle said...

What a yummy and beautiful result :))

Ingrid_3Bs said...

YAY BACON!!!!! There I yelled it for you!!

Those look good and sound really interesting! I think I'd dig 'em.

Congrats on your win!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Haha you KNOW I shared the bread with him! Gotta stay on his good side in case of future oven breakage. Lol ;D

Elyse said...

This cupcake is pure genius! I love it. I want one now. Amazing!! I love your blog; so glad to have found it!

Unknown said...

I have left an award for you on my website called "One Lovely Blog Award" Its for cool and recently discovered websites. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

cookies and cups said...

These look great! I bet they tasted delicious!

test it comm said...

Adding bacon to muffins sounds really good!

Anonymous said...

Hi - I found your recipe online yesterday after googling "bacon cupcake recipes."

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I made them yesterday for friends and they LOVED them. The cupcakes were delicious with the right combination of salty/sweet, and topping off the frosting with a strip of bacon was the perfect look (and can be used to spread the frosting around)!

liberalpixie said...

I made these cupcakes for a friend that is a bacon freak. I served them at his party yesterday and while everyone was a little questionable at first, they were a big hit! I will definitely be making these again. And the frosting, OMG. So good!!!


Craftyville said...

This recipe is featured at http://www.squidoo.com/baconcupcakes

designHER Momma said...

not saying I wouldn't....but it's kinda weird to me. but I would totally indulge...

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

I'm going to Surly Girl tonight. If I see Carmen, I'm going to pester her for your Bacon t-shirt. If I can't get it before I leave, I'll make sure you get it at Cupcake Camp 2: Electric Boogaloo.

n3m3sis42 said...

I just made these cupcakes, and they were so good! Thank you for sharing your idea. :D

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

I was issued a challenge at my new job: put rice pudding in a cupcake.

There's this place in NYC called Rice to Riches that only does rice pudding. They put crazy toppings and sauces on them. A few years ago, I had rice pudding with crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch on top.

So I decided I'm using this recipe and making French Toast Cupcakes, cutting out a cone and filling it with rice pudding, then making a Honey Vanilla Buttercream frosting and dusting it with cinnamon.


Kim said...

I made these this weekend! They were totally yummy. My only alteration was to add a dusting of powdered sugar before I iced them--I just hate seeing naked cake on a cuppie!


Unknown said...

Danae, What a great recipe! I'm a friend of Kelley Finan's and she mentioned this recipe on her facebook page and I HAD to find it! I haven't made them yet, but they are absolutely on my "To Do" list. Thanks for sharing and good luck in your baking quest! Anybody who will pair bacon with cupcake is "Aces" in my book!

Anita K

Dot said...

This is awesome! A friend sent me this link, and I'll be including it in Bacon Week next week on Foodwhirl.com.

thanks for sharing it!

Fellow busty baker said...

Hi! My friends and I recently had an Iron Chef contest with bacon being the main ingredient. I wanted to try something unique and came across your recipe. Everyone loved them....and I won the contest! Thanks for the great recipe :)

Unknown said...

I've made these several times - all to RAVE reviews (once people get past being a little freaked out by the concept). I actually chop the garnish bacon until it is really fine then sprinkle it over top. It looks kind of like sprinkles and people seem to accept it easier than the slab of bacon on top. :) I LOVE your recipes and am totally excited to try your pudding chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have been on a chocolate chip cookie quest for some time and I have high hopes for these babies. :)

Cialis Generico said...

Looks great!!

Anonymous said...

I've made these for my boyfriend's birthday for the past two years, he absolutely LOVES them!
I add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg to give it a bit more spice :)
Also, I find that the bacon comes out best if you chop it up before pan frying it.

Annie Neu said...

People who say that this sounds weird have obviously never "accidentally" got syrup on their bacon when eating pancakes, waffles, or french toast... I am dying to try this recipe, they sound amazing.

P.S. I'm so glad I found your blog... LOVE IT!

Jordan said...

These. Are. Glorious.

Anonymous said...

I've made these cupcakes a few times now (unfortunately without the bacon in the batter) and have received rave reviews. The frosting is absolutely fantastic - it smells like heaven. I have topped them with candied bacon, which I found pretty easy to make in the oven. It really made the cupcakes fantastic. Great recipe!

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