Winning Men Over with Cake
There were a few years in my life that I didn’t eat meat. I happened to be living in a house of all vegetarians, and I grew to love family meals centered around homemade black bean burgers, soy products and veggies from our garden. And then … someone gave me duck breast. And then pork belly. And all bets were off. And so today, I find myself passing time by baking things like … bacon cupcakes.
I’ve heard once or twice that the way to a man’s heart is through his belly. I think that’s true, and I also think that bacon helps that situation. So this week I’m sending my favorite maple bacon cupcakes to two very important groups:
- My brother’s bachelor party in West Virginia.
- Distad’s, the mechanic shop that saved my car and got me to Philly within 3.5 hours during Friday rush hour.
I actually can’t think of two more appropriate recipients for a slice of bacon heaven.
I’ve made a few renditions of maple bacon cupcakes before, everything from putting bacon in the actual cake to making a chocolate cake with bacon icing. I’ve found that bacon in the cake really, really dries it out, so unless you can finagle your way into a perfect moisture ratio, I would stay away from it. What I think works best is a maple cake (think French toast) topped with a maple bacon Icing.
I used this recipe for the cake from Baked Explorations, but also added a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. I think it makes the cake more french toast-y. These guys always come out beautifully. I’m not usually a big fan of vegetable shortening, but I’ve found Spectrum Organics makes a shortening that is really great for baking, and I don’t feel quite as guilty using it.
For the icing, I did a maple buttercream, with:
- 3/4 cup soft butter
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Cream butter until soft, add maple syrup until combined and gradually add in sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
I topped this with bacon salt and bits of bacon, and voila! the ultimate man cupcake.
It just so happens that my best friend sent me bacon salt in the mail the same day I was making these (I’m a sucker for pork products, what can I say?), so I used that in place of regular salt. I also sprinkled a bit on the icing to really get the smokiness in the icing. Here is where she got the bacon salt — it seems to be a goldmine for spices!
Happy BACON eating, y’all.