Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 2, February 2nd, 2014 ~ Maple Whiskey Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Look at that glorious bacon!

So this is the moment you find out that I am a little bit crazy. The idea for this came from someone asking me to make a whiskey buttercream. So I thought "Challenge Accepted!". We thought about it for a while and landed upon a maple whiskey buttercream. The real challenge was then decided what the vessel for this potentially glorious frosting would be. So then I thought what goes perfectly with maple? Well only one of my major food groups...BACON! Then I remembered that Vosges makes a bacon chocolate and I have made bacon chocolate chip cookies a couple times and I love those! I knew this idea was just weird enough that it may work. It also gave me the perfect excuse to make candied bacon! You have not lived till you have had candied bacon. Its sweet, salty, savory, and a bit spicy! I am no expert on whiskey so I went into the liquor store I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I ended up making a beeline for the nips since I knew I didn't want to spend $20 bucks on a bottle of whiskey I was only going to use a couple ounces of. Looking through all the options I found a maple whiskey so I went with that. Looking back I would have scaled back on the maple syrup or used a plain whiskey so that the frosting would have had a stronger whiskey flavor. So keep that in mind if you recreate this recipe! Other than that it was a everything I wanted it to be! 

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes


For cake:
3/4 cup unsweetened Hershey's Special Dark (dutch-processed) cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped - I just baked mine in the oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pans with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
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. 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. Remove from stand mixer and gently fold in bacon.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool. 

Maple Whiskey Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup or extract (room temp. if you use syrup)
1 Nip -about 2 ounces Jim Beam Maple Bourbon Whiskey 
4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Combine butter, maple syrup, Whiskey and 2 cups confectioners sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium-high speed until smooth.
  2. Add remaining sugar in gradually until frosting is thick enough to pipe. You might not have to use all the sugar or if you add extra liquid you might need to add more. If it gets too stiff just add a little milk. 

Candied Bacon Topping

6 slices thick cut bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne

depending on how much of a kick you want you can add more or less spice or all black and no cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a rimmed backing sheet with foil. 
2. Mix the sugar and peppers in small dish and generously cover top of bacon with it
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bacon is caramelized and almost crisp.
4. Let cool and then chop each piece into 4's.

I really have no business teaching people how to pipe a cupcake but I typically use the Wilton 1M tip-which is a popular choice for cupcakes. This cupcake was the start of what I think will be a beautiful friendship between cupcakes, alcohol, and myself! The three best friends that anyone could have!

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