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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Chocolate bacon cupcakes

I blame Matt. I also blame Fergus.

In a week involving non-stop salami and the hypnotic display of roasting pigs on a spit, I had pork on the brain.

I'm a pig that way.

I'd like to think this is why I could not stop thinking about bacon last weekend, and why, when brainstorming a dessert--my favourite pasttime--to bring to Simon's luncheon, I'm thinking cupcakes. With chocolate. And bacon. Mother taught me you should never turn up to someone's house empty-handed.

And so it was. Bacon and chocolate. United in a patty pan.

I wasn't sure how these would be received, but I should have known better. A gathering of food bloggers? They were decimated within minutes.

I'm not the first person to come up with chocolate bacon cupcakes but I did end up devising my own recipe. The chocolate cake has a little less sugar, and the stuffing of cooked bacon pieces provides a pleasant savoury surprise.

The sweetness comes from a majestic swirl of buttercream icing flavoured with maple syrup. A dusting of maple sugar adds aroma and make sure you reserve the crunchiest bits of bacon for the garnish. A generous sprinkle of salt flakes proved to be the crowd highlight - that tingle on the lips against the sweetness of the icing incredibly irresistible.

Apart from the bacon, of course.

Chocolate bacon cupcakes with maple frosting

200g whole bacon rashers
125g butter softened
100g sugar
125g plain flour
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1-2 Tbsp thick greek yoghurt or buttermilk

Maple icing
125g unsalted butter, softened
250g pure icing sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Salt flakes to garnish (I used Murray River salt flakes)
Maple sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 170C or 150C if using fan-forced.

Pan-fry the bacon until crisp or use your microwave. To microwave bacon, line a plate with two sheets of paper towel. Place a single layer of bacon on top and then cover with two more sheets of paper towel. Microwave on high in one minute bursts until cooked - the bacon will go crunchy when it cools down. Mine took about three minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and eggs in a food processor and blitz until well combined. If you do not have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar first and then add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and eggs and beat until well combined.

Add one tablespoon of yoghurt. Add the second tablespoon if the mixture still looks a little thick.

Distribute the batter evenly across twelve patty pans in a muffin tin. I usually dollop out a generous tablespoon in each.

Chop the eye bacon into a rough dice. Cut or snap your super crisp streaky bacon into shards suitable for a garnish. Set aside 12 good pieces (perhaps a little more to be on the safe side).

Distribute the eye bacon and leftover streaky bacon across the cupcake batter. Use a spoon to push down and submerge the bacon in the batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

When cool, decorate with icing and sprinkle with maple sugar and salt flakes. Garnish each cupcake with a shard of crunchy bacon. If the bacon has gone soft, re-crisp it between paper towels in the microwave on high for 15-30 seconds.

Maple icing
Using an electric mixer, cream the unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add about half the icing sugar, then the maple syrup, beating until well combined. Continue adding the icing sugar until you reach a pipeable consistency.

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21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/08/2009 12:59:00 am


  • At 10/08/2009 1:53 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Yeah you should've known better...food bloggers are united over their singular obsession with anything bacon! And these were sublime! I never never thought the licking of icing garnished with salt and bacon would be pleasure incarnate.

    Your cupcakes are always something to look forward to in these gatherings :) Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • At 10/08/2009 2:22 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    aw baby these look and sound fantastic! im smacking my lips at the thought of salty sweet maple icing topped with bacon mmm bacon

  • At 10/08/2009 8:21 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I was surprised by how well the bacon worked with the chocolate cake! I've always wanted to try baking with bacon since seeing lemonpi's bacon brownies, but never worked up the courage, so thanks for being braver than me hehe :) And they were so cute with the crispy bacon garnish, they were always gonna disappear fast!

  • At 10/08/2009 8:48 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    funnily enough I just tore out a recipe for maple syrup and bacon cupcakes from a newspaper over in London - sounds like one of those weird combinations that just works

  • At 10/08/2009 11:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think I love you.

  • At 10/08/2009 11:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OMGG your cupcakes are ammaazinnngg!! They stayed nice and moist for days after! and the salty sweet buzz was brilliant mmmm

  • At 10/08/2009 11:32 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    I didn't get a chance to eat any of the left over ones, as my sister got to them first.

    All four of them.

    I'll have to remember to invite you over when the cupboards are looking bare, so at least there will be something to eat then :P

  • At 10/08/2009 12:45 pm, Anonymous clekitty said…

    I really can't imagine it. I love bacon. I love chocolate. But the 2 together?! Hmmmmm.. I guess this calls for me to bake these chocolate bacon cupcakes to see for myself!

  • At 10/08/2009 12:45 pm, Anonymous Leona said…

    I loveeeed your cupcakesss!!!!!! I ate another one while I was driving home LOL Loved the chocolate stumps and especially how there are bacon pieces throughout. Really enjoyed the salty bits of the bacon mixed with he sweetness of the icing.

  • At 10/08/2009 3:59 pm, Anonymous Sophia said…

    I hate sweets. I know! but before you kill me, let me tell you, I'll devour these in a heartbeat. Anything is good with bacon!

  • At 10/08/2009 4:59 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Your 'pleasant savoury surprise' made me chuckle. I love bacon and maple syrup, so why not??

  • At 10/08/2009 6:09 pm, Blogger Y said…

    Looks delicious! The bacon decoration almost looks like rose petals... but tastes better :D

  • At 10/08/2009 10:18 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    bacon + chocolate = meh BUT bacon + chocolate + MAPLE SYRUP = GENIUS!!!

  • At 10/09/2009 1:44 am, Anonymous Jacq said…

    As crazy as this combination sounds, I could totally see how it could work! Great idea!

  • At 10/09/2009 2:12 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Karen - Ha, yes it was silly of me to be worried! I'm really getting into salt with my sweets these days - a really satisfying flavour sensation.

    I didn't realise I was becoming known for being the cupcake provider, but I'm realising I'm fast getting a reputation. I find cupcakes are easy crowd pleasers and the variations are endless!

    Hi Chocolatesuze - It's a pity you missed on these. What next? Prosciutto cupcakes? lol

    Hi Stephcookie - Yes bacon seems at odds with chocolate but when you think about the salty sweetness of char siu, roast duck, mole and more, it doesn't seem odd at all. I know it's becoming more and more a common combo and I couldn't think of a better group of guinea pigs (lol) to share them with :)

    Hi Gourmet Chick - I love maple syrup with my bacon and pancakes. I always knocked it and then I tried it. End of story. lol

    Hi Anon - I sense you have good taste! lol.

    Hi FFichiban - Days after? How long did you hang onto your take-home cupcake? lol.

    Hi Simon - I am still humbled that your non-bacon-eating sister scoffed not one, but four of them. lol.

    Btw I prefer being invited over when ther's a bbq going on. With galbi. lol

    Hi Clekitty - Definitely give them a go. The chocolate flavour isn't overwhelming and bacon? How can you go wrong...

    Hi Leona - Ha, nothing like a little snacking whilst driving home. Glad you enjoyed them!

    Hi Sophia - Oh yes bacon cures all ills. I can't imagine not liking sweets, but I'm sure my teeth would be the better for it!

    Hi Jackie - I do like a surprise. lol. Bacon and maple are like peas and carrots. Hope you try the recipe sometime :)

    Hi Y - Can you imagine if there was a bacon flower? Hmm... I think you've just given me ideas. lol!

    Hi YaYa - Glad you approve, and why didn't we learn food formulas at school? So much more fun.

    Hi Jacq - It's not crazy, just tasty. Hope you give them a go :)

  • At 10/09/2009 11:50 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Ooh these were fantastic!! :D I should've taken one for the road. lol!! Such an awesome combination, I loved the saltiness and the cupcake itself was so lovely and soft! Thanks for making them! Hehe.

  • At 10/10/2009 4:53 pm, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Oh my god, this was soooooooooooo goood!
    I've got to say, it tasted even yummier with extra extra crispy bacon that you sprinkled on my take-home one! LOL

  • At 10/11/2009 6:17 pm, Anonymous The Ninja said…

    I would definitely pig out on these. Baking bacon sounds delectable.

  • At 10/11/2009 11:49 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Betty - Glad these were such a hit and yes, you should have taken one home :)

    Hi Yas - Haha, yeah you got the quadruple bacon special :) Cos you're worth it. lol

    Hi The Ninja - Oh it is. We need more of it, methinks!

  • At 10/16/2009 9:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for the recipe Helen.
    I've just made a batch of these to take away for a friend's 30th birthday weekend. He's a bacon fanatic, so i can't wait to see what he thinks. I'll report back next week!

  • At 10/17/2009 9:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi craftyllama - Oh let me know how your friend enjoyed the bacon cupcakes! And please pass on belated birthday wishes to him too!


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