Bacon, maple syrup, and a cream cheese frosting all in one cupcake? Oh Yes! These cupcakes are absolutely delightful for a Sunday brunch and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or a glass of champagne. The brown sugared bacon is not only fried to perfection as an accessory nestled adorably on top of these cupcakes. Oh no. I saved the bacon grease after frying up these strips of salty crisp bites and added that grease directly to my cupcake batter. Ensuring that every bite was full of bacon flavor.
These cupcakes are light, airy, fluffy and moist. They are the absolute opposite of dense and dry. Not only are these cupcakes incredible, they are easy to make. They do take a little effort, but any beginner can make this recipe. I will have tips and tricks throughout this post on how to achieve these perfect little beauties.
Let's start with ingredients. The batter itself is basically a standard vanilla cupcake with a few minor alterations. What is important.... is the bacon. Make sure you have thinly cut strips of bacon.
Bacon bought at Rewe
Once your pan is hot, add your bacon, but lower the temp to low-medium. You really want to cook off the fat without burning your bacon. Sprinkling on brown sugar will help to caramelize your bacon giving it a sweet and sticky character.
I could listen to this sizzle all day long!
And DO NOT throw out that bacon grease. This grease is what is going to turn your cupcake into a gourmet dessert. Now when I made this recipe last, I almost doubled it, so what you see in the picture is from much more bacon. Let me tell you. Just this little bit of bacon grease will have every bite of your cupcake screaming bacon.
And make sure to scrape all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of your pan.
TIP: Do you sometimes make cupcakes or muffins and the bottom of the liner is super greasy? This happens to me all the time! Here is trick:
Put a layer of uncooked rice in the bottom of the cupcake tin. Then put your liner on top of the rice. Fill your liner with batter, bake and boom. No greasy bottom. The rices absorbs all that grease.
TIP: Do not overfill your muffin tray with your batter. I am definitely one to fill my muffin liners to about 80%-90% full of batter, thinking that my cupcake will be extra large. You really want to fill only 60%-70% of the way with this recipe. Because of the maple syrup and the bacon grease, this batter is a bit sticky. If you overfill your muffin trays, which I did do on several, the muffins will not rise properly. The dough will stick to the tray and get stuck, making it difficult to remove the cupcakes after they have baked.
Once these are fully baked, just set them aside to cool and get started on your cream cheese frosting.
OPTIONAL: If you want even more maple flavor, because who doesn't?!?! Brush on a little maple syrup before you frost them.
Cream cheese frosting is not as easy as a typical American Buttercream. Why? Cream cheese is full of water which can make your frosting liquidy. We want smooth, silky, pipeable cream cheese frosting... like this! Just watch the video below.
Now how do we achieve this? The answer: correct ingredients and time. Let's first talk about the ingredients. This cream cheese frosting is made up of cream cheese (duh!), butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
First let's talk butter. Whenever I make a buttercream, I always use this brand of butter. I also like to keep Kerrygold Irish Butter at home to use on toast or to fry up an egg. But the butter pictured below, is my butter of choice for baking. Why? When the butter is refrigerated it is cold and hard as a rock. Many cheaper butters, even when refrigerated, are a bit softer making them easily spreadable. However, we want to ensure that our buttercream really firms up so that we can pipe it out beautifully.
Now cream cheese. I prefer to use Philadelphia Cream Cheese. In Germany we do not have the option of buying the bricks of cream cheese like in America. We only have the option which is pictured below. Normally, I never use anything cold for my buttercream, but since this cream cheese is already very soft, you do NOT need to leave it out on the counter to soften up like you do for your butter.
The process of making cream cheese frosting may seem scary or intimidating, but don't worry. I will walk you through all the steps. The most important part is to measure out your ingredients because you are not adding all the butter right away. And to stick to the time, each step in the recipe below tells you at what speed and for how long to beat your frosting.
You might think, why can't I just throw my butter and cream cheese into a bowl, put my mixer on high and wait a few minutes. I promise you, once you add your powdered sugar your frosting will be soupy and not usable. It will taste great, but we also want our frosting to look great. Go through the steps. Take your time.
Throughout these steps, your frosting might split, look watery, look curdled... that is NORMAL! I promise. Take your time. and in the end it will be silky smooth.
In case you really don't believe me, just take a look at these videos.
Wet & sloppy mess
And now look!!
Feel free to decorate and pipe however you wish. I love to use an open star tip to get this beautiful swirl.
While I did not host a brunch, I baked these cupcakes for my daughter's Kindergarten bake sale. Now this wasn't your standard bake sale at a boring school function. Just the opposite. The Kindergarten had a huge stand at our town's Wild Boar Festival (Wildschweinfest).
It was a Sunday early afternoon and the courtyard behind the town's city hall was packed with over 500 people.
You could smell locally hunted wild boar bratwurst roasting on the grill. Members from the hunting club came to show wild hunting birds like owls and hawks... And my oldest daughter loves to have fun. Here she is pretending she is one of the hunters.
And of course there was wine. Lots of local wine, directly from our town. Since it was 1:30 in the afternoon I opted for a glass or two of Sekt which is sparkling wine, similar to champagne.
My husband and I love the local sparkling wine from Weingut Steinmacher & Sohn
We stayed for hours, basking in the sun, drinking Sekt, eating, and the kids found all their friends and ran around playing for hours.
Now I will say that the Germans were very skeptical of these cupcakes. Bacon on a cupcake? Is this, like a savory dish? I don't understand, how can you put bacon on a cupcake? Well let me tell you, once I told them that bacon cupcakes were a hot trend in America, they were eager sample. And of course, no one could even tell that they were gluten free. You know I wouldn't have made these if I couldn't have one... or two!