Monday, December 22, 2008

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

cupcakes with a bite taken out

The challenge: Iron Cupcake:Earth. The theme: Chocolate with a Twist. Admittedly, something like peppermint would be more suited to the holiday season, but I've been wanting to try bacon cupcakes for a while, and I figured this was the perfect chance!

[recipe here]

I've seen bacon cupcakes at a few places around the internet, and I was definitely wary at first. But after reading how much people loved them, I went and tried the Mo's Chocolate Bacon bar and was immediately hooked on the salty, smoky flavors in the bacon alongside the rich and bitter chocolate.

cupcake top view

For the frosting, I wanted something complementary to both flavors, so I went for a caramel Swiss meringue buttercream. It was sooo good just by itself that if it weren't for the POUND of butter in it, I would have just eaten the frosting by the spoonful;) (OK, OK, I did... but only a little!)

cooked bacon

I cooked the bacon in the micro until it was crispy, then chopped it up very fine. I think next time I might use even more bacon (I used 1/2 pound uncooked).

chopped bacon


The batter was very smooth and shiny, since the butter in the recipe is melted with the chocolate and there is not too much flour.

cake batter

bacon on top of batter

I used a #20 disher at first, but it was making way too many cupcakes, so I put a little more in each one. Next time I will use a #16 disher.

batter-filled cups

A. and I have been playing a "Hide the Pleepleus" game. I'm hiding him on my blog. ;)

Pleepleus

The cupcakes are moist inside, but not dense. They get a bit of a crust on top, as you can see. These are the cupcakes that I added an extra tablespoon-ish batter to:

fully baked cupcakes

And here are a few cupcakes that came from the #20 disher with no extra batter:

smaller cupcakes

Here are the finished products! I had to put some red sugar sprinkles on them after this to distract from the mostly-fugly piping job. I don't seem to be getting any better at piping, even after watching videos and such. I guess I just need to practice some more... :) Anyone have some tips for me??

frosted cupcakes


[recipe]
Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream
Recipe for cupakes adapted from chockylit's chocolate cupcakes, and recipe for frosting from Martha Stewart's caramel buttercream.

Cupcakes: Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes (yields around 24)

200 grams of dark chocolate, chopped
3 sticks butter (340 g), at room temperature
2-1/4 cups sugar (250 g)
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour (165 g)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (23 g)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 pound uncooked bacon


  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

  • Cook the bacon until crispy. (I like to do this in the microwave for maximum crispiness, but you could also use a skillet.) Chop the bacon into very small pieces and set aside.

  • Place chocolate and butter in a metal bowl (you can use the bowl of a standing mixer) and put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until everything is melted.

  • Remove the bowl from the water and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside.

  • When the chocolate mixture is cool, beat with an electric mixer or your stand mixer for 3 minutes. The mixture will get just a tad thicker.

  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each one. After two or three eggs, the mixture will start to get thicker and shinier.

  • Once all the eggs are incorporated, add the dry ingredients. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

  • Add the bacon and fold it in with a spatula.

  • Scoop the batter into cupcake cups until 1/2 to 2/3 full. (I used my #20 disher, but it was actually a little small, so I added another tablespoon to each. Next time I will go for the #16 disher.)

  • Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a cooling rack.



Frosting: Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1 1/4 cups sugar (250 g), separated in half (1/2 c + 2 Tbsp per half, or 125 g)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 large egg whites (I use powdered egg whites plus water)
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Make the caramel: Place half of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Let the syrup come to a boil, washing down the sides with a wet pastry brush if necessary to prevent crystals from forming.
    Boil the syrup, swirling occasionally, until it changes color to dark amber (~340° on a candy thermometer).

  • Immediately remove from the heat (the sugar will burn if it gets to 350°). Carefully add the cream, standing away from the pan since the mixture will bubble a lot. Stir the caramel until smooth and transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool. (I actually put the bowl into an ice bath, stirring occasionally, to help it cool faster.)

  • While the caramel cools, place the rest of the sugar, the egg whites and the salt in the metal bowl of a standing mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 140° Fahrenheit.

  • Fit the standing mixer with the whisk attachment and put the bowl in place. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it is stiff.

  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and begin adding the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time (it really needs to be room temperature/soft before doing this). Beat until the butter is no longer visible, and add in more, until it is all added. At some point it will look curdled and broken, but just keep on beating and beating until it gets smooth again. This could take a few minutes.

  • Switch to the paddle attachment and add the caramel and vanilla extract. Beat on low until combined and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • At this point you can frost your cupcakes, or you can refrigerate the buttercream for up to 2 days. When you want to use it, take it out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about an hour. Rebeat in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.


[/recipe]


I took these cupcakes to my uncle's 60th birthday party, and they went over very well! I highly recommend them, and I wish I could eat one every day ;)

finished cupcake

Below are the prizes for the Iron Cupcake:Earth winner!

Etsy Prize Pack, consisting of:
* a prize from BETTY TURBO
* cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES
* a prize from Cakespy

Plus, there are also cupcake pincushions up for grabs, complements of Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Bakery and Cupcakery Supply.

And, as always, the Iron Cupcake corporate prize providers are:
HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, JESSIE STEELE APRONS, CUPCAKE COURIER, and
TASTE OF HOME books. Iron Cupcake:Earth is also sponsored by 1-800-Flowers.

Good luck to all of the other bakers... but please vote for ME ;) You can vote starting on Monday, Dec. 29th at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner!

33 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Now THAT'S an intriguing cupcake variety!!

Cute monkey :-)

Debra Snider said...

Chocolate and bacon are remarkably good together, aren't they? Delectable (or should I say "scrumptious") photos, as always!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

wow--those look great! what a cool idea!

Katrina said...

Hmm, so can you "hide" the bacon such that no one will really be able to figure out what's in it? Or is it noticeable?
They look good and goodness, that is the cutest monkey! (I've got a thing for monkeys!)

Megan said...

You are a brave girl - I don't think I could eat one of those.

But I will definitely vote for you!

kim said...

Thanks everyone!!
@Katrina, I guess if you chop up the bacon in the food processor very fine, it might be more of a background note. It might actually help the flavor to infuse through the whole cupcake. In mine, there were slight chunks and you could definitely tell it was bacon when you got one. That's just how I like it :) If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What pretty cupcakes! I still have to try that interesting combo!

Cheers,

Rosa

Cathy said...

Wow, you know I always say that everything is better with some bacon, and these cupcakes really push that theory to the limit! I think I may have to try them just to be sure that it's really true! They look great!

reading said...

Yum Yum Yum.

And- I love you Pleepleus!!!!

Joy the Baker said...

I have such love for bacon. These look amazing and the pictures definitely have my mouth watering!

Melissa said...

Oh wow, these look cute and delicious! I hope you win!

Carol Peterman said...

Chocolate covered bacon is good, so why not chocolate bacon cupcakes? The caramel buttercream choice sounds perfect.

Isa said...

The cupcakes look very delicious. I've never tried the combination of chocolate and bacon but after seeing these I'm so looking foward trying it. Oh, and they look very pretty too.
You got my vote!

vibi said...

Huh??? Did I read chocolate and bacon?
Things that make you go hummmm...
Like my friend always says:"If it has bacon in it, how could it not be good!?" LOL
After the bacon toffee... the chocolate and bacon cupcakes... MUST TRY!

A very merry Christmas to you, Kim!

Peabody said...

Bacon and chocolate...I'd eat that.

Melissa said...

Just the other day I saw a recipe for bacon chocolate chip cookies...now these! How cool!

Half Assed Kitchen said...

Wowsa. These definitely aren't low fat.

Julius said...

Looks delicious!

Happy Holidays :)

~ Julius
from Occasional Baker

Jacque said...

I could see where they might be tasty, with the sweet and salty.

They look perfectly adorble as-is :)

Eunice said...

What the, AWESOME!!! That is so weird, OOPS I meant, interesting. Haha. Nice work Kimbo!

Kevin said...

These sound so good!

T.A.W. said...

I've heard nothing but scrumptious reviews about these...I'm DIEING to make them. I'm a huge fan of bacon muffins, so maybe this weekend I will be able to whip up a batch of these.

kim said...

@T.A.W, I hope you do, and let me know how they turn out! :)

mewtate said...

scrumptiousfoto, the bacon cupcakes were absolutely divine! a big big hit at our all things bacon party. thanks for sharing your recipe online!

kim said...

@mewtate, I'm so glad they were a hit! :) Thanks for trying out the recipe!

Craftyville said...

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

Jessy said...

For your piping, try twisting the bag about halfway down and just using the end with your dominant hand--your hand will tire slower and your lines will be nicer. Just remember to keep edging more frosting down and shake the bag to let the frosting settle a bit so you don't get air bubbles.

Also, I was recently inspired to com up with my own bacon cupcakes, but they were maple cupcakes and I used a swiss buttercream and added a bit of the bacon fat to it, which turned out really well, and I placed big pieces of bacon on top of each cupcake. Awesome recipe! I'll be sure to try it.

kimberly salem said...

Thanks for the piping tip, Jessy! (no pun intended ;) ) Good idea with the bacon fat too. I microwaved the bacon so the fat all got soaked into the paper towels. Next time:)

Kentucky Wedding Photographer said...

The bacon's kinda throwing me for a loop, but these still look divine enough to give a try!

Stephanie said...

Yum! Chocolate and salty...they look and sound wonderful.

Arran Moffat Edinburgh Photography said...

Thank you so much for your recipe. I'll give them a bash.

Anonymous said...

I will be making this for my husband birthday, topped with chocolate-coverd bacon. (we may like bacon just a little bit....)

kimberly salem said...

@Anonymous, sounds amazing! :)

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