Saturday, 1 March 2014

Candied Bacon Cupcakes (The first sweet and savory cupcake on this blog)

I'm a firm believer in sweet cupcakes, the clue is in the name. CUPCAKE. It's a cake. Cakes are sweet!
So this is why I felt at one point, that savoury cupcakes just don't work. But there is a growing trend in savoury cupcakes, with strange and wonderful ingredients. 
Often there, were times when I have to stand up and shout: "NO! I do traditional sweet cakes! Not crazy sushi tuna with wasbi buttercream! No! What ever happened to a good quality chocolate cupcake?! NO! DON'T RUIN CUPCAKES OK?"
As the years have gone by my opinion is slowly beginning to change. I do believe in experimenting. Thinking about it from a chef-y point of view, it can lead to some amazing discoveries. Like peanut butter and jelly (jam to us in the UK), who would have thought to combine the two? I mean maybe a sushi cupcake is a little over the top (if you find a sushi cupcake or happen to make one please post the link underneath and it will be something to laugh about later on). In any case, here's my take on the sweet and savory cupcake, cant beat bacon and chocolate so together there a match made in food goodness.  

Candied Bacon (recipe adapted from The Three Kitcheneers  )
·       450g thick cut bacon (about 12 slices)
·       150g dark brown sugar
·       1 tsp cinnamon
·       A  pinch of cayenne pepper 

For the Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Cupcake Heaven Magazine):
·       150g unsalted butter, room temperature
·       150g caster sugar
·       ½ tsp vanilla extract
·       3 large eggs
·       150g self raising flour
·       ½ of the candied bacon, chopped

Dark Chocolate frosting (recipe adapted from Cupcake Heaven Magazine):
·       150g unsalted butter, room temperature
·       285g icing sugar, sieved
·       25g cocoa powder, sieved
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, sieved

·       Wire rack x 2
·       A sheet of spare baking sheet
·       Baking sheet or baking tray covered with foil
·       Electric hand whisk
·       Chopping board
·       Sharp knife
·       Bowl 1x small, 1x big
·       Sieve
·       12 holed muffin tray lined with 10 cupcake papers
·       Measuring jug
·       Fork
·       Metal spoon
·       Piping bag or palette knife

1.    Preheat oven to Gas Mark4/ 180c/350f . Line a 12 holed muffin tray with cupcake papers. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2.    Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne in a small bowl.
3.    Place bacon on a wire rack over an aluminium covered baking sheet and sprinkle the sugar mix on top of the bacon. Patting down as you go.
4.     Place the bacon in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. (Bake longer if needed, as not all bacon is the same thickness) Once caramelised, let cool on another wire rack for about 30 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to start eating the bacon goodness, there’s a serious burn risk with hot sugar )
5.     Chop the bacon up as thinly as you can.
6.    To start the cupcakes, place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat the mixture with an electric hand whisk until it becomes light and fluffy.
7.    Lightly, beat the eggs in a jug then slowly add to the mixture whilst on medium speed, beating well after each addition.
8.    Sift the flour into the cake mix and add ½ of the chopped bacon, and fold in using a metal spoon until just combined.
9.    Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, until 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 mins.
10. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
11.For the buttercream: Place the butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper and vanilla into a bowl and using a hand-held whisk beat slowly. Once the ingredients are beginning to combine, turn up the speed of the electric whisk and beat the frosting until light and fluffy.
12.  Pipe or spread the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream and garnish with ½ of the chopped candied bacon.

So that's my first attempt at sweet and savory cupcake. 
Have an excellent weekend

Bake On! Penny x
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