Yesterday, my oldest boy Ryan celebrated his 26th birthday and we marked the occasion with the usual family gathering at the house for dinner (we enjoyed this baked ziti) and cake … well, cupcakes to be exact. I love making cupcakes and will try to come up with new ideas for each kid (and husband) every year for their birthdays. Most recently, I made this cupcake and this cupcake for two of the girls for their birthdays … they were delicious and suited each girl perfectly.
Ryan is not a big cake eater and I wanted to tantalize him with something special, something outrageous and something that suits him perfectly. So, for Ryan’s birthday I did my part by making him the manliest cupcakes I could imagine. Thus, the Maple Glazed Bacon Cupcakes were born.
I began with devil’s food cupcakes and added on luscious maple buttercream frosting and topped it off with crispy bits of candied glazed bacon. Oh, the joys the taste buds were having. A little like breakfast, a little like dessert … these cupcakes are sweet and savory to the extreme. Just the thing for my manly man’s birthday.
And here we are celebrating Ryan’s big day! In the center photo is the family (left to right) Jacob, Me, Ryan, Holly and Deyan. Rod was there, too (he took the photo) he wasn’t missing out on bacon cupcakes, for sure! The photos to the left and right are of Ryan … at 1-month old partying like an animal in his tuxedo and at 26-years old doing the same only without the tux.
Sigh. All I have to say is … don’t blink, they grow up so fast.
Maple Glazed Bacon Cupcakes
If you have never glazed bacon before I suggest you try it … and try it now. This candied bacon is absolutely delicious. As it bakes in the oven, the brown sugar and maple syrup solidifies into a sweetened crunchy mass of heaven on bacon strips.
Glazing bacon is easy. Simply mix the brown sugar and maple syrup together in a shallow dish. Add a little water to thin it a bit. Completely coat each piece of bacon in the glazing mixture and lay them flat on a wire rack, placed over a foil-lined baking sheet. You will be happy for the foil … this stuff drips and sticks as it bakes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. The sugars will brown quickly, so keep an eye on it the last 5 minutes.
Once it’s done, remove the bacon from the oven and allow to cool. Your kitchen will be filled with maple and brown sugar aromas (not to mention the bacon) and temptation to taste these sweet and savory strips will be strong. I suggest making a few extras and waiting at least 5 minutes for them to cool before tasting (the sugars will be hot). But, be warned … it’s hard to stop at just one.
Maple Buttercream Frosting
I am a big fan of buttercream frosting. It is so tasty and versatile. While I love the pure vanilla buttercream best, I will also tend to add new flavors to come up with a multitude of frosting/cupcake combinations. These cupcakes just screamed maple to me … so, I did what any adventurous cook would do. I added maple syrup to my basic buttercream frosting recipe … and, WOW, was that a delicious idea.
To make this Maple Buttercream frosting, cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening until it’s well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well before adding each cup. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons milk if the frosting becomes too thick.
Now, here comes the magic, add 1/3 cup of maple syrup and mix well. The syrup will change the consistency of the frosting, so add another 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar to help thicken it back up.
The final product is a silky smooth, maple sweetened frosting that tastes just like breakfast on a cupcake. The syrup gives it a slight sticky texture, so this frosting didn’t hold up to decorating as the basic buttercream frosting does. But, it still held somewhat of a shape. AND it tasted maple-amazing.
I used a large closed-star cake decorating tip to swirl this icing onto the devils food cupcakes. Then I carefully placed some of those tantalizing bits of glazed bacon on top. Perfection.
- Devil's Food Cake Mix, plus ingredients to make it
- ¼ pound bacon, about six strips
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon water
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar, plus ½ cup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- Make cupcakes according to package directions. Let cool completely.
- In a shallow dish, mix together the brown sugar and maple syrup. Add water to thin it out a bit.
- Place the bacon in the glaze to completely coat each piece.
- Transfer bacon to a wire rack and place rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- With a whisk attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter and shortening until well blended and smooth (about 2 minutes).
- Add vanilla and mix in.
- Add confectioner's sugar, on cup at a time, mixing each cup in before adding more.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons milk to smooth out frosting if it becomes too thick.
- Add maple syrup and blend well. If the texture is too smooth (and runny) add another ½ cup confectioner's sugar to thicken the frosting.