Captain Awesome celebrated his birthday on Monday. He doesn’t get too excited about birthdays the same way I do. I think the whole getting older part bothers him. It’s ok Captain. Don’t think of it as another year older, but as another year awesome.
For his birthday I wanted to make him some “manly” cupcakes that he could take to work. I knew I wanted to include candied bacon in the cupcakes and then I remembered the bottle of Maker’s 46 in the cupboard. That’s how these Bacon & Bourbon Cupcakes came to be.
These cupcakes are composed of a bourbon flavored cake with bits of candied bacon inside. They are topped with vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream and a bourbon caramel drizzle. Each cupcake is then finished with a generous piece of candied bacon.
To make these cupcakes, begin by making the candied bacon.
- 12 Slices Bacon (not thick cut)
- 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
|Preheat oven to 350°.|
|Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a cooling rack on the foil lined sheet.|
|Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a rectangular baking dish.|
|Coat each strip of bacon with cinnamon/sugar mix. Coat both sides and press sugar into the bacon to help it stick. Place the sugar coated strips on the rack.|
|Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.|
Bake until the bacon is crispy, but take care not to let the sugar burn. The original recipe says to bake for 15-20 minutes, but my bacon took closer to 25 minutes to get crisp enough for my preference.
The original recipe for Candied Bacon is from RecipeGirl.com
Chop 6 of the slices of candied bacon into bits. Set the bits aside to use in cake batter. Cut each slice of the remaining 6 slices, into 4 equal pieces. These will be used to top the cupcakes.
Next, mix up the cake batter.
Bourbon & Bacon Cupcakes
- 11.5oz Cake Flour
- 11.75oz Super Fine Baker's Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- 3/4 teaspoons Salt
- 6oz Butter (Unsalted, Softened)
- 4 large Eggs (Room Temp.)
- 8oz Whole Milk (Room Temp.)
- 1 tablespoon Bourbon
- Candied Bacon Bits
|Line two cupcake tins with liners.|
|Preheat oven to 350°.|
|Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.|
|Place the sifted ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend on low speed for about a minute with the paddle attachment.|
|Add the butter to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the mixture is evenly blended and resembles damp sand.|
|Add the eggs to the bowl one at a time. Mix well after each addition and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.|
|Mix together the bourbon and the milk.|
|Add the milk to the mixing bowl in thirds. Mix well after each addition and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.|
|Stir in the candied bacon bits.|
|Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake tins.|
|Bake for 18-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness.|
|Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a pan.|
This recipe is adapted from the Tender White Cake recipe by King Arthur Flour.
While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can make the frosting.
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 8oz Egg Whites
- 12oz Sugar, Granulated
- 16oz Butter, Unsalted (Softened)
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
|In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and sugar.|
|Place the bowl over a double boiler. Cook to 140°, while whisking constantly. Use a digital thermometer to check the temperature.|
|Once the egg/sugar mix reaches 140°, remove from the heat and place the bowl on the mixer. Use the whisk attachment and whisk on high. Whisk until the bowl no longer feels hot, about 15 minutes.|
|Turn the mixer down to low speed. With the mixer running, slowly add the butter, about 1 tbsp at a time. Continue until all of the butter is mixed in.|
|Once all of the butter is in, turn the mixer up to high and let it whip for a minute, until the frosting looks fluffy.|
|Cut a lengthwise slit in the vanilla bean . Use the back of a knife to scrape the seeds from the pod. Scrape out all of the seeds and add them to the frosting.|
|If you would like a stronger vanilla taste, add a half teaspoon of vanilla extract to the frosting.|
|Mix to distribute the vanilla.|
This frosting tastes best when it is served at room temperature.
Use a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
After frosting the cupcakes, make the bourbon caramel.
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- 1.5 cups Sugar, Granulated
- 1/2 cup Water
- 3 tablespoons Bourbon
- 2 tablespoons Butter, Unsalted
|Place the sugar in a 2 quart saucepan. Heat over medium high heat. Stir the sugar with a rubber spatula while it melts. Once melted, stop stirring and cook the sugar to an amber color.|
|Remove the sugar from the heat and stir in the water and bourbon. Use caution as the sugar will bubble up and splatter.|
|Return the pan to heat and cook until the hardened sugar has dissolved and is incorporated with the water and bourbon.|
|Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter.|
|Carefully pour the sauce into a squeeze bottle.|
Allow the caramel to cool slightly before using. Once the caramel has cooled, drizzle a little onto the top of each cupcake. Top each cupcake with a piece of the candied bacon.
These cupcakes are very tasty. One of Captain Awesome’s co-workers referred to them as “the best cupcake in the history of man”. How’s that for a complement? I will definitely make these cupcakes again. And the bourbon caramel sauce is delicious drizzled over ice cream, but don’t ask me how I know this.
The cute little cupcake wrappers came from Bake It Pretty. The red and white pattern reminds me of bacon. Perfect!
I hope you whip up a batch soon and let me know what you think.