Tomorrow morning at a ghastly hour in our time zone, Team Canada will be going for gold in the Men’s Hockey final in Sochi. What better way to pump ourselves up than with a batch of Canadiana in the form of some delicious cupcakes? I present you with maple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting topped with bacon and toffee bits.
This recipe is essentially taken from Martha Stewart with some changes. I omitted the walnuts mainly because I was serving these to people, some of whom might have had a nut allergy, and instead of vanilla extract I used maple because… well, made more sense to for maple cupcakes. The same goes for the cream cheese frosting (I also added more icing sugar for a stiffer consistency).
Now before I begin, let me talk about bacon in baking. A few years ago, a trend started where people were putting bacon in their batter. It’s all well and good until you actually bite into the cake or cookie and endured the texture of meat bits in your dessert without its smoky flavour which just gets lost in the oven. So with this recipe, I avoided mixing cooked bacon in the mix and just used it as a topping. You keep the salty smokiness of your bacon, mixed wonderfully with the sweetness of your dessert.
Speaking of bacon, you’ll want to prepare your bacon bits before you start baking. Instead of frying the bacon, I put it in the oven. You get a more even crisp through your strips. Lay out your bacon on a foil-lined cookie sheet (I used 4-5 strips) and put in the cold oven. Then, and only then, turn your oven on to 400°F. Do not preheat! Leave the bacon in there for 15-17 minutes. Remove bacon from oven and lay the strips on some paper towel to drain.
Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (makes 2 dozen)
2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure maple extract
1 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners. In a small bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and add the maple extract. Gradually add in flour mixture and milk, alternating between the two and scraping the side of the bowl.
- Evenly scoop the batter into the cupcake wells and bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool completely then frost with the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle with bacon bits and toffee bits.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon pure maple extract
2-3 cups icing sugar
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and icing sugar; continue beating until well combined and smooth.
Now enough of this chatter! Let’s raise a cupcake to Team Canada as they bring that gold home!