As promised, I am bringing you delicious cupcake recipes straight from my kitchen. This particular recipe is one I have been perfecting for the past five years. The first time I made the Apple Bacon Cupcakes was for a potluck at my old call center job. They looked so pretty without icing, I didn’t even bother frosting them. I will heed warning, without frosting they could easily pass as muffins and someone could mistake them for being healthy. There’s my disclaimer. 🙂 What makes this recipe nearly legendary? My coworkers fell in love with these scrumptious little cakes and began asking for them on a regular basis. Since then, they have always been a favorite and people ask me for them again and again.
Every time I made them, I would tweak the recipe just a bit until I found the perfect apple to bacon ratio for maximum tastefulness. What makes these cupcakes really over the top is all the bacon. Not only are they garnished with a piece of crispy bacon but there is also a pound of that crumbled bacon in the cake batter itself. The salty bacon is balanced well with the light sweetness of the apple.
Today, the recipe is fairly easy and I include a frosting that pairs well with the flavor combinations. I would hate for someone to mistake them for muffins and think they were diet approved. However, the flavors are certainly ones that could be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late night snack time.
Preheat the oven for 350 degrees and go ahead and shred those Gala apples. This is the most time consuming part of this process. Once oven is preheated, place one pound of bacon on a cookie sheet. As much as I love cookies, bacon is a far better use of these pans. Of course you could fry up your bacon the old fashion way but this way saves time and allows you to cook quite a bit at once without fear of bacon burns. You know, those burns you get when you are frying bacon with minimal clothing on and inevitably grease splatters out on tender bits of exposed skin. If you are planning on making the icing and garnish as well, now would be the time to throw the other pound of bacon on a cookie sheet too. Let your bacon cook until it looks like you’re desired preference of crispiness. I usually just let it crisp up while I mix up the other ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients of all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar. In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients of softened unsalted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk. On low speed, pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and mix until a thick batter forms. Now you can add in your apples. The batter will be lumpy and that is completely okay. It is about to get a lot lumpier.
When your bacon is to your crispiness liking, pull it out and let it cool on the cookie sheets. If you are wondering what to do if you don’t like your bacon crispy, that is completely fine. It can be a bit chewy just remember it is going inside your cupcake and might make your cake chewy too. Let the bacon cool until it is cool enough to crumble easily in your hands. If it is chewy, grab the kitchen shears and cut into small pieces. Add bacon to the batter and stir on low until well mixed.
This recipe makes approximately 24 cupcakes. Place paper cupcake liners in 2 cupcake trays and spray with cooking spray. It may sound weird to do both but the liners are so much easier to remove when sprayed a little. Bake for 15-20 or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool to prepare for icing and garnish.
In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing until the icing forms a semi thick consistency. Mix in the maple syrup and add cinnamon. I am a fan of the cinnamon and like seeing the little specks in the icing to add dimension. The bacon cooked earlier should be nice and cool by now. You can use either your hands or kitchen scissors to cut the strips of bacon into 1-2 inch pieces. I try to find the crispier pieces for garnish because they hold up better for presentation. And like my grandmother always says, food is 90% presentation. Gently place the salty crunchy piggy pieces on top of each cake. And ta da! You have delicious beautiful cakes perfect for any time of day or night. Whether you are winning over coworkers or welcoming neighbors or just feeding the family, these Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes are sure to satisfy.