I figured I should kick off this blog with something really light and healthy. You know, something you can make a few times a week and feel good about yourself.
Just kidding. Here’s a cupcake recipe instead.
My friend is turning 21 this weekend, and I wanted to give her something other than the traditional handle of liquor or pack of beer (I’m sure she’ll get plenty without my contribution). I decided I’d bake her some cupcakes, mostly because who doesn’t like cupcakes? Also, it would be a chance to show off my not-quite-Cupcake-Wars-worthy cupcake making skills. Also, I love any excuse to use my mini cupcake tin and my #12 Wilton piping tip.At first, I thought it would be fun to do a cupcake using alcohol. You know, to really push that “now that you’re 21 you can legally drink!” point across. I figured a chocolate stout cake using Guinness would be perfect, or maybe a White Russian ensemble. But then, mostly because I was lazy and didn’t actually have Guinness or anything in a White Russian, I decided to do something without alcohol.That’s when I decided it might be cool to do a hangover-cure sort of cupcake. You know, kind of an anti-alcohol thing. After a night of drinking way too much, this would be the sort of cupcake that really hits the spot. I mean, sure, it’s no 2 AM grande burrito from Rancho Bravo, but it’s still pretty good.So, I went with chocolate for the cake base and added coffee because it’s one of those things people always tells you helps a hangover (fun fact: it’s a myth). I normally don’t like using cake mix, but I had a box of devil’s food that I’d gotten on sale, and I figured I’d add some stuff and see if it tasted remotely homemade. I found that the vanilla and extra egg helped make it rich and fluffy. I’ve seen recipes online where people add a shitton of melted butter a la Paula Dean, but I refrained from doing so, mainly because calories
.If you wanted a healthier cupcake (which is ridiculous since it’s chocolate and you’re adding candied bacon), you could use nonfat plain Greek yogurt in place of the egg and oil. You still add the cup of brewed coffee. I’ve made cake with yogurt before, and it does taste pretty darn good, but I was saving the yogurt I’ve got in the fridge for myself, so I went ahead and used good old fashioned oil and eggs.I wanted to do something with bacon because bacon’s one of those greasy breakfast proteins that I always tend to associate with diner breakfasts. And everyone knows that there’s no better cure for a hangover than some greasy breakfast food at a diner. For my cupcakes, I used vegetarian bacon because I wanted to see if it would taste as good, and a lot of our friends don’t eat meat. I actually found it to be pretty tasty once properly candied. Would I eat it by itself, prepared in the microwave straight from the box? Probably not. But for this, it worked perfectly.I stuck with a cream cheese frosting because it’s easy, to be honest, and I wanted it to be rich and complement the bacon and maple flavors. The cake itself wasn’t super sweet, so the frosting helped balance that without being super overpowering. I based my frosting off of the basic cream cheese frosting recipe on Skinnytaste
, one of my favorite food blogs.The recipe I’m posting here makes enough for 24 cupcakes, or way too many mini cupcakes. For my purposes, I only made enough for 12 mini cupcakes, mainly because the container I used only fit 9. I doubt my friend really wanted 48 mini cupcakes, anyways. I really liked how these turned out, and I’d definitely make them again. They’re a great balance of sweet and salty and they’re perfect for a 21st birthday or really any time you want to eat something awesome.
Hangover Cure Cupcakes – makes 24 cupcakes/48 minis
(chocolate coffee cupcakes with candied vegetarian bacon and cream cheese brown sugar maple frosting)
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
1 box (15.3 oz) devil’s food cake mix
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brewed coffee, cold (if box calls for more than 1 cup water, do 1 cup coffee and the rest milk)
Eggs called for on box + one extra
Oil called for on box
Dash of cinnamon
FOR THE CANDIED BACON:
Box of Morningstar vegetarian bacon
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp maple syrup or imitation maple flavor
FOR THE FROSTING:
8 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese (NOT fat free)
3/4 cup powdered sugar (or more, depending on desired consistency)
1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp maple syrup or imitation maple extract
Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
Make the candied bacon first.
1. Heat oven to 325F. In a bowl, combine chili powder, brown sugar, and maple flavor. Mix well. Take your bacon strips and coat them with the sugar mixture.
2. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or nonstick spray. Lay pieces flat. Sprinkle tops with more sugar before placing the baking sheet in the oven (center rack).
3. Bake for about 7 minutes, then remove the tray and turn the bacon pieces over. Cover with any extra sugar you have, and place back in the oven. Continue to bake 4-6 minutes longer.
4. Remove from oven and take off parchment paper immediately; place on a plate or clean sheet of paper. Let the bacon cool; it should get crispier as it cools off.
5. To prepare the batter for the cupcakes, follow the instructions on the mix box, but add an extra egg, a teaspoon of vanilla, and replace the water with coffee. If the box requires more than one cup of water, use one cup of coffee and replace the rest with milk. Add a pinch of cinnamon and mix all the ingredients.
6. Once your candied bacon is cool, take about half of the strips and finely chop them into tiny pieces. Add this to the cake batter.
7. Fill your cupcake papers 2/3 full. If making mini cupcakes, reduce baking time to about 15 minutes.
I found that baking the cupcakes the day (or night) before and letting them sit on the counter overnight actually made the flavors sink in and the cake be more flavorful. Be sure to wrap them with plastic wrap, or keep them in an airtight tupperware container. As long as you store the candied bacon in an airtight container (I used a ziploc), they will keep as well. If they aren’t crispy enough the following day, zap them in the microwave for a few seconds.
To make the frosting, place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat with a hand mixer on a low setting until combined. Beat in the brown sugar, spices, and maple syrup. Add more powdered sugar if needed until you reach a desired consistency.
You can also mix in finely chopped pieces of the candied bacon, but I found that the cupcakes looked prettier when the bacon bits were crumbled on top instead of mixed in the frosting.
Place frosting in piping bags, and carefully pipe onto each cupcake. I used a #12 tip for my mini cupcakes. To easily get frosting into the piping bag without making a mess, I like to place the bag in a mason jar and fold the sides of the bag over the jar. So much easier than trying to stuff frosting into a loose bag!
Top the cupcakes with a small piece of candied bacon, or a sprinkle of candied bacon bits (or both!).
I made this recipe with mini cupcakes, but if you’re making normal-sized cupcakes, you could also fill the inside of the cupcakes with a maple whipped cream filling, a coffee buttercream, etc.
Because I was making these as a gift, I made this Pinterest-worthy container for storing them. Wow, impressive. (It was just an old aluminum foil container, by the way.) Since the frosting is cream cheese, it’s best to store these in the fridge if you aren’t eating them right away.