Utterly Sinful, the Perfect Sweet & Salty Bite: Chocolate & Bacon Cupcakes w Maple Buttercream!
Generally speaking all of us have a soft spot for sweet indulgences. Then there are a handful of us who enjoy the textural interplay of sweet and savory flavor combinations. One of my Monday rituals is #foodiechats twitter sessions at 8:00 pm EST. I can’t even begin to count how many times the words ‘Chocolate’, ‘Bacon’, & ‘Wine’ sneaked into our conversations regardless of the theme.
Can I confess something? I was neither a fan of Chocolate or Bacon, until recently. On my last trip to Chicago my darling cousin had introduced me to Vosges -a Chocolate Haute Boutique created by owner and chocolatier Katrina Markoff. One bite of Mo’s Dark Chocolate, Bacon, & Sea Salt Bar converted me to a chocoholic. The white chocolate, lemon zest, & pink peppercorn bar was simply divine!! I couldn’t get enough of Vosges chocolates and ended up buying a goody bag for our trip home to Orlando. Needless to say, my pantry is always stocked with my secret stash of Vosges.
Speaking of bacon, I am a glutton for meat, that said bacon is something I have had a hard time appreciating in the past because of its saltiness. I just don’t enjoy salt, period. Not to mention the grease associated with it. To eliminate the fat, I started baking the bacon slices in the oven. That ways, the fat simply seeps out of the bacon, rendering it crispy and best of all there is no mess in my kitchen!! I enjoy combining flavors and creating the unknown oomph in a dish. After all thinking beyond the box is my signature. One day I created a Candied Bacon recipe which called for brown sugar, red chili powder, and bacon. The results were impressive. Not only did I cut down on the salt, the caramelization of the sugar added an extra touch of crispiness to the bacon. You can view the results on my Candied Bacon post. Since that day, our family now only eats candied bacon and plain old bacon is shunned from our palates. Are you drooling yet?
Recently, my fellow foodie friend/blogger Chris of EatLocalOrlando tasted cupcakes which he was rather impressed with. They must have been special since Chris isn’t particularly fond of cupcakes. Most restaurants tend to keep their prized recipes in secret vaults, ha ha!! Though a part of me was hoping that I will be able to get the recipe so I can recreate them for Chris and my family. Well, I never did receive the recipe but I was left with this nagging itch to create the Ultimate Chocolate & Bacon Cupcake.
Taking inspiration from Vosges, I managed to create an utterly sinful cupcake, not to sweet or salty, crunchy and soft, a perfect combination of savory-sweet in each bite. With great pride and a happy stomach I present to you:
The Primlani Kitchen Ambrosial Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 heavy cream or sour cream
- 1/4 cup freshly brewed espresso
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (use only your best)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 recipe candied bacon
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup (Grade A dark amber)
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- Garnish: 1 recipe Candied Bacon
Create 2 batches of candied bacon.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high-speed for 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and sea salt. On low-speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Add 1 recipe of diced candied bacon and fold to blend.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
For Maple Buttercream:
- Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt on medium-high speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add sugar and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
- Boil maple syrup over medium heat until it reaches a soft ball stage (use a candy thermometer). Immediately pour gently in a slow stream in the meringue, beating constantly at high-speed. Continue to beat on high-speed for 6 minutes or till the meringue has cooled down.
- Reduce the speed to medium and add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time, beating well after each addition till all butter is incorporated. Continue beating until buttercream is smooth.
- Sprinkle some coarse sugar and cracked sea salt on each cupcake.
- Decorate the cupcakes with buttercream per your decoration style.
- Sprinkle a couple of diced candied bacon on each cupcake. Dig in!!
Do you relish chocolate or bacon? This might be the cupcake of your dreams. If you get a chance to try this recipe, do shoot me a note. I would love to hear about your results!! Until then, sweet dreams!!
Special mention to Epicurious, Food Network, & Primlani Kitchen.