Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s no secret that bacon is popping up in just about every recipe lately.  Just take a look at Pinterest and you’ll see everything from bacon cookies, bacon corn bread, and bacon pancakes.  So it only seemed natural to follow the trend and put bacon in a cupcake.  Because everyone likes bacon, right?  And everyone likes chocolate!  They’re a prefect salty/sweet combination.Bacon

For Cupcakes

Makes about 18 cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I’ve done them with plain skim milk and have been fine)
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 6-8 strips of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven o 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, bacon grease, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed (it will be very liquidy but trust me, this is how it’s supposed to be).
  5. Fold in crumbled bacon, reserving about 2-3 tbsp. of bacon for sprinkling on top if desired.
  6. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

For Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time scraping the sides of the bowl down as you go.
  3. Mix in milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until the frosting is smooth and creamy.  If it is too hard you can add in a bit more milk.
  4. Add in cocoa and mix to combine.

Bacon

I know they sound like a weird combination, especially with the bacon grease in the batter, but trust me, the bacon and the chocolate works!  It’s salty and sweet like a chocolate covered pretzel.  In fact, I feel like I could have added in a little more bacon to the batter to give it more of a salty taste.  They were definitely more of a novelty kind of cupcake that some people were a little nervous to try but if you can get people to try them it’s definitely worth it!  They’ll be impressed!

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Biggest Baking Adventure Yet

Back at it after some WordPress problems that have kept me quite delayed.  And first up now that I’m back up online is the long over due post of my biggest baking adventure to date.  IMG_1396

When I was asked to make birthday cupcakes for a 40th birthday celebration, I’m not sure I realized what an adventure it would be.  I was thinking maybe two dozen each of two different flavors like chocolate and vanilla.  When I got to talking to the hostess she said there would be about 75 people at the party…wow, I knew this would be the biggest haul of cupcakes yet.  And then once we ironed down flavors, I realized that it was going to be a little more complicated than I thought.

The hostess decided on a few flavors, some of which I had made before and some of which I hadn’t.  Cookie dough, Hostess, and red velvet I had made before and peanut butter and white chocolate were completely new for me.  And even thought these weren’t particularly tough recipes, I didn’t realize what making nine…that’s right nine dozen cupcakes was going to entail.

Cupcakes 4It look three days and possibly some tears and meltdowns.  Because I’m never overly dramatic or anything (sense my completely sarcastic tone), I definitely didn’t flop down in my bed and cry to Boy Cupcake that I wasn’t going to finish them.  Our conversation may have looked something like this:

Me: “I can’t do it.  Whaaaaa”

Boy Cupcake: “What are you going to do, give them a hundred unfrosted cupcakes?”

Me: “Yes.  Whaaaaa”

Boy Cupcake: “You have to finish them so get up and I’ll get you more ingredients for the frosting you messed up.”

Me: “Fine.  Humph.”

See?  Not overly dramatic at all.  But in the end it was totally worth it all and our hostess was so extremely grateful and I was happy to make her happy.  Besides, then I got to listen to her praise my cupcakes to other people at the party which I definitely don’t hate.

 

Boston Cream Cupcakes

It’s pretty much known that Boston cream anything is going to be amazing.  I mean even Boston cream donuts from Dunkin Donuts are pretty awesome and their donuts completely…well…suck for lack of a better word.  So when I offered to make cupcakes for a going away and was told my cupcakes were legendary, I knew that I had to pick a pretty great flavor that people would go crazy over.  Of course I turned to my trustee source for all cupcake ideas, Pinterest.  But this time Pinterest let me down.  I just couldn’t seem to find anything that I thought would be perfect.  Randomly Boston cream pie was in my head so I just went for it since it’s usually a crowd pleaser!

[Inspired by Martha Stewart]

Makes 18 Cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour cupcake tins.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
  5. Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla.
  6. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until light gold.

For Vanilla Cream Filling

*Note…This recipe didn’t quite fill the 18 cupcakes.  I suggest doubling the filling recipe so that each cupcake has a little extra filling.*

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
  4. Core cupcakes and fill with pastry cream and replace with top of the cut out core.

For Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval
  2. Cool for at least 30 minutes before topping cupcakes

Yum, these were tasty little guys!  The only thing I’d do differently is double the filling recipe because I didn’t have enough to fill 18 cupcakes…mine only filled 16.  If I had a double batch, then each cupcake would have more of the delicious filling.  I actually had a nightmare before I brought them into work that people bit into them and there was just a hole in the middle with no filling.  Thank goodness they had filling in them!  I think these are a make again recipe!

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Nanaimo Bar Cupcakes: A Canadian Treat

Before trying to find the perfect cupcake for a birthday, I had never heard of nanaimo bars.  Apparently they are a Canadian treat and since our birthday girl is Canadian, it was suggested I try to make them into a cupcake.  According to Wikipedia, nanaimo bars  were voted “Canada’s favourite confection”.

After doing a little research on these, I found out they are a triple layered bar…kind of like seven layer bars…with a layer of chocolate, coconut, almonds, and graham cracker, a custard layer, and a top layer of chocolate ganache.  Sounded good enough to me.  The only problem is that the filling calls for custard powder.  What?!  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  Well apparently they don’t sell it in the U.S. so I had to improvise with vanilla pudding mix.  I have a feeling it’s not exactly the same but hopefully it was close enough.

[Inspired by C&C Cakery]

Makes 18 cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers crushed (this was about 1 sleeve of graham crackers)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake tin with 18 liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham, cocoa powder, coconut, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they’re completely incorporated. Add and mix in the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the melted chocolate chips (make sure it is cooled to at least room temperature first).
  4. Add the flour mixture and the milk/yogurt mixture into your batter, alternating between the two. When your batter is just about mixed.
  5. Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or when your cake tester comes out clean.

For Filling

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  1. Mix butter, pudding mix, and sugar together with an electric mixer
  2. Add in milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until it is fully incorporated
  3. Core holes into your cooled cupcakes, about an inch and a half around and at least half way in. Carefully spoon the custard filling into the holes and cover with the top of the cupcake that’s been cut out

For Ganache

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval
  2. Cool for at least 30 minutes before topping cupcakes and garnish with chopped almonds and coconut

These cupcakes definitely have a lot going on between all the stuff in the cake and the filling and chocolate on top but it’s a great combination.  The cake part was almost like an Almond Joy.

The birthday girl was really excited about it and had to tell everyone what nanaimo bars actually are…she even said the cupcakes were pretty close to the actual bars.  Yup, I’m brushing my shoulders off.  I can’t wait to actually try the real thing to see how they compare, especially since custard powder is nowhere to be found in the U.S.  I’m wondering if the pudding was a close substitute.  I guess we’ll see.

Until next time.

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Intense Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

I’ve officially become the crazy office baking lady.  At the last birthday cupcake celebration, I got word that another birthday was coming up and that chocolate was key for it.  Why are there so many fall birthdays?  It must have been a long and snowy winter for these people’s parents.  Okay, never mind.

So I knew I had to find a super chocolatey cupcake to make.  It had to be something intense.  After much searching on Pinterest…yes, I’m clearly obsessed…I saw a chocolate and raspberry combination that I thought might fit the bill.

[Inspired by The Curvy Carrot]

For Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes (it probably could have made about 30 but I filled them up a lot)

  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 and 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 Tsp. baking powered
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake tins with 24 liners
  2. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and pour hot water over them.  Let sit for a minute and whisk until smooth
  3. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  4. In the stand mixer bowl beat eggs for about a minute then slowly add in milk, oil, and vanilla
  5. Add in dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary
  6. Mix in chocolate and water mixture until smooth (the batter will be very liquidity)
  7. Divide batter among liners and cook 20-22 minutes

For Raspberry Ganache

  • 18 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 and 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl
  2. In a small pot gently bring the cream to a slight boil over medium heat
  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over the chocolate, let sit for about one minute and whisk until smooth
  4. Whisk in raspberry jam until smooth
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use

For Frosting

  • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  1. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals, mixing in between each turn, let cool to room temperature
  2. Beat butter until smooth and add in powdered sugar until combined
  3. Mix in raspberry jam and add in chocolate until the frosting is smooth and creamy

I once again got to use my handy dandy cupcake plunger for these.  Man is is so much easier than cutting out each cupcake center with a knife.  All I had to do was core, fill with the ganache, and frost.  Cuts down a lot of time.   I even managed to get a (not so good) picture of the delicious ganache in the middle of the cupcake.

Since the recipe made more cupcakes than I can carry on the bus to work, they did double duty for the first day of Sunday football.  I just happened to have these cute football decorations in my baking cabinet so I figured I could get some use out of them!

Now when I say these are intense chocolate cupcakes, I’m not kidding.  These aren’t for the faint of heart, I mean it’s chocolate, on top of chocolate, with chocolate in the middle.  Oh, and a nice hint of raspberry flavor.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these might be a chocoholic’s dream.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Guinness and Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Everyone needs cupcakes on their birthday, and I feel like a kid in elementary school bringing in cupcakes to work so everyone can celebrate another occasion. I think I’m going to need a birthday calendar to keep up with everyone’s birthdays (and obviously the calendar would have to include flavor preferences). So when I was told that a birthday was coming up and that the birthday person might like Guinness or more specifically car bomb cupcakes I decided to get a little greedy. Since I’ve already made car bomb cupcakes a few times and have written about them, I had to go with a different Guinness cupcake. I did a lot of research on recipes before I settled on a Guinness and chocolate cupcake with salted caramel. And then it would by my first shot at making caramel.

For Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 a bottle of Guinness beer
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners
  2. In a large mixing bowl whist together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt
  3. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time
  4. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes

For Frosting

Salted Caramel Sauce

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. water
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • Sea salt
    1. Combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat in a saucepan
    2. Stir until the sugar completely melts and starts to boil
    3. Let the sugar brown for just a minute, don’t let it get too dark though
    4. Once it’s ready, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream, butter, and sea salt.  Be careful since it can steam and foam up a lot
    5. Add in salt to taste

    For Frosting

    • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
    • Salted caramel sauce
    1. Whip butter in mixer and add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
    2. Mix in salted caramel sauce until desired taste
    3. Decorate cupcakes

    I had some extra salted caramel left so I decided to drizzle over the top of the cupcakes to make them pretty.  The salted caramel was good but I’m thinking I let it cook just a tad bit too long because it had a slight bitter taste to it.  But when it was mixed with sugar and butter you couldn’t really taste it.  They seemed like another office hit.  I’ve got to keep them coming for the compliments!

    xoxo,

    ~CurlyCupcake

S’mores…the Perfect Camping Cupcake!

For almost 2 years now, I’ve been dying to get my hands on a kitchen torch so that I could make some kind of s’more cupcake.  I briefly got one for Christmas in 2010 but then it gotten taken back because I couldn’t figure out how to use.  Maybe my family thought I was going to be too dangerous with the thing.

Well when Boy Cupcake’s friend said she wanted to go camping for her 30th birthday, I started to think about what kind of cupcakes I could bring.  And then he suggested s’more cupcakes!  Duh, why didn’t I think about that?  That’s why I keep him around.  This was going to be the prefect time to get a torch and make these off of my cupcake wishlist!

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

For Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1 sleeve of graham crackers crushed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. (1 small container) 0% Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.
  3. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (Pressing them with my thumb worked best for me)
  4. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder. hot water, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.
  6. In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.
  7. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.
  8. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 6-8 minutes.
  9. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the cocoa mixture until smooth.
  10. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the Greek yogurt,just until incorporated.
  11. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22  minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of your electric mixer and set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water.
  2. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with a candy thermometer.
  3. Transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined.
  4. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.
  5. Brown with a kitchen torch.

There were a lot of steps to these cupcakes with the baking of the graham cracker crust first but actually getting to use the kitchen torch (which ended up not being a kitchen torch but a mini welding torch I bought from Home Depot) was by far the best part.  It was a lot of fun to watch them amazingly brown up and the frosting definitely tasted like marshmallow.

I will say though that the cake was a little dry, which I wasn’t a super fan of.  People thought I was crazy when I said that but we’re our worst critics, right?  Plus Boy Cupcake told me they were a little dry too, I’m glad he was honest about it.  But maybe they were like that because they were sitting in the car for a day so the little animals couldn’t get to them.  And I think using the fat free yogurt may have cut some needed fat out.  Regardless they were very s’more like.  If I was going to do them again, I might add a chocolate ganache center to get that melty chocolate taste.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake