Maple Bacon Cupcakes are a deliciously sweet and salty treat. With pancake flavored cake and fluffy maple buttercream frosting, these made from scratch cupcakes are a must have dessert!
Ya’ll know I love bacon…. in breakfast fried rice, in pumpkin mac and cheese, in broccoli salad… Bacon makes almost everything better!
But I also have a fondness for maple syrup and it’s versatility. I’ve used it in pumpkin spice cake, to baste a whole spatchcock turkey, and in maple walnut pie.
I must admit, when the whole bacon dessert craze happened, I wasn’t that into it. Then I had a maple bacon donut at Duck Donuts while on an Outer Banks vacation and my mind was forever changed!!!!
The combo of rich maple syrup with salty bacon is addictively delicious. So, a couple of years ago I made maple bacon cupcakes for a party.
The cupcakes were a huge hit so I’ve been testing and perfecting the recipe ever since.
What I’ve learned over the years is that maple syrup flavor can get lost in a recipe. That’s why it’s a great replacement for sugar or corn syrup. In a sea of ingredients, you’ll barely taste maple syrup.
Trial and error has taught me that when you want a strong maple flavor, you have to use dark maple syrup. This strong tasting maple syrup used to be hard to find since much of it was used commercially.
That all changed in 2015 when the maple syrup grading system was changed. The grades used to be labeled A, B and C. It was a confusing system because it made it seem like the A grade maple syrup was somehow better than the B or C grade.
Not so! The grade actually reflected the color and taste of the maple syrup (Fun fact, this also relates to the season when the maple sap is harvested! Later=darker!).
So now the grades are:
- Grade A Golden Color, Delicate Taste
- Grade A Amber Color, Rich Taste
- Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste
- Grade A Very Dark Color, Strong Taste
- Processing Grade
For this recipe I used Grade A Very Dark Color, Strong Taste because I wanted a deep, very rich maple flavor. Could you use a lighter flavor maple syrup…sure but the bacon will overwhelm the maple flavor.
While we’re on the subject of bacon…. these lovely cupcakes aren’t just topped with bacon! There’s bacon fat in the cake recipe too!
Adding bacon fat to the batter makes the cake fluffy and gives it the taste of a pancake breakfast with a side of bacon! Mmmmmm!!!
Then the cupcakes are finished with a maple buttercream frosting and topped with maple bacon. Every bite is full of maple bacon flavor.
They’re sweet, sticky, salty and quite messy! But these maple bacon cupcakes receive rave reviews every time I serve them!
Tips for Baking Maple Bacon Cupcakes
- Because the bacon fat must be solid to use in the cake batter, you’ll have to wait for it to chill. I usually make my bacon a day in advance or I use leftover bacon fat I have stored in the fridge. You’ll only need 1/4 cup.
- I like the look of white cupcake liners with this recipe. It let’s the cupcake color show through the paper.
- Using a Zeroll scoop makes portioning the cupcakes easy.
- If you like an extra moist cupcake, you can poke hole in the baked cupcakes with a toothpick and drizzle a little maple syrup into the cake.
- I think I used an Ateco 848 piping tip for these pictures. But it might have been an Ateco 828. Either way, these are two of my favorite pastry tips!
Maple Bacon Cupcakes Recipe
- 1/2 pounds thick cut bacon
- dark maple syrup
- 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup bacon fat , chilled
- 3/4 cup butter , room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup dark maple syrup , room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk , room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1-1/4 cups butter
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 and layer bacon in a broiler pan or on oven safe cooling racks placed on cookie sheets.
- Bake bacon until cooked and crispy.
- Pour off bacon fat into a small covered container and refrigerate.
- Lightly baste bacon with maple syrup and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- Let cool at room temperature then refrigerate until ready to decorate the cupcakes.
- Preheat oven to 350F and line two dozen cupcake tins with white liners.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- With an electric mixer, cream together the bacon fat, butter and granulated sugar.
- Mix in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time.
- Add in the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Scoop batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- With a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream to firm peaks then set aside.
- Cream the butter and maple syrup together then slowly add in the powdered sugar.
- Add in the whipped cream a dollop at a time.
- Whisk on high speed until buttercream is smooth and fluffy.
- Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and top with pieces of bacon.
- If desired, drizzle with more maple syrup before serving.
- Bacon can be made 1-2 days in advance
- Be careful not to over mix your cake batter. Too much mixing will make a tough cake.
- You can make this recipe with regular maple syrup, but the flavor will very mild.
Love baking from scratch? Check out all our cake recipes!
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