Sweet and Savory Bacon-Laced Cupcakes

Better Homes and Gardens-September 2011
Think Voodoo Doughnuts Bacon Maple Bars except with chocolate!
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 12 oz. 62% to 65% dark chocolate bar, chopped (you can also use semi sweet and milk if the dark is too strong a flavor)
  • 2 cups whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour (or use cupcake liners) two 12-cupcake pans and set aside. Place cocoa powder in a large bowl; gradually add boiling water, whisking until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Finely chop whole vanilla beans (or process in food processor until fine).

2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter, sugar, vanilla beans, and pure vanilla on medium-high until well combined. Beat in eggs, one by one, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl often. Add the sifted dry ingredients in fourths, alternating with cocoa liquid. Stir slowly to prevent splatter. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat on low about 3 minutes or just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pans, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until the center is just barely set about 25-30 minutes (depends on your oven). Be careful not to over-bake; cake should slightly resist the pressure of your finger. Let cupcakes rest for 10 minutes, then remove from pans.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook bacon until crisp. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings to use in Chocolate Frosting, if desired. Drain bacon on paper towels. Finely chop enough bacon to equal 1/3 cup. Set aside.

4. For the Chocolate Frosting, chop chocolate and place in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of the whipping cream just to boiling; pour over chocolate then add bacon drippings. Whisk until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup cold cream; whisk to combine. Place in freezer for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally until spreadable. (Watch closely the last 10 minutes; frosting should remain glossy.) Stir the chopped cooked bacon into the frosting. Set aside.

5. Frost cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting. If you use a piping bag with a very large tip you will be able to get a more even amount on each cupcake. Refrigerate. Before serving, let cupcakes stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.