Chocolate-Oatmeal Cupcakes With Maple-Bacon Butter Cream

February 22, 2009 · 42 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Cupcakes, Desserts, Holidays / Entertaining

Bacon Cupcakes

My friend Anna instant messaged me on Wednesday afternoon to let me know that a co-worker had found a recipe for bacon cupcakes in The New York Times. Anna really wanted to make them for a brunch party she was attending on Sunday morning. The only problem was that the recipe was giving her serious agita. Eventually, the two of us came to an agreement. Anna would come over to my apartment with bacon, heavy cream, cake flour, and a bottle of Pinot Grigio [for me] and I would whip up her recipe. She even threw a box of Girl Scout Cookies into the deal so really there was no turning back at the thought of Peanut Butter Patties.

Personally, I am not a fan of the whole internet bacon train. I decidedly never booked a ticket. I don’t dream in bacon. I rarely buy bacon and frankly I’d rather have a side of sausage accompany my french toast and mimosa. I like pig parts as much as the next girl, I just like mine encased and mixed with savory spices not sliced in fatty strips.

Anna respectfully disagrees. Anna feels that most foods can be improved by the addition of bacon. Anna is the self-proclaimed conductor of the Bacon Train. In fact, her away message on gChat is “Into the Baconsphere!” Anna would also like you to know that If you were to illustrate the “Baconsphere” there would be a comet and it would be trailed by a strip of bacon.

Re: The Maple-Bacon Butter Cream
Erin: What does it taste like?
Anna: Like Bacon.
Erin: Is it weird?
Anna: It’s weird.

Here’s the thing though. The bacon hater and the bacon lover both agreed that the finished cupcakes were amazing. A once in a lifetime treat, but we never ever want to have one again. However, we both recommend that you bookmark this recipe for the Chocolate-Oatmeal cupcake base. On its own this cinnamon infused cake is simply delightful, just make sure you top it with a less heart-attack inducing icing.

Bacon Cupcakes

Chocolate-Oatmeal Cupcakes With Maple-Bacon Butter Cream (Adapted from the recipe featured in The New York Times)

For the Cupcakes:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, more for pans
1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped, or chocolate chips
3 tablespoons uncooked instant oatmeal

For the Frosting:
8 thick strips bacon, in 1/4-inch dice
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Flaky salt or fleur de sel, for garnish.

To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 12-cup muffin tin and line with cupcake liners; set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, both sugars and salt. Cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. With machine running, add eggs one at a time, and mix until well incorporated, 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, turn mixer speed to low, and add 1/4 of the dry ingredients. When no traces of flour remain, add 1/3 of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated.

Continue alternating flour mixture and buttermilk, ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, and gently mix in chopped chocolate and oatmeal. Divide among muffin cups; each should be 3/4 full. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 30 minutes. Turn out of tin and cool completely on a wire rack.

To make frosting, in a heavy skillet, cook bacon over low heat until fat is rendered and meat is crisp. Set a sieve over bowl of mixer, and pour skillet contents into sieve. Reserve bacon bits. You should have no more than 3 tablespoons bacon fat in mixer bowl; set aside additional bacon fat for another use.

Return skillet to heat and add butter. Butter will melt, then foam, then separate into golden liquid and white solids. Let butter cook, scraping bottom of pan occasionally to prevent burning, until milk solids toast and turn brown. Transfer browned butter to mixer bowl and refrigerate until cold.

In separate bowl, combine milk, cream, crème fraîche, vanilla and maple syrup. In mixer bowl, cream bacon fat and brown butter with salt until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix at medium speed until fluffy, about 8 minutes. With mixer running, pour in milk mixture and continue mixing until smooth. Refrigerate until cold.

With small offset spatula, fluff frosting until soft and spreadable but not runny. Spread about 3 tablespoons frosting on each cooled cupcake. Sprinkle a pinch of bacon bits and a pinch of flaky salt on top. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours.

Bacon Cupcakes

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hanni February 22, 2009 at 8:44 am

Knowing your revulsion for the bacon trend, I’m really surprised to see this recipe on EC. It’s good to see your take on this–to live vicariously through you. See, at hannihaus we like our oatmeal sans cake, cream and bacon 🙂


2 Erin February 22, 2009 at 9:14 am

Hänni: I knew this would horrify you. Don’t worry, I only ate half a cupcake. The rest of the batch went home with Anna for her brunch party.


3 Summer February 22, 2009 at 10:59 am

This recipe seriously squicks me out. I too am not on the bacon train, I ate almost no pork for 10 years until I met some local growers and braved it again.

But bacon cupcakes? wow. Props though for making it & trying it. That is kinda awesome.


4 Amanda February 22, 2009 at 11:21 am

I am all about the chocolate oatmeal cupcakes but the bacon wagon has not come rolling through my house either. I prefer sausage too. Bacon & chocolate seems like one of the food trends that everyone jumps on, but when you really think about it, nobody eats the two together for long extended periods of times. It just wigs me out.


5 Tiffany February 22, 2009 at 11:35 am

You are a brave soul! I don’t think that I would ever make these, unless as a practical joke. Kudos!


6 Susie February 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I’m on no “Bacon Train”; I simply believe in Bacon. It loves. It heals. It is Good. So I do not consider my love for Bacon a “trend” but rather a philosophy. Do good deeds and the bacon follows.

However. I do not believe I could eat bacon on an iced cupcake. Despite my love. I celebrate this Bacon Diversity, however, and ppreciate you acknowledging that sometimes… into everyone’s life, a little bacon can fall.


7 dawn February 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I would love to try these. Nice!


8 carrie February 22, 2009 at 2:01 pm

well. you know how *I* feel about bacon. and I’ve got a good 30+ years that I can personally remember that saying “Boss Hog” does NOT bring up images of the Dukes of Hazard. Me and bacon? MUCH hearting going on for sure.

As for these cupcakes… I’d try them. why not? That being said… I almost wonder if FLIPPING the flavors would be less intimidating?? like a maple bacon oatmeal CAKE with a rich rich chocolate topping. I’m a bigger fan of sweet with a salt after-taste vs big salt with a hint of sweet. If I’m going to eat bacon, then just bring me a big plate, you know? But to mix it with sweet? I’d prefer it be the subtle lingering after party… like drinking a diet soda.. or burping up cucumbers.

oh, and one side note? LOVE the cute flowery paper liners. it’s like they’re saying…. “don’t fear the fat! heart attack shmart-attack! we’re cute! we’re flowery! GIRLS can eat us!”


9 Helen February 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Hmm I have been wanting to try this sweet bacon thing for a while – here in England though it would seem very ‘edgy’, bacon is supposed to be thick cut, served with egg and brown sauce! I could see the smoked, streaky stuff being delicious with maple syrup though…


10 Claire February 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm

These seem a little terrifying! I’m not a huge fan of bacon, and I could never imagine eating it on top of a cupcake. I wonder if everyone else at the brunch party enjoyed them…


11 snooky doodle February 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm

ha surely the cupcakes look nice but I m not a fan of bacon toppings. Interesting though 🙂


12 Monica H February 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I LOVE BACON! But I’m not adding it to a cupcake. I just can’t. That’s disrespectful to my friend, the pig. I love bacon and eat it more often than I should and I even like it dipped in maple syrup when I have french toast or pancakes, but they don’t belong in buttercream.

Though, they look very interesting.


13 adele February 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I am a passenger on the bacon train (though I love just about everything that comes from the pig, really).

I dislike cupcakes.

I am left feeling somewhat conflicted.


14 Meg February 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I have never been a bacon fan, but I would love these without the bacon!


15 F_D February 22, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Awesome. Awesome awesome awesome.

I asked Amy to make these for me but she said it will take preliminary dieting from now until roughly Xmas 2011 to fit them into our combined caloric budget.

Guess I’ll have to make them myself.


16 Elyse February 23, 2009 at 9:44 am

What a fascinating recipe! I with you, Erin–normally, I’m just not a huge fan of the bacon. But, if you’re saying to try this, I’m going to do it! It sounds fascinating, and I must admit that the combination of the salty and sweet usually gets me. So, without further ado, it’s time to bookmark!


17 Katie February 23, 2009 at 11:22 am

These very cupcakes pictured were made for my roommate’s party, and I was fortunate enough to have sampled one. They really were lovely! Just bacon-y enough. Perfect for brunch. Thank you!


18 Erin February 23, 2009 at 11:52 am

F_D – When you think about it…it’s just like half a piece of bacon crumbled on top. I bet there are other cupcakes covered in towering heaps of icing that have more calories and fat than the bacon cupcakes. Am I helping your cause at all?


19 Gastronomer February 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Awesome, Erin! I was waiting for someone to make this before I tested it out myself. I’m kinda a wuss when it comes to bacon and baked goods 😉


20 geeky February 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Well, I love cupcakes. And I love bacon. But I’m not sure what to think about cupcakes with bacon! I think you should mail me one so I can find out for sure 🙂


21 pigpigscorner February 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm

They look really good actually with the bacon toppings! Bacon and sweet stuff goes amazingly well together!


22 Jennifer February 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

bacon!!! My father has a love for bacon and sweets together. He used to make a nutella/bacon sandwich! I can see how this would be good!


23 Alisa February 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Those look like my husband’s dream food!


24 Angela Russell February 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I personally detest bacon, but could see how the sweet + salty could be appealing.


25 Michael February 23, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I’m so far behind the times I didn’t even realize that there was an Internet Bacon Train much less that it had already left the station without me. I’m having a hard time coming to grips with the bacon-fat-based icing. My mouth says icing, but my mind and my tongue think gravy, and then gravy-covered cupcakes. Still, they do look good. And maybe I shouldn’t confuse the gravy train and the bacon train.


26 Stef February 25, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. Your cupcakes are pretty fantastic, too! I would definitely love to give them a try – with or without the bacon!


27 nithya at hungrydesi February 25, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Erin, great photo but ewwww. 🙂


28 For the Love of Peanut Butter February 27, 2009 at 7:47 am

this is awesome. have u heard of the bacon chocolate?


29 Gretchen Noelle February 28, 2009 at 12:46 pm

These do look interesting. I admit, I am not on the bacon train either. But I would be willing to give these a whirl!


30 Liney February 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm

This recipe reminds me of this:

I’m grossed out, yet oddly intrigued.


31 Kevin March 3, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Maple bacon butter cream…mmm…


32 Josephine June 7, 2009 at 12:58 am

I dunno what all the fuss is about…this is what would be in my mouth at any given time while eating a scrumptious Sunday breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes with butter and real maple syrup with bacon on the side.. Y-U-M-M-Y. Looks like a fabulous recipe.


33 Mabel June 28, 2009 at 12:03 am

Make that comets bacon tail 3 strips of bacon and you’ve got the full bacon deal.


34 Apples July 16, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I’m not sure about this particular recipe, but a little cupcake shop near me does what they call their breakfast cupcake and it’s strangely addictive. A moist maple strussel cake with a light maple buttercream served with a few delicious pieces of bacon atop. I was skeptical, but my curiousity served me well. Savory and sweet make magic together. Don’t knock it until you try it! I do however feel this particular recipe may be overkill, oatmeal, chocolate, maple, buttercream, bacon, and salt! The strussel works wonders, I’d perhaps stray away from the chocolate oatmeal variety. And also skip the last step of sprinkling salt atop of it all, the bacon is plenty salty and you’re already having cupcakes for breakfast, no need to harden the arteries any faster. The only possible negative to these disgustingly delicious treats is it makes me want to start frosting my pancakes. Haha.. mmmm…


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