‘Tis the season to bake or so that is what I am told but the big problem is that I really don’t enjoy baking. I may have tried out for Masterchef but I’m no Masterbaker! (I think that is a late night show on Cinemax.)
I know my issue with baking is that you can’t really get a feel of how the finished product is going to taste until it is completely cooked. (You can taste but it is like reading the last page of a novel before you officially start a book. It may be interesting but it just isn’t right.) I LOVE to taste my food and baking bursts that bubble of excitement in the kitchen for me.
I have to stop psyching myself out. If I keep telling myself that I hate it, I will never be able to put the love in the food, right? So today I channeled one of my friend’s who loves to bake. Jen is a wizard with cakes and all that is pastry. Many people must need her strength. What else would those WWJD t-shirts imply? What Would Jen Do? Right?
Well, Jen has a goal in 2012 of baking 52 cakes in 52 weeks so she has been posting all sorts of her inspirations. (No pressure Jen, I know you can do it or else I’ll mock you on the web). A couple of her cupcakes were based on traditional breakfast foods (French-toast, pancakes, pizza) really caught my eye. (She didn’t have a pizza cupcake but that would be a challenge!) But I can’t have breakfast without my favorite breakfast protein…bacon. WAIT!! I just got inspired! Why can’t I make a maple cupcake with caramelized bacon? No reason at all!!!
I surfed the web (and my pantry) and was able to mix and match a couple of recipes to come up with a moist and delicious a cream cheese frosted cupcake topped with a wonderful bacon crumble. I was shocked at how satisfying the combination of the salty/sweet cupcake tasted. (I confess I ate too many cupcakes in lieu of a real breakfast and am now feeling a bit wonky.) It is a different flavor “profile” but it is just what the “masterchef” needs to get in the mood to masterbake!! *My cupcake came out a little more like a muffin than a cupcake. Looking back I think I “overbeat” it.
Maple Cupcakes Recipe
Ingredients for Cupcakes
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1-tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
1 ½ cups pure maple syrup
3 large eggs, room temp
1-teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- Mix together flour and baking powder.
- In a large mixing bowl (or your Kitchenaid mixer), cream butter until smooth.
- Add maple syrup slowly and mix.
- One at a time, add the eggs until each is fully mixed in.
- Add in flour mixture.
- Finally, slowly add milk and vanilla bean
- Fill lined muffin tins, evenly. Bake at 350 for about 17 minutes.
- Set aside to cool on a rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, unsalted and softened
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Using a hand held mixer beat cream cheese and butter together.
- Slowly add sugar. Taste as you go along to make sure it isn’t too sweet.
- Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Put in a pastry bag to pipe onto cupcakes.
½ tsp cayenne pepper (if you don’t like heat, add less)
2 TBsp brown sugar
3 TBsp toasted almonds
8 slices of center cut bacon, cooked until crisp.
- In a small food processor, add all ingredients.
- Process until they resemble a crumble not a powder.
- Frost cupcakes with the maple frosting and using a small spoon add the bacon topping.
- If you are going for a WOW factor, add a small slice of caramelized bacon!
It was funny, after I stopped talking myself out of it; I really started to enjoy myself. I had music playing in the kitchen and just took my time and enjoyed the art of baking. The results were rewarding and I’m grateful that I FINALLY figured out WWJD!