Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Chocolate? Check. Caramel? Check. Bacon? Check. Delicious? Definitely.

I have had these cupcakes bookmarked FOREVER. Literally, they’ve had a star in my Google Reader for a very long time. I even included them in my Top Ten list back in June of 2009. It took me forever to make them and I’m very glad I did.

I made these for our friend’s annual Pirate Party. The bacon provided a salty and smokiness to the cupcakes that balanced the sweetness nicely. And this caramel frosting is my new favorite. It’s awesome. Hubby thoroughly enjoyed licking the beaters and bowl after I made the frosting.

This chocolate cupcakes recipe wasn’t my favorite. I overfilled mine a little bit and the top of the cupcakes looked almost like meringue after they baked. It was also a little flaky and crispy similar to a meringue. I think not overfilling these would have helped that issue, but if I made these again, I might just use a different chocolate cupcake recipe and add bacon to it.

One Year Ago: Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies and Overnight French Toast
Two Years Ago: Raspberry Meringue Cookies

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Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: 24

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
200 grams of dark chocolate, chopped
3 sticks butter (340 g), at room temperature
2-1/4 cups sugar (250 g)
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour (165 g)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (23 g)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 pound uncooked bacon

For the Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 1/4 cups sugar (250 g), separated in half (1/2 c + 2 Tbsp per half, or 125 g)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 large egg whites or enough powdered egg whites and water
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

For the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Cook the bacon until crispy. Chop the bacon into very small pieces and set aside.

Place chocolate and butter in a metal bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until everything is melted.

Remove the bowl from the water and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside.

When the chocolate mixture is cool, beat with an electric mixer or your stand mixer for 3 minutes. The mixture will get just a tad thicker.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each one. After two or three eggs, the mixture will start to get thicker and shinier.

Once all the eggs are incorporated, add the dry ingredients. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Add the bacon and fold it in with a spatula.

Scoop the batter into cupcake cups until 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a cooling rack.

For the Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Make the caramel
Place half of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Let the syrup come to a boil, washing down the sides with a wet pastry brush if necessary to prevent crystals from forming.
Boil the syrup, swirling occasionally, until it changes color to dark amber (~340° on a candy thermometer).

Immediately remove from the heat (the sugar will burn if it gets to 350°). Carefully add the cream, standing away from the pan since the mixture will bubble a lot. Stir the caramel until smooth and transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool. (I actually put the bowl into an ice bath, stirring occasionally, to help it cool faster.)

While the caramel cools, place the rest of the sugar, the egg whites and the salt in the metal bowl of a standing mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 140° Fahrenheit.

Fit the standing mixer with the whisk attachment and put the bowl in place. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it is stiff.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and begin adding the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time. Beat until the butter is no longer visible, and add in more, until it is all added. At some point it will look curdled and broken, but just keep on beating and beating until it gets smooth again. This could take a few minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment and add the caramel and vanilla extract. Beat on low until combined and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

At this point you can frost your cupcakes, or you can refrigerate the buttercream for up to 2 days. When you want to use it, take it out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about an hour. Rebeat in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Recipe as seen on Scrumptious Photography, cupcakes originally from Chockylit, frosting originally from Martha Stewart

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14 Responses to “Spring M&M Pretzel Treats”

  1. #
    1
    Sarah — April 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I love this simple recipe, and it will be a great idea for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower (both she and her fiance have M names). You mention in your other posts about using a squeeze bottle – is this any particular type of squeeze bottle? I’m not sure how to find one that would work for this purpose. What do you use? Thanks!

  2. #
    2
    mamakrystal — April 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Awww, totally cute! It came up in my google reader and my stomach growled!!! YUM!

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    3
    Teresa Bjork — April 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Yum! I’m making these this weekend for birthday treats. Can’t believe you can’t find almond bark. There are stacks of it at our small-town grocery store in Iowa.

  4. #
    4
    Jen — April 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Sarah – I use squeeze bottles from Michaels. They look like this.

    Teresa – yes, it’s crazy that they don’t have almond bark out East. In the Midwest you can get it anywhere!

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    5
    Sarah — April 10, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Thanks Jen! These are awesome. I have so many new pages bookmarked since finding your blog. P.S. I was in TJ Maxx tonight and found a jar of polka dot sprinkles, like true big polka dots, and I thought of you!

  6. #
    6
    Baking Away — April 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Do you have any Super WalMarts near you? I get them there all the time in Massachusetts. They are carried year round in the baking aisle. I’m not sure if regular WalMarts have them too.

  7. #
    7
    mrs. c — April 11, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    These look yummy and I think that my college-age nephews would love them…how whould they travel? Have you got suggestions for things that will travel well in the mail? Thank you

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    Jen — April 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    mrs. c – these would travel really well. I like them straight from the fridge or freezer. I would freeze them for a few days prior to mailing. That’s what I do with anything I ship. I have great luck with cookies and brownies going in the mail.

  9. #
    9
    KV — April 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    have you tried coloring almond bark before? I tried a couple months ago and it was a disaster, so just curious

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    Jen — April 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    KV – I have not tried to color almond bark. The Wilton’s candy melts do come in a variety of colors though, so you could use those. They are sold at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

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    Baking Away — April 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Just wanted to clarify that I meant I find almond bark at Super WalMart here in MA. I went back to see if you had responded, and I realized my comment didn’t really make much sense!

  12. #
    12
    Jen — April 13, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks. I don’t shop much at Walmart… It’s probably better that I can’t find this stuff anywhere, otherwise I’d be making these all the time!

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