Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes Are Simple Yet Super Tasty

"My son and I are not huge cake fans, but we couldn't quit eating these!" recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate told us. Her mad genius creation — devil's food cake, maple cream cheese frosting, and crispy bacon — is irresistible and maybe even addictive for the bacon aficionado. Like many of Rapone's recipes, she looks for — and finds — shortcuts for the busy parent that cut down on time and labor. Not only are these bacon cupcakes devilishly delish, they're also incredibly easy to make. What's the secret? Boxed cake mix and canned frosting! But Rapone works her culinary magic on both premade ingredients with a couple of seriously clever substitutions that you can do yourself with any cake mix to make the cake more tender, moist, and bakery shop-worthy. We have to be honest and say Rapone's rich bacon cupcakes will sway you from holding fast to a diet since it's pretty impossible to eat just one. But if you want to splurge and get that happy-mouth feeling, this is the recipe to try!

Gather the ingredients

"The store-bought shortcuts make this recipe manageable," Rapone told us. "Making all the elements completely from scratch would be crazy." She prefers devil's food cake mix, but any chocolate cake mix will do. (We're partial to double- or triple-chocolate. The fudgier and darker the chocolate the better!) Also in the ingredients list is canned cream cheese frosting, which has a tartness that usually pairs well with red velvet cake. The usual cake mix's add-ins are oil, water, and 3 eggs. Here's where Rapone changes things up. She substitutes milk for the water, a whole stick of butter (which would make Julia Child happily chortle) for the oil, and 4 eggs instead of 3. You'll probably need to pick up a bottle of the maple extract for the frosting, but everything else you'll likely already have, like brown sugar, salt, and pepper.

Mix together the batter, and pour into cupcake liners

If you've ever baked a cake or a batch of cupcakes before, you'll see that Rapone's recipe starts out the same way. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cupcake liners into two standard-size cupcake pans (the recipe makes 18 to 24 cupcakes). Melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave in 20-second increments. Combine the devil's food or chocolate cake mix in a large mixing bowl with the melted butter, 1¼ cups of whole milk, and 4 eggs. Using a hand mixer, mix the batter until just combined. Be careful to not overmix, which can result in an overly chewy cupcake. Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, and bake the cupcakes 13 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the center cupcake. 

Make the frosting for the bacon cakes

While the cupcakes are baking, you can make the frosting. (If you've washed up the mixing bowl you used for the cupcakes, you won't need a second bowl.) Combine the cream cheese frosting, 1 teaspoon of maple extract, and a ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt in a mixing bowl. According to Delish, that little bit of salt will cut the sweetness of the frosting and bump up the flavor of the maple extract. Blend the frosting, extract, and salt with a hand mixer, until it's smooth and creamy. If you're planning on finishing the cupcakes in the next two hours, leave the frosting at room temperature. Otherwise, put the bowl of frosting into the refrigerator for later use. 

Combine bacon and brown sugar and bake until crisp

When the cupcakes are done, take them out of the oven to rest 20 to 30 minutes, and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. It's time to make the candied bacon! Rapone uses a full pound of regular cut bacon (not thick cut). Cut the bacon into ½-inch pieces, and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the bacon with a ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle ½ cup of lightly packed brown sugar over the bacon, and toss the bacon again. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, then lay a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on top of the foil. Arrange the bacon on the parchment paper, pressing the brown sugar onto the bacon pieces as you lay them out. Bake the bacon for 10 minutes, then stir the pieces, and bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the bacon is crispy. Watch the bacon carefully at this point so the brown sugar doesn't burn.

Frost the cupcakes and top with the bacon

Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the candied bacon pieces from the first pan to the second, leaving behind as much bacon fat as possible. Let the bacon rest for 10 to 15 minutes, and then use your hands to break up the candied bacon into smaller pieces. When the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost each one with the maple cream cheese frosting and top the cupcakes with the candied bacon bits. At this point, you've managed to stop yourself from chowing down on one of these beauties, but now's the time to indulge yourself! 

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes Are Simple Yet Super Tasty
4.9 from 7 ratings
These chocolate cupcakes topped with maple frosting and candied bacon pieces are semi-homemade and are easy to make -- and easy to eat.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
18
Cupcakes
bacon cupcakes
Ready in 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 box devil's food or chocolate cake mix
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 container cream cheese frosting
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound package regular cut bacon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in the microwave in 20-second increments.
  2. Combine the cake mix, milk, butter, and 4 eggs. Mix with a hand mixer until just combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Place the cupcake liners in 2 standard-sized cupcake pans (18-24 cupcakes total). Bake for 13-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the center cupcake.
  4. While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Combine the cream cheese frosting, maple extract, and kosher salt with a hand mixer until smooth. If you will be finishing the cupcakes within a couple of hours, leave the frosting at room temperature. Otherwise, put the frosting in the refrigerator.
  5. To make the bacon, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Then, top with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  6. Cut the bacon into ½-inch pieces and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle the freshly ground pepper over the bacon, then toss to evenly coat the bacon pieces. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bacon and toss again. Place the bacon pieces on the baking sheet, pressing the brown sugar onto the pieces as you lay them out.
  7. When the cupcakes are done, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bacon in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Stir the bacon and continue cooking an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and brown. Take care to not let the sugar burn.
  8. Line a second baking sheet or plate with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the candied bacon pieces from the first pan to the second, leaving behind as much bacon fat as possible. Let the bacon rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, use your hands to break the candied bacon into smaller pieces.
  9. Once the cupcakes have rested for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes, frost each with the maple cream cheese frosting, top with candied bacon bits, and indulge!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 430
Total Fat 25.3 g
Saturated Fat 8.9 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 67.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 45.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Total Sugars 34.4 g
Sodium 477.5 mg
Protein 6.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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