Brilliant Brunch Cupcakes

DSC_0656RECIPE #483, DAY #668

FIVE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: My daughter, the incredible tween baker, made these up on accident, when trying to get to a Frappuccino cupcake*

TIMING: 2 hours, maybe, with all the cooling and multitasking

DIFFICULTY: Moderate, usual cupcake requirements

TOOLS: Cupcake pan and papers (or, even better, foils), stand mixer, whisk, sifter, etc.

COOK TYPE: Oven and stovetop

HEALTH: They’re cupcakes, for pity’s sake. There is a lot of sugar and butter involved, and even a bit of bacon thrown in for good measure.

DSC_0659EXPERIENCE: My daughter often just bakes cupcakes for no good reason except that they and she are awesome. She comes up with a concept, then peruses and modifies individual recipes to come up with the combination that equals her concept. She is a fan of the Frappuccino, and was hoping to package that in a cupcake. Between the subtlety of the coffee and us running low on powdered sugar, what she made (and topped with a chocolate heart) was remarkably like a pancake. In an excellent way.

So my husband and I sat around, enjoying our cupcakes, coming up with a brunch version of the cupcake. This is the result, which I published here because I could tell my daughter was not keen on immortalizing the brilliant brunch cupcake in her own binder-cookbook. Oh, if you could only see into that binder…

NOTES: There are all sorts of things to know when you are baking, and when you are baking cakes, and when you are baking cupcakes. I won’t go into all of these things, here.

***

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee. Set aside.
  4. In your stand mixer, cream 1 stick softened unsalted butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high for 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  5. Beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Now add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat, then 1/3 of the coffee mixture, and beat. Repeat until all is added.
  6. Pour batter into the cupcake tins and bake until golden brown and done throughout, 25-30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, whip 2 ½ sticks softened unsalted butter in your stand mixer, until fluffy. Add 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, then add another cup at a time, up to about 3 cups. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. You want this frosting to taste very buttery. To thin it, add a little bit of milk mixed with maple syrup. Set frosting aside.
  8. When cupcakes are done, let cool 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Meanwhile, place ½ cup maple syrup in a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Turn heat to medium and get syrup to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
  10. Meanwhile, roast 3 pieces of thick-cut bacon until done. Set aside to cool.
  11. When everything has cooled completely, ice cupcakes with frosting. Drizzle with maple syrup reduction, and top each cupcake with ¼ piece of bacon.

***

Serve with a mimosa, of course. These would be a fun brunch dessert, at a brunch buffet.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: Just keep enjoying them until they are all gone. I prefer to keep cupcakes sealed up, but not in the fridge if I can help it. You have a few days to finish, if you keep the bacon garnish in the fridge, separate.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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