Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Maple Bourbon & Bacon Cupcake

Supposedly we were gonna have a little cupcake "throwdown" at my overnight job.  For some reason or another, it never came to fruition.  Am I surprised?  Let's just say, I never believe a single word of what they have to say about anything.  But that's neither here, nor there.

I wasn't going to participate, as I never participate in such matters, but when a certain Crystal started running her mouth about how she would win anyone who dared compete, well, that got my competitive juices flowing.  

I have no idea what Crystal's level of expertise is in cooking, much less baking. Honestly, I didn't care and I still don't.  I know what I can do and that was enough for me to want to try my luck.  

For all I knew, she was gonna crack a few eggs, pour some water, dump a boxed cake mix and throw the thing in the oven.  Then again, maybe there was something about her confidence that I didn't know about.  Perhaps she's going to culinary school and is striving to be a pastry chef.  Or who knows, maybe she planned on cheating and was gonna bring cupcakes from a dessert shop.  

Either way, I had to bring my "A Game."  We were gonna have 3 judges and supposedly the contestants were gonna be judged on presentation and taste.  I knew I wouldn't go fancy on the presentation side of things - I've never made cupcakes - so my concerted effort was 100% behind making a moist, flavorful and different cake. 

See, only a handful of people at that job know that I am a food junkie.  So, when it was announced that we would be having a lil competition, they immediately looked my way.  They've looked my way before for other food related events - potlucks and what not -  but I never made anything for everyone to enjoy.  If I had ever brought anything of mine to work, I would only share with those those closer to me, those who knew me just a touch better.

The sole impetus for my participation was Crystal.  Now, don't get me wrong, I don't hate the girl.  I barely even know her.  But her confidence/cockiness is what drove me to want to make her eat crow.

Well, before I made my entry cupcakes,  I wanted to at least make a test batch.  I didn't want to go in all willy-nilly.  As much as I would have enjoyed feeding some of these people "experimental cupcakes," I decided to play nice.

I decided I wanted to make a chocolate cupake because, who doesn't like chocolate, right?  I figured, any other flavor would put me at a disadvantage.  Any other flavor and already I'd be behind the 8 ball.  But I can't just do chocolate - I have to stand out.  So, I used chocolate as the base to build-upon with other complimentary flavors.  

I wanted to be bold and bring other flavors people enjoy - flavors I enjoy, really.  Heck, this is my cupcake.  This is me in a cupcake.  If you don't like it, you don't like me.

I decided to add some espresso powder to help boost the chocolate flavor (it works) in the batter.  I then proceeded to...

...think of the frosting.  And that is when it hit me, I wanted to recreate a cocktail and donut I once had.  For all intents and purposes, we'll call this cupcake the Old Fashioned Bacon Maple Donut Cupcake.

The batter has chocolate, espresso, bourbon and bits of real bacon in it - not bacon bits.

The frosting on the other hand, had butter, confectioners sugar, bourbon and maple syrup in it.  I then added a healthy sprinkling of  bacon bits on the frosting and drizzled extra maple syrup over the top.

The results were good for my first attempt and maybe good enough to have won the darn "cupcake war," but I would still tweak some of the ingredients so that it would have come out better.  The cake wasn't dry by any means, but it could have been more moist.  It could also have been a touch sweeter for my liking.  The bacon on top could have been cut finer, the amount of salt I added was a bit much as well.  I'd also like to make these bigger next time - maybe use a muffin tray.  But all in all, I was satisfied and if I had to make this cupcake again, I know it would be better and no way Crystal would be able to top mine - no matter what she makes.  Who wants some?? - cupcakes, that is.  I'm not cocky like that.  Okay, I'm lying.


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