Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bacon Bluegrass Cupcakes

Soo....2 and a half years later...

As you may or may not know. I am a avid University of Kentucky basketball fan and when it comes to March Madness I can be a little bit ridiculous in both my fervor and my superstitious behavior.

Last Friday UK met up with the Indiana Hoosiers on their way to the Elite Eight. IU and UK have a pretty great traditional rivalry going on under regular circumstances and meeting up in the NCAA tournament after IU beat UK in the regular season on a last-minute shot took the rivalry to new heights.

To direct some of my nervous energy prior to the game I decided to make some kind of Kentucky cupcake. I'd seen some people making Kentucky Blue Velvet Cupcakes, but I'm just not a huge fan of any variety of velvet cupcakes. So I thought about what else Kentucky was known for...I didn't have to think very long...and came up with BOURBON! Yum!

After a few minutes scouring the Internet I settled on an amalgamation of a couple different recipes.

I went with the Chocolate-Bourbon Cupcake recipe from Which was an awesome decision. These cupcakes retained their bourbon flavor. WIN! They were also delicious and moist sans frosting. Right out of the oven these had a lovely almost caramelized top which had just a little bit of crunch to them. I've only made these once, so I don't know if that was a side affect of the liquor, or if I screwed up something about the recipe. Either way it turned out tasty.

1 cup bourbon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.
Bring the bourbon and butter to a simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add bourbon-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full (I just used an ice cream scoop and they turned out well) and bake 20-25 minutes (mine actually took a bit longer), until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the frosting I started off with a Maple-Bourbon recipe from

1 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
3-4 C powdered sugar
2 Tbsp good bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark
1/4 C real maple syrup OR 1/2 tsp maple extract
+ additional sifted flour as thickener

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in one cup of powdered sugar. Add bourbon and maple syrup and beat well. Beat in remaining powdered sugar. If frosting is not thick enough to your liking, beat in 1/4 C flour or additional sugar to thicken.

I ended up using additional flour, and a mixture of maple syrup and maple extract. As with most frosting I used the recipe as a jumping off point and went from there until I got something that I could pipe...and taste the way I wanted it too. The bourbon was also definitely present in this frosting too. I also wouldn't recommend the frosting for piping in any kind of warm temperature. It worked, but it was very very soft and if it had been warm or not it wouldn't have held its shape at all.

I topped it all off with some bacon bits. I baked the bacon in the oven which made it not to crunchy and not to underdone. It worked out really well. The salty bacon really tempered the incredibly sweet frosting. Or at least I thought so!