Rather than a wedding cake, we asked several friends to bake a dozen cupcakes for our reception. I cannot express how awesome they were! We had almond, hostess cakes, mocha, pumpkin chai, chocolate, sprinkles, maple, mini pies, marshmallow and more flavors than I can recall. It was amazing. And delicious! I promise to post pictures when they come in.
In the meantime, here’s the first recipe I collected, from our friend Justin. He kicked butt with the texture and flavor combination, having perfected the treats through trial and error. I present Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes with Maple Frosting and Candied Bacon:
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TB pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 oz pumpkin ale
6 TBS butter slightly cooler than room temp. firm but yields to a finger.
4 eggs separated
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
6oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2.5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
4 TBS butter, at room temp
3 TBS maple syrup
4 strips of thick cut bacon (+2 more for bacon snacking while waiting for cupcake to bake)
3 TBS maple syrup
1/8 cup granulated sugar
Candied Bacon Instructions
Place bacon in a foil lined baking sheet and place in a cold oven. Set oven for 375F. Bake to desired level of crispness, 15-30 minutes. Set on paper towels to drain grease. While Bacon is cooling, heat maple syrup and sugar in a sauce pan over Medium/Medium Low heat. Heat to hard crack stage- syrup is dark and foamy,(300F with a candy thermometer, A spoon dipped in the syrup then plunged into ice water will form a hard candy shell). Use tongs and grab a slice of bacon and use a painting motion to get a candy glaze on each bacon strip. Cool candied bacon on parchment paper to avoid stuck bacon. chop into desired sized pieces for cupcake topping.
Whip the butter and cream cheese until fluffy (5-10 minutes with paddle attachment on stand mixer on max). Add maple syrup and mix until incorporated. Add confectioner’s sugar and mix, slowly at first then on high, until frosting is light and fluffy. Frosting can be refrigerated until needed, just mix it up when applying.
Cupcake Instructions: Preheat Oven to 340F
Sift Cake flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice in a mixing bowl.
Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy (about 10 minutes on max setting on my stand mixer, with the paddle attachment). While mixer is on, add egg yolks one at a time waiting for each yolk to be fully incorporated before adding next yolk. Batter should have thick ribbony texture. Mix pumpkin puree with pumpkin ale. Add beer/pumpkin mixture to batter while mixer is on. Batter will curdle. Don’t worry. Add cream of tarter to egg whites and whip until cream of tartar is incorporated and the egg whites have big bubbles( i used a hand mixer for the whipped egg whites). Add 1/3 cup of sugar to egg whites and whip until egg whites are at stiff peak stage.
Add dry ingredients to wet batter in thirds. Fold mixture until just barely incorporated. Add whipped egg whites to batter in thirds. Fold mixture until egg whites are barely incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3rd of the way full. Use a toothpick to do a quick stir of each cupcake to settle the bigger bubbles. Bake for 15-25 minutes until internal temp reaches ~200-210F or cake tester/toothpick comes out clean after inserted.
Cool. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle candied bacon on top.
Makes 15-18 cupcakes. I think. I was never consistent enough on spooning in the batter to the liners that i can tell you how accurate this is. If you’re scaling the recipe, cream of tarter is 1/8 teaspoon per egg. Recommend doing candied bacon and frosting first before mixing the batter. I used smuttynose pumpkin beer for the cupcakes.
This was the basis of my recipe, http://www.generationyfoodie.com/2011/11/pumpkin-ale-cupcakes-with-maple-bacon.html, but the cupcakes were too thick and verged too close to the muffin realm, the frosting was too thick and not maple enough, and the bacon was barely candied.