Did you know maple season in Vermont is technically in the spring? As the snow melts, and the ground slowly starts to thaw, sap starts to flow and bring our beautiful maple trees back to life. That sap is collected, boiled down to a variety of lovely amber hues, and bottled to enjoy all year round. But for some reason that mystifies many Vermonters, most people think of maple come fall. Perhaps it’s because fall is the time of year our sweet maple trees put on their best show as the leaves turn. Rich reds, warm yellows, and vibrant oranges decorate our landscape as the maple trees prepare for the long, chilly winter months ahead.
People come from all around to see this brilliant display of fall maple colors. Perhaps it’s then that they learn their store-bought, man-made syrup back home is no comparison to the real, pure maple syrup found here. In our Weston store, we give out tiny paper cups filled with the different varieties of maple syrup for our customers to sample while they shop. More often than not, a quick taste leads shoppers to the shelves filled with glittering glass bottles of the amber syrup to find their favorite. They don’t just shop for themselves–having experienced real maple syrup, they are eager to share the unmatched flavor with their family and friends back home. And we completely understand.
Maple goes with just about everything. From breakfasts to barbeque sauces, the sweet and ever-so-slightly smoke flavor of maple brings something special to every dish.
Our featured recipe this week may seem strange at first. Bacon in a cupcake might sound a little silly. But the salty bacon and the sweet maple are an irresistible flavor combination, reminiscent of a buttery pancake breakfast with a side of bacon. Trust us — this is a recipe worth trying!
Maple Bacon Cupcakes: Ingredients
- ½ lb sliced bacon
- Brown sugar
- 7 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp soft, dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2-4 slices of candied bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup sifted flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 13 tbsps softened, unsalted butter
- 2 cups sifted icing sugar
- 2-4 tbsp maple syrup
(You’ll want to make this first so your oven has time to cool slightly before you cook your cupcakes)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
- Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper
- Sprinkle brown sugar into a shallow dish
- Press each slice of bacon into the brown sugar on both sides to lightly coat
- Place the bacon on your prepared baking sheet and cook 20 minutes, flipping the bacon half way through the cooking time
- Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bacon to a clean piece of parchment paper on a wire rack to finish cooling
- Once cool, roughly chop 2-4 slices. You can use the remaining slices to top the cupcakes, or enjoy as a rich, delicious snack on their own
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F
- In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on a medium high speed until well combined and fluffy
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing well on a medium speed after each has been added
- Lower the speed of your mixer and add in the bacon slices, mixing just until they’re combined
- Remove the bowl from your stand mixer and sift in your dry ingredients
- Return the bowl to the stand mixer, and on a low speed, gently combine the ingredients
- Slowly pour in the milk and vanilla, and mix until everything is just combined.
- Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases, and spray lightly with cooking spray
- Fill each paper case about ¾ of the way full
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes should come out clean
- Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to cool the rest of the way on a wire cooling rack
- Beat the unsalted butter in a stand mixer on medium high speed until it is pale and fluffy (this can take upwards of 5 minutes)
- Turn off the mixer and add half the sifted powdered sugar
- Turn the mixer back on and slowly raise the speed to medium. Mix for 1-2 minutes, and repeat with the rest of the powdered sugar.
- Once the sugar is well combined with the butter, add the maple syrup. Start with 2 tablespoons and mix well. If your buttercream seems too stiff, add more syrup a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency
- Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, it’s time to frost them! Use a piping back with your favorite tip and top your cupcakes with plenty of frosting.
- If you have leftover candied bacon, you can add a small piece to the top of each cupcake, but we prefer to top each one with a maple cookie button!
Enjoy your bacon and maple cupcakes! Did you make these? What do you think?
Want to make some of our other Sunday Bakes? Check out our Vermont Apple Crisp