I have something to confess. Sometimes when I have baked goods sitting around the house, I find myself eating them for breakfast. Nothing is off limits…..chocolate cupcakes, lemon cookies, cheesecake – you name it and I’ve probably eaten it for breakfast at one point or another. The problem is that inevitably I feel guilty about my less than stellar breakfast choices. Recently, I picked up the current issue of the Food Network Magazine and as I flipped through, I found the solution to my problem: maple french toast and bacon cupcakes!! Baked goods that double as breakfast! Ok, maybe they’re not meant to be breakfast food, but with a name that include french toast and bacon, I can at least justify it to myself!

I was actually a bit uncertain whether I’d like these. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t usually combine meat with dessert. These cupcakes are definitely an exception to that rule. They are fantastic!! They’re very moist and quite sweet and I found that the bacon fortunately wasn’t a prominent flavor – it really just added a bit of saltiness. I didn’t go so far as to garnish all of the cupcakes with bacon because, well, it just seemed like overkill. Shane is bringing these to work tomorrow and I’m looking forward to hearing about the reaction of his coworkers.

Just a few quick notes: the recipe says it will make 12 cupcakes but I wound up with 16. Also, as the recipe is written, my frosting ended up pretty thin – too thin to pipe for sure. I firmed it up a bit by chilling it in the fridge and just spread it on but if I made these again I’d probably add a bit more confectioners’ sugar to achieve a thicker frosting.


Maple French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes
from Food Network Magazine, June/July 2009

Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 3.9-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half, room temperature
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon (about 4-5 strips)

Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for garnish (optional)

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, pudding mix, baking powder, potato starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a mixer on low speed until combined, 6 to 8 minutes. Gradually mix in the vanilla extract and egg whites. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until light and fluffy.

Mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the maple syrup and half-and-half, mixing after each addition and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until the ingredients are just combined. Fold in the chopped bacon.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon; beat until combined. Spread on the cooled cupcakes and top with chopped bacon, if desired.

Makes 12 cupcakes.