1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and at room temperature
1/4 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped (spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, skins will rub off)
6 slices candied bacon (recipe below), 3 slices finely chopped (remaining 3 for garnish), do not add pepper
Amaretto Maple Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
6 slices bacon
3-6 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons black pepper
2-3 teaspoons black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place wire cooling racks on the sheets. Lay the bacon out on the cooling racks and sprinkle evenly with half of the brown sugar and half of the pepper, if using. Press the sugar and pepper into the bacon, then flip it over and sprinkle the remaining sugar and pepper on. Again, press the ingredients into the bacon. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the bacon slices over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, checking the bacon regularly to prevent burning.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla until combined; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces, one at a time, then increase mixer speed to medium low. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase speed to medium and beat until well combined (about 30 seconds).
Reduce mixer speed to low and add half of the buttermilk mixture. Mix until just combined, then increase speed to medium high for about 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk mixture. Batter should be fully incorporated with some small lumps; do not overmix. Fold in the hazelnuts and chopped bacon.
Fill each cupcake liner with three tablespoons of batter. Sprinkle each one with maple crystals (optional). Bake for 18 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a crumb or two clinging to it.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Amaretto Maple Buttercream Frosting:
makes about 24 ounces
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon amaretto
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in half of the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla and syrup. Beat in the remaining sugar. Add the heavy cream and amaretto, whisk on high for 6 minutes.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Darla Wireman, Bakingdom, May 30, 2012