Last summer, we ate the most delicious cupcakes at Volunteer Park Cafe. I was faced with the dilemma that always plagues me when going out for brunch- do I choose savory or do I choose sweet? Do you also have the same problem? It seems to be the only meal when I crave both taste dimensions and have a hard time being satisfied by only one. To make both sets of taste buds happy, I picked a savory main course and opted for a little sweet treat to share with the table, yet, admittedly, I ended up eating most of it!
The cake was not too sweet, almost more muffin-like than cake-like, and it was spiked with bacon crumbles! The frosting tasted like a creamy mixture of butter and syrup. Yum...it was really good! And, I've been craving it since, which is why it was the first thing to pop into my head when deciding on what to bring to a baby shower brunch ages weekends ago. I always love an excuse to be indulgent and, honestly, I will take any reason to eat bacon!
The version I made at home was not as good as the ones at Volunteer Park Cafe, but that's not to say they were not absolutely tasty! Mine certainly tasted even more muffin-like as the batter was not sweet at all- I simply used a homemade pancake batter and poured it in a muffin tin. The buttercream frosting was spiked with maple syrup and vanilla and was really sweet, yet a perfect accompaniment to the pancake muffins and the salty bacon.
Next time, I think I will crumble some bacon right into the pancake batter before filling the muffin cups. Yum!
Pancake Muffins with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Bacon adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
INGREDIENTS: For the Cupcakes: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1½ cups whole milk 2 eggs 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Frosting and Topping: 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 cups powdered sugar 3 tablespoons maple syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and broken into 1-inch pieces
DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the cups of a muffin tin with non-stick spray or olive oil.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the milk and eggs, then stir in the melted and cooled butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together until just moistened and combined. Remember it's like making pancakes, so lumps are okay! Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. It's important not to overcook the muffins or they will be too dense and lose the fluffy pancake quality.
3. To make the frosting, use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer to whip the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it's mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and the vanilla and whip for another minute or so to incorporate. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with the bacon pieces.