The first step, of course, was to cook the bacon! I made sure it was nice and crispy, then blotted as much grease off as I could with a paper towel. At this point it was getting close to dinner time so I was getting hungry and it took all my willpower not to just devour all the bacon! However, I managed to restrain myself and so it went into a small grinder attachment that came with my blender, until I had this:
The next part was a simple cake batter, except that it wanted a cup of strong coffee. This created a problem for me because, first of all, I don't like coffee or anything coffee flavoured so why on earth would I want to put it in my cake? And then because of that of course I don't actually have any here! I considered just using water but one of the reviews had commented on the coffee just adding a depth of flavour, which I really didn't want to miss out on, so instead I found some cinnamon and ginger "tea" in my cupboard (which, after I bought it, I realized wasn't tea at all but just sugar/flavour crystals that you mix into water) so I used that instead.
So, cake batter done, I mixed the bacon in and into the oven it went. The recipe originally was for cupcakes, but I plan on taking it to work to share with my co-workers (you didn't think I was going to eat it all myself, did you?), and there just wouldn't be enough cupcakes. A whole cake is easier to divide into enough pieces.
It baked up just like a regular old chocolate cake, and I put a lovely Swiss Meringue Buttercream on top, which I hadn't made before either. It wasn't too hard to make, except that I actually made it a few days ago for another project that didn't turn out, but I hadn't put any flavouring of any kind in it, and it had been sitting in my fridge since then. I took it out, whipped it up again, and added some cocoa, and put it on the cake. It looked awful, separated and lumpy. Then I remembered that on the recipe I'd used the helpful blogger (http://www.sweetapolita.com/) had actually said that that might happen, and you just need to keep whipping. Thank god, because I scraped it back off the cake into the bowl and sure enough, after a couple more minutes with the beater it looked smooth and creamy! And it was delicious! Success!
I could hardly wait to cut myself a slice of this and give it a try! I luckily found one tiny last bit of vanilla ice cream hanging out in my freezer so I added that to my plate to finish it off. And here it is!
Ok, I know my photography and food styling skills are a little lacking, but you get the idea. It was just as moist as it looks, and that Swiss Meringue Buttercream was great. As for the cake, well, the bacon was only really detectable as small crunchy bits that just seemed a bit odd, and it added an extra saltiness, but not so much that it ruined it. There was clearly another flavour, but I think if you didn't know what it was, you wouldn't necessarily identify it as bacon.
So the final verdict? Well, I ate that whole piece, but I think the vanilla ice cream helped cut through the richness of it (but that's true for any chocolate cake!) I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already been quite full from dinner. I don't think I'll be making it again, but it was a fun experiment!*
*I'm editing this to say that I tried it again the next morning, and it was DELICIOUS! Couldn't taste the bacon at all, the icing was creamy and soft, and the cake was wonderfully moist. Maybe I will make it again!
Here's the recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com/, if any of you are curious! (I halved this, just to try it, but put in 1/2 cup cocoa powder because one reviewer said it was better that way!)
Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
- 12 slices bacon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cold, strong, brewed coffee
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
And the Swiss Meringue Buttercream from http://www.sweetapolita.com/: (I made a quarter of this and it was plenty for my little cake, left out the vanilla and added an undefinable amount of cocoa powder instead)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Stir just until blended. Mix in 3/4 of the bacon, reserving the rest for garnish. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top. Dust with additional cocoa powder.
16 large egg whites (30g each–total 450g, or 2 cups)
4 cups granulated sugar (800g)
5 cups (2.5 lbs, 10 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
30 ml (2 tablespoons) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk attachment, small bowl, and whisk with paper towel and lemon juice (or vinegar), to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot (you can feel a drop in between your fingers to ensure no granules.).
Take off of stove, and place bowl back on electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and neutral (you can feel outside of the bowl to test temperature). Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on low speed continously, add butter one cube at a time until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more. If buttercream is too runny, the butter was possibly too soft–place into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, then beat again. If still too runny, add a few more cubes of butter and keep beating until it reaches Use immediately, or refrigerate/freeze.