Happy Birthday! No, not mine, but it’s the one year anniversary of the Recipe Swap, a group put together by Christianna Burwell. Started as a way to build community and create a challenge for all of us, we are assigned a recipe from an old cookbook that Christianna found at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet. Titled All-Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground, it’s a hymnal and recipe book by Albert E. Brumley and the cookbook is still available for sale on the Brumley Music website. The recipes evoke a simpler time and the need for the constant care of a dish; no digital thermometers or Thermidor ovens involved, when paying close care is how you knew a dish was complete. Christianna was inspired to start this project that nods to these recipes from the past and allows us to put our personal spin on them reflective of our own tastes and schedules.
I’ve only been involved for the past couple of months but have enjoyed not only the opportunity to put my creative hat on and make something that is inspired by an old recipe but to see what my band of contemporaries do as well. They are all linked at the bottom of this post; please take some time to peruse what everyone has done with this recipe for Maple Syrup Cake and a Happy Birthday to my fellow swappers!
I tried to avoid what seems predictable. But say Maple and my mind rushes to Maple Bourbon Bacon. My second experience with charcuterie and a life changing one. I doubt I will ever buy bacon from the grocery store again! All things kept leading to something that would combine the sweet and savory of bacon with a maple flavored cake. That seemed in keeping with Christianna’s wish that we reflect on this past year and I can not deny that charcuterie has been a big part of it. Not just as a sponsor of a yearlong event using Michael Ruhlman’s book but as a participant and learner as well.
Add to that my growing relationships with people on Twitter far and wide this past year and it also somehow seemed prophetic that I use the Canadian maple syrup I received from my friend Paula at Vanilla Bean Baker in Canada. Those relationships are not just a form of vacuous and empty connections; they are very real and Paula has become a friend and sweet supporter not just of me but all across the wide swath her generosity covers.
Maybe the biggest reflection that impacts me from the past year is how far I have come since this time last year. Suffering a major injury (I had NO idea how major!) in February of 2010, I found myself still very limited this time last year, 9 months after breaking my knee and suffering extraordinary soft tissue damage from my ankle to my thigh. I expected to be up and running within a couple of months so that I never set foot on one blade of grass last summer, barely left my home and felt isolated as I had never before in my life was not expected and was quite simply life changing.
Despite still requiring a cane, I am the first to recognize that life as I knew it is starting to return. This year has seen the organization of a local blogger group, a trip to Snowmass, CO for a culinary event and heading out to parts unknown to meet friends for drinks and not worrying about how I will manage. I just recently assisted with the planning for a local food blogger event at Ototo, a Denver restaurant. This time last year? I would have said no without any consideration at all. So thank you Cristianna; for me this reflection has been good. No one needs to be reminded of my progress more than me!
I have to also give Christianna some credit for this choice. She tweeted this morning that she was in Boulder and I was immediately reminded of the Chocolate and Bacon cupcake at Boulder’s Tee and Cakes and I was done. I didn’t want to replicate that cupcake but I recall how much I loved the combination of sweet and salty and that was with ‘storebought’ bacon. I was excited to have some of my own home cured bacon available. I eventually settled on the idea of making a cupcake but adding cornmeal to the mix. I love corn muffins with maple syrup and bacon on the side…so why not a cornbread cupcake with bacon in the mix, a maple frosting and some bacon garnish. I was sorely tempted to throw in some bourbon but held off and am glad I did; bourbon in frosting means it has not cooked off any of the alcohol and would not make these family friendly and in every other way they are. So no bourbon (but try a tablespoon in the frosting if you must!).
Maple Bacon Cornbread Cupcakes with Maple Frosting Garnished with Bacon
A cupcake that combines savory and sweet and tops with a bourbon scented frosting.
For the Cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup bacon, cooked, drained, cooked and crumbled
For the Frosting
- 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp maple flavoring
- 2-3 Tbsp half and half
- 3 Tbsp cooked, crisp bacon, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line 12 standard muffin tins with paper liners.
- Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and both sugars.
- In another bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs, syrup and melted butter.
- Pour wet ingredients over dry, whisking to combine.
- Fold in crumbled bacon
- Fill each lined cup with just shy of 1/4 cup batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cream butter.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, blending on slow speed.
- Add maple syrup and flavoring and blend thoroughly.
- Add milk gradually as needed for icing consistency.
- Liberally frost the tops of the cupcakes and garnish with cooked bacon
A unique blend of sweet and savory ingredients and just a touch of salt from the bacon that brings in a trend we all love. We loved these!