Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting

posted in: Desserts, Recipes | 28

It’s official: My diet is heading into a recession. Chocolate, bacon and cheese — three deadly food sins. The Devil’s Triangle, if you will. All in one sugary, buttery package. Oh, what are we waiting for?

Actually, I did bake these cupcakes for a specific occasion, the birthday of one of my favorite meat lovers, Scott Gold (author of The Shameless Carnivore). This recipe is testament to the fact that when people cook for other people, they all too eagerly break all their personal convictions, preferences, etc. I’ve heard this type of comment from many a fellow home cook — cooking for others is just different. I like putting on different hats every now and then.

So here’s to Scott, and every cupcake, bacon, dark chocolate and cream cheese frosting fan out there. You have my enthusiasm and will, with yours. So let’s have fun with it and celebrate.

crisp bacon provides a crunchy, crumbly topping

Now, knowing the ladies behind the blog Cupcakes Take the Cake, I’m sure this is probably not the most original cupcake concept ever. Bacon has found its way into innumerable sweet treats in recent years, dipped in chocolate like a strawberry, or swirled into ice cream like a… strawberry. I can die happily knowing that I impressed the cupcake world a few months ago when I topped a batch of vanilla ones with chocolate chip cookie dough. Goodness knows what else will be done with the genre in years to come, as its popularity seems ever increasing (did you know that today is National Cupcake Day?). I look forward to watching in bemused wonder as the trend progresses, and for now, offer up this humble, salty-and-sweet creation.

half whole wheat flour narrowly escapes botching the batch

If you know how to crisp bacon, bake extra-dark chocolate cupcakes, and whip together a cream cheese frosting, then you don’t need to read the rest of the recipe below. It’s just like that. But I’ll warn you against some of the mistakes I made — after I had beaten the sugar with the eggs for the batter, I reached into my bag of all-purpose flour and could scoop up only a mere half-cupful. Instead of dashing out to the store like any sensible person and getting more, I used some whole wheat flour that was on hand. I would not recommend this. It gave the cupcakes, while very chocolately, a slightly grainy texture and noticeably wheat-y taste. Whole wheat cupcakes, in my estimation, shall remain unwelcome to the cupcake lexicon.

cream cheese (and butter) frosting is sweetened with just a touch of honey

Next, it’s very important to bring both your cream cheese and butter to room temperature before you give a try at whipping them together with confectioner’s sugar for the frosting. If you do this, simply by leaving them out for half an hour, then churning out a beautiful frosting is easier than pie. For some reason I didn’t predict the cream cheese needed as much de-chilling and failed to take it out as early as the butter. Since it couldn’t really be whipped in any way, shape or form with a whisk until it had gotten to that precise softened texture, it simply made me late for my party as I waited.

The last, and least important, personal flair I gave these cupcakes was a drop of honey to the frosting instead of vanilla extract. I thought about drizzling honey on top of them too, perhaps to spell out the letters of Scott’s name. But when it comes down to it, I’m not very steady with a spout or piping bag, as previous attempts at cupcake-decorating have taught me. Plus, I didn’t want to overwhelm the eventual eaters of the cupcakes with too much substance — a sprinkle of bacon on top alone was enough to surprise folks, I promise you.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes 6)

for the cupcakes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I like Valhrona)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

for the frosting
2 strips bacon, cooked crispy
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
about 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar for the cupcakes only. Add egg and beat until fully blended and creamy. Combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately adding the milk gradually. Divide equally among six cupcake liners in a muffin tray. Bake about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Beat the butter and cream cheese for the frosting. Add the honey, and gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Crumble one of the bacon strips and beat it into the frosting. Once cupcakes are cool, spread the frosting on top of each one. Crumble the remaining bacon strip, and sprinkle on the tops.

Cost Calculator
(for 6 cupcakes)

3/4 cups flour: $0.35
1/2 cup sugar: $0.25
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter: $1.00
1 egg: $0.33
1/3 cup milk: $0.20
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder: $0.50
4 oz. cream cheese: $1.25
2 strips bacon: $1.00
2 cups confectioner’s sugar: $0.60
1 teaspoon honey: $0.10
1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt: $0.10

Total: $5.68

Health Factor

Nine brownie points: The other great thing about cooking for others is knowing that you’re not going to consume the end product alone, hence not worrying too much about the heinous health toll or lack of nutritional benefit. Not that I’m trying to poison anyone. But it’s a nice burden off my conscience. The only thing one could vouch for here health-wise is a bit of antioxidants found in dark chocolate. After that, there’s little room for any kudos (unless you also made the mistake of adding half-whole wheat flour).

Green Factor

Three maple things: It’s not looking too good in this category, either. Making cupcakes quickly wipe out one’s butter cache at home, and because I didn’t have enough that I’d bought from the Greenmarket, had to settle for non-local reinforcements, same for the cream cheese. Sugar is the other main ingredient ingredient in them, like most baked desserts, and I can’t be sure where the sugar in the raw I have was trucked in from.

28 Responses

  1. anna

    Have you tried whole-wheat pastry flour? It’s much softer and less strong-tasting then whole wheat AP – for something as richly flavored as these chocolate cupcakes, I bet you wouldn’t notice a difference. It’s especially great used half-and-half with white flour for pie crusts (makes them stand up nicely to intensely-flavored/hearty fillings), but I use it all the time in cookies as well, without noticing a difference in flavor or texture.

  2. Elle

    Yeah, I’d totally have one (or two) of these for breakfast. The bacon is a perfect balance for the sweet icing, and adds a bit of nice texture, too. mmmm!

  3. Madison McGraw-Girl Arsonist

    You had me at chocolate and bacon. Add a glass of red wine and I have a complete meal!

  4. jess

    holy mother of gawd….. i’m in love

  5. Mike


    Making these tonight, but you mention beating “together the butter for the cupcakes, sugar and vanilla” but don’t list vanilla anywhere in the recipe. Or am I just missing it?

  6. cathy

    Mike: Oops! I just took out some stray words — sorry about that, and thanks!
    Anna: Now that is a great suggestion! I’ll have to get some whole wheat pastry flour — thanks!

  7. […] Just now, I found a link off of Cupcakes That Take the Cake to another foodie blog, Not Eating Out in New York, for a truly interesting recipe – Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting. […]

  8. Jess

    Bacon is rumored to be the downfall of many self-imposed herbivorous diets. So is my salivating over this idea kinda like thinking dirty thoughts in church? Am I one step closer to eternal damnation? If that’s the case, then it’s slated to be a delicious eternity in that second or third circle.

  9. Ambitious

    I would have done the same thing… make do with whatever is on hand!

  10. Kirsten

    These look great! Now I have to think of a carnivore friend who will appreciate them. Hmm. . .

  11. Michelle

    Something about your homemade cupcakes looks way, WAY more appealing to me than any bacon/chocolate combination I’ve seen… well, eating out. This is definitely going on my to-do list.

  12. Sara

    I am usually not a big fan of mixing savory and sweet but this looks pretty good. I may have to give these a shot. I like the idea of the honey in the frosting, too.

  13. I just read something yesterday about bacon making ever non-dessert food taste better. But apparently even dessert can benefit from the ol’ pork product upgrade!

  14. Erin C

    Holy cow, you really were in my dreams! This is AMAZING, and I want to eat it…

  15. […] Not Eating Out in New York » Blog Archive » Chocolate Cupcakes … […]

  16. John B

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing �

  17. Guadalupe Workman

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

  18. […] No. 14: Make chocolate cupcakes with bacon cream cheese frosting […]

  19. Leio

    How about substituting the rendered bacon fat for the butter in the the frosting? It would give a much more bacony flavor and it basically the same nutrition wise.

  20. Kyle

    If you want to lose a lot of fat and pounds give Nutrisystem a go and see for yourself!

  21. […] those beautiful bacon cupcakes (pictured at top) definitely put my once birthday effort to shame. Indeed, so many entries blurred the line between savory and sweet. Among the many […]

  22. San Diego Kathy

    My husband thought I was NUTS when I asked him to bring me MAPLE BARS so that I could make a facsimile of the Maple bar/bacon treat that is famous at Portland, Oregon’s Voodoo Bakery…so, NOW, I feel VINDICATED! I cannot think of anything that wouldn’t be improved with the addition of bacon (REAL BACON, folks, not those fakey flakey things! Come’on, live dangerously!) THANKS for the Chocolate Cupcake with Bacon Cream Cheese idea! FAB!

  23. […] Cupcakes have won a challenge on Top Chef? Maybe, maybe not. But if you want to try them at home, here is the recipe. I’ve had a peanut butter cupcake with bacon bits in the frosting, and it was awesome. I […]

  24. Help Losing Weight

    Hey nice blog! Its good to see that some people still put time into there site.

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  26. Breezy

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I often use whole wheat flour instead of white AP. I find that if you give it a go in the food processer for a few seconds you don’t even notice the difference. 🙂

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