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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband!!

No, it's not really his birthday today. That was back in September, but the purpose of this post is dedicated to him. Each year I cook him a birthday cake of his choice...usually right out of the box. Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!! No judgement!!! :-p

Thank heaven I have a wonderful husband who supports me and all my crazy eating habits. I mean, he must love me because on a daily basis he allows me to talk about food ad nauseum, constantly eat food, watch cooking shows like it's my full time job, and read cookbooks in bed. This is clearly the "for better or for worse" part of the marriage, right? ;-) Just kidding. But seriously, he accepts and supports my love of cooking and all things food.

One of my favorite shows is Masterchef with Gordon Ramsey. I love and cheer for my favorites each week, and he will always be listening to it in the background. Whether he watches it in its entirety or not, he knows the premise of the show. Flash back to the week before his birthday. Since I have been really diving into my culinary skills this year, I asked him if he wanted a cake or anything this year. Again, knowing how much I love Masterchef (and if you like the show you'll get this too), he gave me a "Mystery Box Challenge." Long story short, with a mystery box you get certain ingredients, and you have to cook something based on those ingredients. In no particular order he wanted cake pops with the ingredients caramel, maple, and bacon.  ??? What was I supposed to do with that?!?

I tried my hand at cake pops and just couldn't get the hang of them. I tried. I reeeeeeally tried. I had given up the week he asked me for cake pops. Now what? So I made an executive choice and decided he was getting cupcakes...not cake pops! And let me tell ya'...they turned out to be amazing!! Light, fluffy caramel cake covered with vanilla frosting and maple coated bacon pieces. Trust me on this one. If you have ever had this combination before, you'd be a believer.

Caramel Maple Bacon Cupcakes
If you'd like to try something like this, I suggest you go with this cake recipe. It's Martha Stewart's recipe. You can't go wrong with Martha, can you? If you have caramel flavored extract I would suggest adding some. It really drives home the caramel flavor. Yum! The frosting was just a basic cream cheese frosting that I adapted from a Cooking Light recipe book. You can Google and basic cream cheese frosting recipe. To get the bacon crispy and crumble-y, you need to bake it in the oven. I suppose you could cook it in a skillet like you normally would, but it's easier to brush on the maple syrup before you bake it. Cook up about 4-5 slices brushed with maple syrup, and then let them cool completely. Be sure to watch the bacon because the sugar in the syrup can cause it to really burn if you're not watching. When it's completely cooled, crumble it and put it to the side. You can sprinkle the bacon pieces on at the last minute. Enjoy a.s.a.p!!

If you attempt this recipe, or something similar, please, please, PLEASE take pictures!! I would love to see someone else's version of these cupcakes. (Or if you can master this in a cake pop, please tell em how.) ;-)

We finished every last one!!!

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