Smokey Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Bark
These Smokey Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes are to die for! Not only are the cupcakes SO moist and chocolatey – they are full of bourbon and smokey salt and topped with a smokey salted bacon chocolate bark. I mean, are you kidding?! The flavors together are SOOOO good!
So one of the questions I get asked pretty regularly is where I get my inspiration from. It’s always a bit hard to answer because there isn’t really just one thing. It can be something I see on a menu that sparks an idea, a neat ingredient, even a piece of fabric that has colors or a pattern I love that leads me to colors or something I want to use. Sometimes I will sit on an idea for weeks, months or even years before I finally arrive at a decision on just how I want to execute it.
That’s one of the things I now love about shopping. I used to just love shopping for myself. Shoes, clothes – you know how it goes.
Well, how do you know when you’re a food blogger to the core? When shopping for yourself is not nearly as exciting as shopping for cool new photo props and ingredients.
It’s like I can’t even help it. Take me into a shopping area and I am now much more likely to get excited when I see a home store than a clothing store. Of course, if it’s both in one that’s even better. I gravitate towards plates and napkins more than dresses and jewelry anymore. It’s almost a problem. 😉
However it’s that exact problem that led to these cupcakes. And these cupcakes are anything but a problem! Unless you consider being so tasty you can’t stop eating them a problem. Then yea, they’re a problem. But such a good problem to have!
It’s no secret that Home Goods is one of my favorite stores. It’s largely where I’ve gotten most of my cake stands. But World Market is another fave. We don’t have one close by, so when I get to go I could easily spend an hour walking through the entire store. And not just the section with plates, napkins, etc. The section in the back with all the food rocks my socks off. It never fails that there’s all kinds of stuff I want. I can’t always get it all, but several weeks ago I saw a smoke flavored natural sea salt. I died right then and there. I knew I had to get it. I didn’t know what I’d make yet, but I knew it’d be something delicious.
A couple weeks went by and then I finally decided to go for it. The smokey flavor needed chocolate, bourbon and bacon. I even tossed a little maple extract in the cupcake. I don’t think it’s largely noticeable but I thought the light hint of it would be nice. If you don’t have any on hand and can’t find it easily, just replace it with vanilla extract.
The cupcakes are fairly straightforward to make. Cream the butter and sugars (super important for a fluffy cupcake – don’t skimp on it), then add the eggs, cocoa and alternate the dry and wet ingredients. They bake up beautifully! It’s a wonderfully light cupcake that just has so much flavor.
And the frosting? Oh man, I could just eat with a spoon. The dark chocolate is just so rich and fudgy.
To top it all off, the chocolate bark with more smokey salt and bacon. I mean, done. It’s over. SO MUCH GOODNESS!
Even if you aren’t a fan of actually drinking bourbon, you might love these cupcakes. They are the jam. But there is a lot of flavor going on so get ready for a kick in the tastebuds, my friends. These are no joke.
Smokey Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon
Yield: 12-14 cupcakes
Smokey Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes
1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (104g) sugar
1/2 cup (72g) light brown sugar, unpacked
1/2 tsp maple extract
6 tbsp (90ml) water
6 tbsp (43g) dark cocoa powder
1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp crushed smokey salt
6 tbsp (90ml) bourbon
Smokey Bacon Chocolate Bark
7 oz chocolate candy melts
sprinkle of smokey salt
about 2 tsp bacon bits
Bourbon Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (112g) salted butter
1/2 cup (95g) shortening
3 1/2 cups (403g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (57g) dark cocoa powder
5-6 tbsp (75-90ml) bourbon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. Beat butter and sugars until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended.
4. Add vanilla, water and cocoa powder to another bowl and whisk until smooth.
5. Add chocolate mixture to batter and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
6. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
7. Alternate adding the flour mixture and bourbon to the batter. Begin by adding half of the dry mix, then mix well. Add the bourbon and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.
8. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 way. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Allow cupcakes to cool about 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
10. While the cupcakes cool, make the chocolate bark. Add the candy melts to a small bowl and melt according to the package directions.
11. Spread the candy melts into an even layer onto a piece of parchment paper set over a cookie sheet.
12. Quickly sprinkle smokey salt and bacon bits over the chocolate, then allow to cool and firm completely. Once cool, break into pieces.
13. To make the frosting, beat the butter and shortening until smooth.
14. Add about half of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder and beat until smooth.
15. Add about 5 tbsp of bourbon and mix until smooth.
16. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
17. Add remaining bourbon, if needed for the right consistency.
18. Frost the cooled cupcakes, then top them with the chocolate bark. I used Ateco tip 844 for the frosting (Wilton 2D and 1M are similar).
A few notes about the ingredients. You can replace the shortening in the frosting with additional butter, if you prefer. If you can’t find smokey salt, you could replace it with regular salt. Also, if you have trouble finding maple extract, replace with vanilla extract.
I used 3+ mini bottles total of bourbon in the cupcakes and frosting.
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