Mini-Elvis Bacon Cupcakes for Fat Tuesday
Bacon is clogging the arteries of the Internet. Everywhere you click, someone has written about the glorious excesses of bacon. A Google search for bacon explosion yields more than five hundred thousand results. During the twelve days of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, Minnesotans couldn’t stop talking and blogging about Famous Dave’s Pig Licker, chocolate-covered fried bacon, and Big Fat Bacon, ⅓ pound of fried, maple syrup covered bacon. Mike Nelson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000, has vowed to eat nothing but bacon for the entire month of February. I, for one, have had enough of bacon and that’s why I’m giving it up, after today. Let me be clear: I’m not giving up eating bacon, I’m just giving up reading about the excesses of it, the wondrous edible structures that can be built from it, and what one person can do with a pound of it in a single outrageous meal.
And while I’m looking at the blogosphere through cranky-colored lenses, you know what else frosts me? Cupcakes. Everyone who isn’t blogging about bacon is blogging about cupcakes as if life were a long series of emergency PTA bake sales and the Department of Homeland Security has us all in a perpetual state of pastel alert. It’s all just a little too twee.
In the spirit of Fat Tuesday, when we use up all of our sugar and butter and flour in feasting on pancakes or king cake before the season of fasting starts on Ash Wednesday, I propose that we use up all of our bacon and sugar in baking Elvis cupcakes: miniature banana and chocolate chip cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, garnished with bacon, then battered, deep fried, and drizzled with honey. That ought to be just enough of a fat, sugar and twee spree to get bacon and cupcakes out of our collective system.
Fans of the King know that fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches were among Elvis Presley‘s favorites; they are even on the menu at the Rockabilly Diner in Graceland. Some dispute whether Elvis ever ate bacon on his peanut butter sandwiches, but bacon and Elvis have been linked for so long now that it seems wrong to have an Elvis sandwich, or cupcake, without bacon.
The basic Elvis banana chocolate chip cupcake recipe is inspired by foodaphilia’s Elvis cake. You’ll need a miniature cupcake pan. The banana chocolate chip cupcakes are good on their own, even without the frosting, the bacon garnish, or being battered and fried. The bacon provides a surprising crunch and rescues the frosted cupcakes from being overwhelmingly sweet. Battering and deep frying is only for the truly committed. You can quit as soon as you’ve had enough, but you won’t know if you’ve gone far enough until you’ve gone too far. As my husband said as he finished off a deep-fried Elvis cupcake in two bites, then licked the honey from his fingers, “It’s not sick and disgusting if it tastes good.”
Banana chocolate chip mini-cupcakes
Yields 48 mini-cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup milk
2 bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp banana extract
Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease muffin cups with butter or lard. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly with mixer after adding each. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beating just to combine. Mix in mashed bananas and vanilla and banana extracts. Spoon one tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup, then place 3 chocolate chips (tip down) into each cup. Bake at 325° for 15-16 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Let cool 20 minutes before removing cupcakes from pan. You might need to lift each cupcake out gently using a rubber spatula so you don’t smear the chocolate. Let cool on cooling racks thoroughly before frosting.
Peanut butter frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy, sweetened peanut butter (brand name peanut butter sold in grocery stores should be fine to eat, according to the FDA)
3 cups powdered sugar (up to 4 cups if using unsweetened peanut butter)
pinch cayenne pepper
milk, as needed, up to 2 TBSP
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time adding milk as necessary to adjust the consistency. Frost cupcakes once cupcakes are completely cooled.
Fry thick cut bacon in a pan until crispy. Drain thoroughly. Pat with paper towels to remove excess grease. Cut into interesting shapes using kitchen shears. Garnish cupcakes — I imagined mine were sporting teensy bacon mohawks. If you are planning to batter and fry the cupcakes, put the cupcakes in the freezer for approximately 2 hours, long enough for the frosting to freeze (otherwise the frosting disintegrates in the hot oil), but not so long that the cupcakes freeze through.
Battering and deep-frying
Mix up the batter according to CD Kitchen’s recipe, which provides enough batter for about a dozen cupcakes.
6 cups peanut oil (for deep-frying)
honey in a squeeze-bear bottle, for drizzling
In deep fryer, heat peanut oil to 400°. Dip each cupcake in batter, then lower gently into the oil. Fry for one to two minutes until golden and crispy. Drizzle with honey and serve.
No time for baking?
Keep an eye out for Elvis cupcakes on Miel y Leche’s cupcake schedule. You’ll have to deep-fry them yourself.
And let that be the last word on bacon. And cupcakes.