Friday, March 7, 2014

Man Cakes #1

MAN CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!
I used leopard-print wrappers because leopard is a neutral. Every man likes leopard. Okay, maybe it's just me that likes leopard, but I've never had anyone refuse a cupcake and then throw it at me because of not liking the wrapper.

I named this cupcake "Man Cakes #1" because "Man Cakes" is such a great name I'm sure I'll use it again.

Bus+Stripper Pole=Party Bus
I made this cupcake originally for my brother's bachelor party. That's right-- it was a co-ed bachelor party, and I was his "Best (Wo)Man." It was pretty much the perfect party. We drove to San Diego from LA where we met about 20 of Chris's friends and hopped onto a party bus. The driver was wearing a pin-striped vest, tight jeans, and a fedora; and the bus had poles running through it. The only thing these could possibly be for is sexy dancing, which my brother's female boss proceeded to do. Our driver took us to 3 of San Diego's best breweries: Green Flash, where we had a tour; Stone, where we ate lunch; and Lost Abbey, where we tried our best not to fall asleep from too much alcohol. I gave these cupcakes out after Lost Abbey to try and revive everyone. We were supposed to go to Mission as well, but never made it to the last one. Once we had all cleaned up/napped, we headed out to a gastropub for dinner. We ate outside in the beautiful, warm San Diego air, and everyone made a speech for my brother. From there we ended up at an Irish bar/dance club, and the night ended with quesadillas sometime around 3:30am.

My brother (aka: the bachelor), my father (Yes! Even Daddy was invited to the bachelor party!) and me at Lost Abbey
Because we were traveling, I baked the cupcakes in jars for my brother's bachelor party. Instructions on how to do that can be found here.

The second time I made these cupcakes was for my friend Alex's birthday. Alex and I met about a year-and-a-half ago at a mutual friend's birthday party. We started talking when I noticed his shirt said "BaconStripsandBaconStripsandBaconStripsandBaconStrips." From there we discovered our shared love of beer, and we've been spending time together ever since. A couple days after his birthday, he came over to meet some of my other "beer friends" and we toasted him with beer and bacon-themed snacks, including this one.

Man Cakes #1 Instructions

yield: 10 cupcakes

1) Prepare the cupcakes

     1 cup scotch ale (I used Old Chub by Oskar Blues for Alex's birthday. Don't remember the one I used for Chris's bachelor party, but it was something from San Diego)
     1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
     3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
     1/3 cup baking oil (I used avocado but canola would work well, too)
     1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
     3/4 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 tsp. baking powder

     a) Follow instructions #1-4 for hipster PBR cupcakes found here. But use scotch ale, not PBR.
     b) Let cupcakes cool on wire racks.

2) Cook some bacon!

     1 lb. high-quality bacon (I used the applewood smoked bits and ends from Trader Joe's)

     a) Preheat a large pan over medium heat.
     b) Chop your bacon into pieces about 1/2 inch across.
     c) Add bacon to pan and cook, turning occasionally until crisp (about 6-7 minutes). You may need to do this in batches.
     d) Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Chop if any of the pieces are still too big to put on top of cupcakes (as crumbles).
     e) Reserve bacon drippings by placing 4 layers of cheesecloth over the top of a glass jar and straining the cooled drippings through the cheesecloth. Do not put your drippings in the fridge yet, because you want them room temperature.

3) Glaze your cupcakes.

     1 tbsp. liquid bacon drippings
     1 tbsp. maple syrup

     a) Poke holes in your cooled cupcakes using a toothpick. Aim for 7-10 holes per cupcake.

     b) Mix together the bacon drippings and maple syrup in a small bowl.
     c) Using a 1/2 tsp. spoon, pour bacon-maple mixture over each cupcake slowly enough so that it can seep into the holes. Some may spill, so it's helpful if you leave the cupcakes in the pan for this to catch any spills.

     d) Store any leftover bacon drippings in the fridge and use them in place of butter or olive oil in almost anything--for frying quesadillas, for scrambling eggs, for putting on top of toast.... Okay, I'm kidding about that last part (maybe).

4) Mix your maple cream cheese frosting. Note: The following recipe is adapted from one you can find here.

     8oz cream cheese, softened
     8oz unsalted butter, softened
     1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
     3 tbsp. maple syrup

     a) Using an electric mixer, beat your cream cheese and butter together until combined and smooth.
     b) Add in the maple syrup and beat until combined.
     c) Add in the first 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

5) Assemble your parts.

     10 glazed scotch ale cupcakes
     maple cream cheese frosting
     bacon crumbles

     a) Using either a star-tip or a round-tip, pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
     b) Top with crumbled bacon bits. 
     c) Unzip your pants, scratch a little bit, and eat your cupcake like a man.
The birthday man (Alex) with his MAN CAKE

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