Beer-batter Maple-Bacon Spring Break Cupcakes. A huuuge mouthful but something I haven’t been able to forget since I first heard it. I think most people who watch the show Two Broke Girls are familiar with this particular “stoner cupcake” created by Max during that episode where they even got Martha Stewart to taste it in the women’s powder room. Haha!
That hilarious episode aside, I have been wondering for the longest time just how exactly this Spring Break Cupcake tastes like. I did some research and came up with a surprisingly short list of satisfactory results. I set it aside and forgot about it until my brother’s recent Two Broke Girls marathon; where I saw my curiosity rise back from the dead and follow me around like a zombie until I finally decided to try one of the recipes I found online.
In my memory the show’s version was not chocolate, but in the screencaps above the cupcakes look dark in colour. Hmm. Luckily I also made a version like that, but more on it on my next post. For this post I’ll be talking about just plain old Beer-Batter Cupcakes, with maple frosting and candied bacon bits on top of course. Admittedly I botched the recipe a bit when I made it and yet the cupcakes turned out surprisingly good!
Going into the recipe, I wasn’t feeling all bubbly about the success of it. Subconsciously I think I was already preparing myself to simply chronicle this and place it under another kitchen misadventure. More convinced was I that this was the case when after adding all the necessary ingredients, I saw that batter was extremely watery. ‘How on earth is this going to come together into a cake?’ I had thought.
As it turns out, I got confused by the instructions where it says I’m supposed to pour in 1 cup (1 can) of beer. I’m not typically a scatterbrain, but somehow I retained only the “1 can” part, because why else would I pour it all in knowing (just by looking really) that the can is much bigger than 1 cup?
There is maybe like 1/8 cup more or less left in the can when you empty it out on a measuring glass, and it seems that small amount of excess beer really made the difference in the texture of the cupcakes. (Don’t worry, I’ve corrected the amounts in the instructions below. Just use 1 cup and everything should be fine.) It did give the cakes a major beer-flavour boost but I found the texture very strange for a cupcake. The cupcakes baked into a strange shape too, without that lovely cupcake bump on top. (Thus no procedure photos for that part folks!) Thank goodness for frosting.
But as I will also learn, faith plays a very important role in baking too. Even though it did not turn out quite as well as I imagined, it ended up being an even bigger surprise because it actually tasted pretty darn good. The cupcakes don’t have the typical cakey crumb, though they are moist and taste perfectly like beer in cupcake form. The texture of the cupcakes is similar to the Filipino puto, if you’re familiar with that. Dense and kind of springy. The crumb looked a bit like wet tree roots if that makes any sense. It’s the effect of the excess beer.
For these cupcakes, a simple maple-flavoured butter frosting was used, but it was the addition of candied bacon toppings on top that made it more special. You can just top with chopped crispy-fried maple-flavoured bacon though you’d probably have to finish that off sooner because the fried bacon’s flavour might change the longer it is kept in the fridge. Personally I recommend using candied bacon because it just fits in with the whole sweet dessert theme. I used the technique I previously blogged about when I made that David Lebovitz Candied Bacon Ice Cream.
So finally after assembling the cupcakes the moment of truth arrived. I took a bite and was surprised at how much the frosting and bacon complemented the beer flavour of the cupcakes. I don’t drink so I have zero idea if beer and bacon are like a drinking-night pairing, but texture of the cupcakes notwithstanding these were yummy. More importantly, my brothers LOVED the cupcakes! My brother Jason especially ate two in one sitting. You guys, I was so relieved. That guy is hard to please, I tells ya.
Just a little disclaimer though! I want to pace your expectations of this being a copycat of Max’s version from Two Broke Girls because nobody knows what those cupcakes taste like haha! I don’t know if anybody aside from Martha has every actually eaten those cupcakes, but I certainly have no point of comparison. In any case, it looks like the chocolate version I’ll be sharing in a few days will be a closer match.
And by the way, my usage of beer brand for this post is rather random. I’m not partial to Sapporo and I honestly have no idea what brand is better for baking, but it was the first can I saw in the supermarket so I just grabbed it. Use whatever beer you please but one with a fruitier flavour profile is recommended, like Hoegaarden as the original recipe author suggested.
Spring Break Cupcakes
For the Beer-Batter Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup beer, preferably a citrusy white beer like Hoegaarden
For the Maple Icing
- ¾ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- Candied Bacon, chopped or sliced as desired
Make the cupcakes
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a cupcake pan with liners. (Or grease the pan well with bacon grease if desired.)
- 2. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- 3. Using a stand mixer of handheld mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar in a mixer.
- 4. Add eggs one at a time, waiting until fully incorporated before adding the next.
- 5. Pour in the flour mixture in four additions alternating with the beer, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until all the ingredients are well-combined.
- 6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting
- 7. Beat the softened butter with half the confectioner's sugar and 1 Tablespoon of the maple syrup. Mix well and then add the remaining sugar and maple syrup. Add more sugar until desired consistency for frosting is achieved. (Or for a softer frosting, add milk a teaspoon at a time until consistency is satisfactory.)
- 8. Frost the cupcakes. You may mix some finely diced bacon into the frosting if a bacon-infused frosting is desired. Otherwise simply sprinkle the bacon on top of the cupcakes after frosting.
This whole candied bacon thing could be a good trend to have. Has anybody tried putting candied bacon on everything?