Maple bacon cupcakes are soft, tender maple flavored cupcakes with a small amount of bacon grease in the batter. Then, the frosting is maple flavored and crowned with a candied maple bacon piece. It’s like your favorite donut, but in cupcake form! The recipe makes 10 delicious cupcakes.

Close up of maple bacon cupcakes with bacon piece on top.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

I have a lot of love for cupcakes made with maple syrup–the ones that I use for baby’s first birthday cake, specifically. Everyone who eats them at my kids’ birthday parties comments that the cupcake is so good! They don’t even notice that it’s made entirely with maple syrup, and no other sugars!

When we use all liquid sweetener, like maple syrup, we get soft, tender cupcakes that have the best almost cotton-like texture. I cannot stop eating these maple cupcakes, plain. There is one difference between these cupcakes at the ones I make for the kids: this cupcake has one tablespoon of bacon grease stirred into the batter. This is the first step to making these cupcakes maple bacon flavored.

These cupcakes are inspired by a maple bacon donut that I love at a friend’s donut shop. The way my friend candies the bacon slices in maple syrup made me realize that it needed to be the crown on top of these maple bacon cupcakes!

These cupcakes are simply maple flavored because they’re made with maple syrup, though they do contain a single tablespoon of leftover bacon grease from making the cupcake toppers. The buttercream itself is maple buttercream, and the candied bacon piece on top is the salty bite this cupcake needs.

This maple bacon cupcake recipe makes 10 cupcakes, but you can double it. Be sure to follow the directions, and make the bacon toppers first. You need the bacon grease from the pan for the cupcake batter, so don’t make this recipe out of order. If you’re looking for a delicious way to use the rest of the bacon package, try my chicken bacon pasta for two!

Ingredients:

  • sliced bacon: Just 5 slices of bacon, thick-cut is always best. We’re placing a half slice on each cupcake, so 5 pieces makes enough cupcake garnishes for 10 cupcakes.
  • unsalted butter: Part of the butter (3 tablespoons) doesn’t need to be softened because we will be melting it for the cupcakes. The other part (7 tablespoons) should be softened for the maple buttercream after the cupcakes are baked.
  • maple syrup: Both grade A or grade B maple syrup will work here. Personally, I prefer the grade B because it’s harvested later in the maple tapping season, and the flavors are more complex. The grade A maple syrup is slightly thinner and is simply sweet. Use whatever you have, but make sure it’s real maple syrup, not pancake syrup or an imitation of maple syrup. Speaking of maple syrup, did you know you could use it in place of corn syrup for making marshmallows? My homemade marshmallows without corn syrup use maple syrup–you will love them!
  • egg
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • whole milk
  • powdered sugar

How to make maple bacon cupcakes:

  1. First, gather your ingredients: bacon slices, butter, maple syrup, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. The powdered sugar is for the buttercream later on. I like to gather the ingredients and pre-measure, so that when I’m baking, everything goes much faster.
    Ingredients for maple bacon cupcakes.
  2. We’re first going to make the bacon cupcake toppers. We need some of the rendered bacon fat from the skillet to make the cupcakes, so we’re gong to cook our bacon first. Cut each bacon strip in half to make 10 total bacon pieces. Place them in a skillet not touching each other, and cook (flipping often) until is starting to crisp on the edges, about 7-10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and then pour off all of the fat from the skillet, (reserving 1 tablespoon for the cupcakes). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra maple syrup on top of the bacon pieces, and turn the heat back on to LOW and cook until syrupy and thick, about 4-5 minutes.
    Bacon cooked in white skillet with maple syrup on top.
  3. Remove the candied bacon pieces from the skillet, and let cool. Now, it’s time to make the cupcake batter! Preheat the oven to 325, and place 10 cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
  4. In a glass bowl, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the 2/3 cup of maple syrup, and one large egg. Whisk to combine.
    Melted butter, maple syrup, and egg in clear glass bowl.
  5. Once the butter, maple syrup, and egg is fully whisked together, add a reserved tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet.
    Cupcakes made with bacon fat.
  6. Once the liquid ingredients are all mixed together, sprinkle the one cup of flour, one teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt on top. Whisk to combine, while slowly pouring in 1/2 cup of whole milk.
    Pouring milk into cupcake batter in bowl.
  7. Divide the batter among the 10 cupcake liners, and bake for 19-20 minutes, using a cake tester to ensure cupcakes are done before removing them from the oven. Cupcakes are done when they spring back when you gently press on them, and a cake tester comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it, no wet batter.
    Yellow cupcake batter in muffin pan.
  8. Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely before attempting to frost, or the maple buttercream will melt!
    Cupcakes cooling on wire rack.
  9. To make the frosting, combine the 7 tablespoons of softened butter in a bowl with the 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a big pinch of salt. Beat to combine until light and fluffy. Add an additional tablespoon of maple syrup, only if you think it needs more moisture. 
    Making maple buttercream frosting in a clear bowl.
  10. When the frosting is fluffy, scrape it into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Make one big round dollop of frosting, followed by another small dollop on top. This will give you the look you see in the photos, but it’s not necessary. You can decorate with a butter knife instead–these are good any way you make them!
    Whipped maple buttercream for cupcakes.
  11. After the frosting has been piped on, place a bacon piece on top of each cupcake, and serve.

Bacon on top of maple cupcakes.

Can you make these ahead of time?

You can definitely make and freeze the maple bacon cupcakes ahead of time. Freeze them in air-tight containers for up to one month. To use, defrost overnight on the counter, and then frost with maple buttercream. The crisp bacon piece on top is best made the day you plan to serve the cupcakes.

Can this recipe be doubled?

Yes, you can double this recipe and make 20 cupcakes for a larger party.

Other cupcake recipes:

Yield: 10

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Close up of maple bacon cupcakes with bacon piece on top.

Maple bacon cupcakes with maple buttercream and a candied bacon slice on top.

Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons extra for bacon pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

For the maple buttercream:

  • 7 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • big pinch of salt

Instructions

    1. Cut the bacon slices in half to make 10 equal-sized pieces, and place them in a skillet, not touching each other. Turn the heat to medium, and cook the bacon, flipping often, until it’s cooked all the way through, and just starting to turn crisp around the edges, about 7-10 minutes. When the bacon is done, turn the heat off. Pour off the bacon grease and reserve 1 tablespoon for the cupcakes. Leave the bacon in the pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of maple syrup over the bacon slices, and turn the heat back on to low. Bring the mixture to a simmer, allowing the bacon pieces to cook in the maple syrup and become sticky, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the bacon pieces from the skillet, and set aside to cool.

    2. Preheat the oven to 325, and place 10 cupcake liners in a cupcake or muffin pan.

    3. In a medium bowl, add the maple syrup and egg to the bowl, and whisk very well until well-blended. Whisk in the reserved 1 tablespoon of bacon grease, and whisk again.

    4. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and salt evenly over the mixture in the bowl. Whisk in the flour while slowly pouring in the milk. Whisk until combined.

    5. Divide the batter evenly between the 10 cupcake liners.

    6. Bake for 19-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

    7. Once the cupcakes are cool, you can make the maple buttercream.

    8. Make the frosting: beat together the softened butter, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and salt using an electric mixer. If the mixture seems too stiff, drizzle in an extra tablespoon of maple syrup until it’s soft and fluffy.

    9. Scrape the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream by making one large dollop, follwed by another smaller dollop, right on top.

    10. Decorate each cupcake with a piece of candied bacon, and serve.

Notes

sliced bacon: Just 5 slices of bacon, thick-cut is always best. We're placing a half slice on each cupcake, so 5 pieces makes enough cupcake garnishes for 10 cupcakes.
unsalted butter: Part of the butter (3 tablespoons) doesn't need to be softened because we will be melting it for the cupcakes. The other part (7 tablespoons) should be softened for the maple buttercream after the cupcakes are baked.
maple syrup: Both grade A or grade B maple syrup will work here. Personally, I prefer the grade B because it's harvested later in the maple tapping season, and the flavors are more complex. The grade A maple syrup is slightly thinner and is simply sweet. Use whatever you have, but make sure it's real maple syrup, not pancake syrup or an imitation of maple syrup.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 246mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 0gSugar: 28gProtein: 5g

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