…because sometimes you just want a
rich, sticky, square of a maple cake,
soaked in a maple caramel sauce,
and topped with a pound of candied bacon, right?
This is a cake I’m bringing to a birthday party in about an hour. It turns out I made this exactly six months ago, and posted on it HERE, and will be making it again in about 5 days to bring it in to work for our 4th Annual International Bacon Day potluck and celebration, (typically the Saturday before Labor Day, but we don’t work on Saturdays, so we celebrate it the day before) where we will fry bacon at work to make BLTs, and eat other foods with bacon!
What are you planning to do for International Bacon Day 2014?
Maple Bacon Cake
2 and 1/4 cups (11.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
15.2 ounces (2 cups) brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 batch caramel maple sauce
1 pound candied bacon bits
1. Make the candied bacon bits (recipes follows)
2. Make caramel maple sauce (recipe follows)
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch by 9-inch square pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease parchment paper again or spray with baking spray (butter flavored oil and flour). I didn’t flour the sides, and it didn’t seem to matter because the cake didn’t stick to the sides much; in fact, when it was done it pushed away from the sides a little.
4. In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
5. With hand held electric mixer, cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg to incorporate before adding another egg. Add vanilla extract and beat again to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
6. In a small sauce pan, heat the water and maple syrup until boiling. Remove from heat once it is very hot be hot, but not boiling. Cool somewhat before using. Alternatively, you can also just microwave both the syrup and the water in a bowl for about a minute.
7. With flour mixture and water/maple syrup mixture, alternate adding to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Start with one third of the flour, followed by one half of the water/maple syrup mixture, then a second third of the flour mixture, the second half of the water/maple syrup, and finally the last third of the flour mixture, scraping down the sides after each addition, and as needed. Batter will be a little bit thin; make sure ingredients are well incorporated.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in middle rack in oven. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place cake on rack over a clean, rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
9. With a fork or skewer, punch holes over the surface of the cake to increase absorption of maple caramel sauce. If the cake has a dome on top, use a serrated knife to level the surface. Eat the scraps, or save for later.
10. Slowly pour the maple caramel sauce over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides, as well as into, the cake. You may wish to put about half at a time. You can scoop up sauce on the baking sheet to put back on the top. Cake should be able to absorb all the sauce.
11. When cake has sufficiently absorbed all of the maple caramel sauce, top with the candied bacon bits. Serve with coffee, or milk, add dollop of whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream–however way you’d like to serve it, really. I’ll leave it up to you to decided whether you want to workout or not, afterwards!
Candied Bacon Bits
16 ounces center-cut bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
Fry bacon on a stove top or in a 375 degree oven, arranged on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, baking for about 15 minutes. Do not bake it completely, as you will bake it again with brown sugar. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, for the maple bacon sauce, (if desired). Discard the rest of the bacon grease, or else use it for some other purpose. Let cool until it can be handled. Cut bacon strips into roughly 1/2 inch squares. I just used a large knife and stacked them somewhat before cutting them; it doesn’t have to be perfect squares. Place bacon squares in a bowl and mix the bacon with about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Place sugared bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Baked on 350 degrees F, for about 10 minutes, or until slightly caramelized, being careful not to burn sugar. Use for topping the cake.
Maple caramel sauce
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
3/8 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease, optional
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the cream, butter, brown sugar and maple syrup, plus optional bacon grease and salt, if desired. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat. Set aside. If sauce clumps after sitting, whisk again and strain in a sieve to remove clumps.