Sweet and seasonal cupcakes with all the flavors of your favorite pancake breakfast! These cupcakes are baked with buttermilk, apples, & cinnamon, with a luscious maple Swiss meringue buttercream and a sprinkling of crisp bacon!
But once I got going with it, I was so happy to have been invited!
Dani gave us a list of ingredients, and all 11 of us were tasked with coming up with a fabulous recipe that included at least 2 of the ingredients. I had so much fun brainstorming ideas!
Here are the contents of our “Mystery Box”:
I chose to use apples, bacon, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
I had seen this recipe a while back and thought the concept was just brilliant. I knew I wanted to put my own spin on it, and Mystery Dish gave me the perfect excuse!
It took me a few tries to get the recipe right. It all started with my Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe. This has been, by far, the most popular post on my blog since I originally published it back in July! It really makes a stellar cupcake!
But we are here to talk about apple cinnamon pancake cupcakes.
To get the pancakey flavor, I wanted to include buttermilk, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Subbing those ingredients in, cup for cup, resulted in a flatter cupcake with a bit of a chewy texture. I like fluffy, moist and light! So I added another egg, upped the leavening, and switched to 100% cake flour. (If you don’t know about cake flour, it’s got a lower gluten content and it can be purchased easily, for $3 or $4, in the baking aisle at a regular supermarket. Or you can purchase it through my shop.)
The result was perfect! So fluffy and light, with a fine crumb and a slightly domed top. I just love the hint of warm cinnamon spice and the subtle tang from the buttermilk, and the brown sugar and fresh apple keep it super moist.
To further enhance the apple theme, you’ll want to stuff them with a dab of apple butter. Do not skip this step, friend! It’s just what the cupcakes need to really bring out the apple vibe. Just insert a sharp knife into the top of the cupcake, at an angle, and saw around in a circle to make a little well for the sticky goodness.
A generous swirl of maple swiss meringue buttercream and a sprinkling of crispy bacon adds the perfect breakfasty touch!
There are times when the idea of maple doesn’t really appeal to me. I took way too much fenugreek tincture when I was nursing, and I think it messed with my brain/tastebuds. (Fenugreek is used to infuse flavor into lower-quality pancake syrups.) But omg. This maple buttercream is a completely different story. The maple flavor is subtle, and the butter just brings something so wonderful out of it. It really tastes like the most amazing pancake breakfast, with a pool of melty butter, and warm syrup drizzled on top. The crisp bacon adds a savory touch, which I really enjoyed, but if that sounds a little “out there,” to you, feel free to omit. It’s still so incredible, even without!
Big thank yous go out to Dani of See Hubby Cook, for including me in this fun challenge and helping to make Apple Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes a reality. 😉
I can’t wait to see what my October Mystery Box Ingredients will be!
Apple Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes
Sweet and Seasonal Cupcakes with All the Flavors of your Favorite Pancake Breakfast! These Cupcakes are Baked with Buttermilk, Apples, & Cinnamon, with a Luscious Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream and a Sprinkling of Crisp Bacon!
Makes 18 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, & cut into small cubes
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh apple, peeled, cored, and grated (about 2 medium sized apples)
- about 3/4 cup of prepared apple butter
For the Topping
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool
To Make the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the first 6 (dry) ingredients.
- Add the butter, and blend on low speed, until the mixture resembles moist crumbs.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir until well combined.
- Add the buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla, stirring to combine.
- Scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula, and fold in the grated apple.
- Fill each well of a lined cupcake pan ⅔ full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, and the edges are just barely beginning to brown.
- Cool completely, and cut a small well into the top of each cupcake. Fill the well with about a teaspoon of apple butter.
To Make the Topping:
- Cut the bacon slices in half lengthwise, and then slice into rectangles about ⅛-inch wide.
- Place in a cold skillet over low heat, and cook until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and maple syrup together slightly, to combine.
- Place the bowl over a medium pot of simmering water, on medium-low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sugars have completely dissolved and the mixture no longer feels gritty when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger.
- Remove from heat and whip on high speed until the meringue holds stiff peaks and the mixture has completely cooled. There should be no hint of warmth left.
- Add in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, whipping on high speed. If the mixture begins to look curdled, keep whipping until it comes back together before adding more butter. If it is too runny to pipe or spread properly, place the mixture (in the mixing bowl) into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, and whip again, until fluffy and thick.
- Pipe the maple buttercream on the cupcakes, and garnish with crisp bacon sprinkles.
Be sure to check out this Swiss meringue buttercream post, for lots more info on how this frosting is made!
For now, be sure to check out all the other fabulous recipes from Mystery Dish Gals: