Thursday, December 10, 2009
I don't know what possessed me to do this. It just came to me and I had to try. I had to make a bacon cake. Just to see what it could look like.
So I plotted my cake. I knew I had a big chunk of fondant waiting to be played with, so I figured I'd make a bacon-esque shell out of that. But, what would I fill it with? Maple seemed like the obvious choice to flavor my cake batter. Though, it seemed wrong to make a bacon cake and not actually include bacon IN the cake. To do so would make the cake a total lie. So I decided to whip up a batch of candied bacon and crumble that into some maple butter cream frosting.
Everything tastes better with bacon, so why not cake? ...Right?
So I made up some candied bacon, starting by par-cooking a half dozen slices of bacon in my skillet for a few minutes to remove most of the fat. This keeps it from sweating off all the sugars in the oven later. I then collected my bacon and massaged it with a mixture of one teaspoon pure maple syrup and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Once each piece got a thorough rub down, I set them into a roasting pan lined with parchment. I sprinkled the remaining sugar on top of each slice and placed them onto the top rack of a 350 degree oven.
I baked them for about 14 minutes, turning once. I pulled them out and let them cool on a wire rack. The result was sweet, crisp, candy coated bacon.
I then mixed three cups powdered sugar with 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup. Adding a little milk to whip the mixture into a frosting. I then took 2 pieces of my cooled bacon and crumbled them into my food processor and pulsed a few times to make candied bacon bits. I mixed these into my frosting and tasted... pretty good! Pancakes with a side of bacon good. I figured that maybe there was some hope, maybe this cake wouldn't be some hopelessly gross hipster experiment.
Not wanting to bother with baking a cake from scratch today, I just grabbed a box of mix and flavored it with one teaspoon maple extract. Once my cake was baked and cooled, I cut out a wavy bacon shaped chunk, trimmed the edges and divided it.
I sandwiched a layer of the bacon butter cream in between my layers of cake and then crumb coated it with a little more butter cream. I set this into the freezer to quickly chill while I got working on tinting the fondant. Once the crumb coat had chilled I pulled it out and applied a thicker coat of frosting to the outside of the cake, then put it into the refrigerator to chill.
I took roughly 12oz of fondant and divided into three portions. I tinted each either brownish red, pink or ivory using red, soft brown and yellow food coloring gels. I played with the fondant a lot trying to get it to look something like bacon. I found that the best method of getting semi realistic bacon is to tear sheets of the fondant and arrange the torn bits back into one collective sheet.
I took my fondant bacon sheet and draped it over my cake, then smoothed and trimmed it. It looked like a giant slab of uncut bacon. Sweet.
I snapped a few photos and then cut a slice.
It tasted pretty good! Sweet like a maple bar with little crisp bits of bacon and probably just as deadly. This thing is a heart attack served by the slice.
All in all, it wasn't half bad, very sweet and the salty bacon was a nice contrast. I don't know if I would actually serve this cake at a party (it is just too strange), but as a little experiment, it was lots of fun.