Cupcakes (or any dessert or confection) appeal mostly to females. Think about it. Cupcakes, macarons, chocolate bonbons and so forth are cute, dainty, pretty, and usually come in bright colors that does not normally appeal to an average man. So, the proprietor of Butch Bakery, David Arrick started a New York City based mail-order bakery (and co-wrote this book) creating cupcakes with a slight masculine twist.
How so? Though I have not personally tasted his cupcakes but flipping through his book (and adapting one of his recipes), it’s more about bolder flavors – and a few does contain a version of candied bacon. The decoration of the cupcakes are a bit simpler. No piping bags necessary; the greatest effort you would have to do is use an offset spatula (or a butter knife without serrated edges, as Arrick suggest) to schmear your cupcakes’ edges with frosting.
This book is geared toward the average home baker. As long as you know how to read and follow the instructions, this works for you. I do prefer to have a weight conversion on the ingredients list, as I work with a lot of years of baking experience, that it yield consistent results as the weight will always be precise. But beyond that, this is a good cupcake book that isn’t about frilly decorations and flavor combinations that appeals to almost everyone.
What I ended up whipping up was a double batch of The Driller. Though I don’t necessarily understand the connotation of the name but I do love the combination of flavors of maple syrup, a mixture of milk and dark chocolates and topped with crumbled bacon. The salty-smoky bacon cuts through the sweeter flavors of the milk and semisweet chocolate ganache and the maple flavored cupcake. Served with a cup of coffee in the morning, I never had a decadent breakfast like this in a while. The other batch was for a friend’s birthday that’s coming up tomorrow. I know this person would love it.
Here’s my adaptation of the recipe (my changes are in parenthesis, if necessary):
Adapted from The Butch Bakery by David Arrick with Janice Kollar
Yield: 15 regular-sized cupcakes (I used, as I like smaller cupcakes) or 12 jumbo-size cupcakes
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, broken into a small bowl
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup maple syrup (I used BLiS Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup, as photographed above)
Milk Chocolate Ganache
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (Substituted with Valhrona Caramélia, 9 ounces, about 256 grams)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Substituted with Valrhona Le Noir 61%, chopped, 3 ounces, about 85 grams)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup Butch’s Bacon Bits or crumbled crisp bacon
Make the cupcakes:
1. Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two 6-cup jumbo-size (or two 12-cup regular-size muffin pan but the second pan would only require 3 cups to be lined) and set aside.
2. Place a strainer over a medium mixing bowl and sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium-size mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or in the bowl of your stand mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the flour mixture and the milk, beating to combine. Add the rest of the flour mixture and add the maple syrup, and continue to mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Fill each prepared muffin cup with a rounded 1/3 cup batter, about 3/4 full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 24 minutes (for regular size cupcakes it took about 18-20 minutes). Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5-10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire to cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.
Make the Ganache
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the cream and heat until very hot but not boiling. Remove from the stove and stir in both kinds of chocolate chips until smooth and glossy. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. Transfer to a medium-size mixing bowl and cool to room temperature. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour. Beat the ganache on medium-high speed until thick and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
Assembling the cupcake
Scoop, with an ice cream scoop, about 1/3 to 1/4 cup of frosting (the ganache) and place it on the top of the cupcake. Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoon of the bacon bits on top of each cupcake. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen for 1 month. (If you want to make it a bit more tidier, like the one photographed on the book cover, Arrick suggested to add the scoop of frosting on the cupcake and take butter knife without serrated edges (or an offset spatula) and push the frosting down on top to make it flat, and then set the spatula against the cupcake’s side at a 45-degree angle and spread all the way around.
How I decorated it: I filled a pastry bag fitted with a standard medium-sized, round piping tip (Ateco #8) and pipe around the cupcake, starting at the base and continuously pipe around until you end with the top of the cupcake. Sprinkle some bacon bits and press lightly to ensure the bacon bits stay on the frosting.
You may purchase a copy of The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick with Janice Kollar via Amazon.com