These Maple Bacon Pumpkin Cupcakes are a fun twist on a fall treat. Moist pumpkin cupcakes, made with bacon fat, get frosted with decadent maple cream cheese icing and topped with salty, crisp bacon.
For the Cupcakes:
- 12 ounces thick-cut apple-smoked bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup melted bacon fat
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon all-spice
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 pound full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Bacon crumbles
- Salted caramel sauce (optional)
- Freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon
Cook the bacon:
- Cook the diced bacon in a hot skillet until cooked through and crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon onto paper towels and let the bacon fat cool a little. Measure 1/2 cup of the bacon fat. Place the crispy bacon aside.
Make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) and whisk well.
- In a separate, large bowl, combine the eggs with both of the sugars, the bacon fat, and the oil. Whisk well until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- Add in the dry mixture, alternating with the milk, in 3 additions. Stir until just combined, being sure not to over-mix the batter.
- Spoon the batter into baking cups about 3/4 of the way full. This recipe will make about 28 cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes for about 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when touched. Rotate the cupcake trays half-way through for even baking.
Make the frosting:
- In a standing mixer, beat the room temperature butter with the paddle attachment until fluffy and soft. Add in the room temperature cream cheese and beat until combined. (It’s very important all ingredients are room temperature for cream cheese frosting to ensure there’s no lumps.) Add in sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup. Beat until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
Assemble the cupcakes:
- Pipe the cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes and top with the bacon. Top with salted caramel sauce, if desired, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg.