Thursday, July 19, 2012

Calling All Guinea Pigs!

The heat wave last week prevented a test recipe from becoming my reality, so as soon as the thermostat dipped below 20 degrees celsius the other day, I whipped out the chili oil, bacon and sea salt, and got busy!

I have seen lots of recipes calling for chili and chocolate, or bacon and chocolate, but I must say that I have not really come across one that called for all of them together except for this place (a rather original business concept).  I don't dare say that I'm among the first ones to ever think of doing this, but I am positive that I am the first baker to do this, that I know of, in my kitchen. (For you, D$!)

The inspiration for this actually came from the night I attended a friend's house warming party.  She had some bacon chocolate chip cookies sitting around and the thought of eating chocolate and bacon together puzzled me... until I tried it.  The saltiness of the bacon and the chalky, sweet chocolate played twister in my mouth.  Suddenly I saw a rainbow coloured piglet flying through Willy Wonka's factory... oh sorry, that was a dream I had last night, never mind.  Anyway, the flavours worked so well together that I decided I had to work them into a cupcake.

Rather than putting everything on the cake as toppings, I flavoured the chocolate base with cayenne oil and incorporated home made bacon bits into the buttercream frosting.  I chose the lean back bacon because I think there is nothing worse than biting into the cake and getting a mouthful of sinew-y gristle-y bacon fat.  I then went one step further and sprinkled sea salt onto the frosting to neutralize the sweetness of the 6 cups of confectioner's sugar!  4 and a half dozens of cupcakes later, I looked at the naked cakes and hoped that my hands wouldn't into these after frosting them.  Fortunately, a minor cramp was all that I had to endure.
With this less-than-usual combination of ingredients, I knew that I had to find more than just a handful of taste testers for this recipe, given that spicy cupcakes may not be as widely embraced as, say, a red velvet cupcake.  Lucky for me, the tasting day turned out to be a 2-crew day at the Grumpster's place of work.  In addition to that, I was also able to twist the rubber arms of some ex-colleagues and got myself a solid group of test subjects, I mean, Guinea Pigs.  (Thank you everybody!)

At the end of the day, I think this recipe is a keeper.  With a couple of tweaks, the boldness of the cayenne and the depth of the salty bacon could turn my plain old chocolate cupcakes into tasty new favourites!

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