Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bacon Maple Beer Cake: The Manliest Cake Ever

This is the perfect cake for dudes or any bacon lover. Maybe a good Father's Day treat?

When you're part of a large family, there are a lot of celebrations. These celebrations come with the usual fare of parties, presents, and cake. Sometimes you can just get burnt out on sheet cake adorned with colorful sentiments. 

When The Captain's birthday came around, he was already over cake. He had requested a cheesecake or pie instead, but I told him I already had an idea. I promised him that although it was cake, it would be something he would enjoy. I had been scouring Pinterest for a recipe that would be worthy of his tired taste buds. I found this original recipe from La Cucina Della Prima Donna which provided the basis and inspiration for cake. I kicked it up a bit further by adding a few more elements and tweaking the recipe a touch.

Bacon Maple Beer Cake- OMG this is amazing!

This really was his personality in a baked good. It incorporated all of his favorite things, good craft beer, bacon, maple, and caramel. It was destined to be the manliest cake ever. This was the toughest cake I have ever made, not because it was complex, but because I couldn't taste it! I have been a vegetarian for 18 years, so this bacon loaded confection is not an option. Don't worry, I had plenty of willing taste testers.

The making of the Manliest Cake Ever

There are a number of elements to this cake. The foundation consists of two layers of a maple beer cake. Sandwiched in between is a beer bacon butter cream. The cake is then topped with a salted caramel glaze and a rugged, but sweet, bacon beer peanut brittle. What results is the perfect blend of salty, sweet, and decadent perfection. Just like The Captain. 

It received his seal of approval, success. Now that Father's Day is coming up on Sunday, I now need to top this. It made a great birthday cake, but a manly cake like this would be perfect for celebrating Dad too. The recipe is below, so if you'd like to make it for father's day, you can. 

The perfect cake for any man (or bacon lover) in your life! Bacon Maple Beer Cake.

This cake serves 8-10 people with man sized slice. Here are all the ingredients you will need, but I also break it down below by component. 

Full Ingredients

8 slices thick cut-bacon
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 good, flavorful beer. I used Rogue's VooDoo Donut Maple Bacon Ale (You won't use a whole beer, but you can drink the leftovers)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
4 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 2/3-2 1/6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
5/8 tsp salt
5/8 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 Tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsps vanilla extract
2 tsps maple extract

Bacon Beer Brittle

6 slices thick-cut bacon cooked crispy and chopped
1/4 cup Maple Bacon Ale (or your beer of choice)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of chopped peanuts

Saute the bacon in a preheated skillet on medium heat. I cooked all 8 slices, and set two aside for the butter cream. You want the bacon to be crisp, so give it a good 20-30 minutes and flip when needed. Let the bacon cool on paper towels and then chop. I really wanted the bacon to be noticeable, so I kept it a coarse chop rather than a small, fine pieces. Set the chopped bacon and chopped peanuts aside.

Have ready a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. You can use parchment paper as well, but silicone mats are amazing. 

In a saucepan combine the beer, sugar and corn syrup and bring the mixture to 250 degrees F without stirring. (You will need a candy thermometer) Once it reaches temperature add the butter and stir constantly until the brittle mixture reaches 320 degrees F. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the baking soda. The brittle will foam. Add in the chopped nuts and bacon, folding to incorporate evenly. 

Pour onto your prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Let the brittle cool completely and then break into small pieces. Since this cake is manly, a rough and rugged pieces are okay.

Now for the cake...

Maple Beer Cake

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 tsps maple extract
4 whole eggs
1/4 cup Maple Bacon Beer (or the beer you chose)
1/4 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease two 8 inch round cake pans. I used coconut oil. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In a large mixer or mixing bowl cream the butter and both sugars until it reaches a fluffy texture. Now add in the maple syrup and extracts. Slowly beat in each egg, one at a time. Once combined, add in the milk and beer, then incorporate the dry ingredients. 

Evenly pour the batter into each cake pan and place on the center rack. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 30 minutes, then place on a wire rack until completely cool. 

While the cakes cool, you can prepare the glaze and butter cream...

Salted Caramel Glaze

5 Tbsps unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Heat to a boil the butter, sugar, cream, and salt. Let boil for one minute, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla and powdered sugar until the glaze is smooth. Set aside until the cakes are cooled and assembled.

Beer Bacon Butter cream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsps cup honey
2 Tbsps cup maple syrup
2 Tbsps Maple Bacon Beer (again, or your beer of choice)
1-1 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
2 strips crispy bacon, chopped

Beat together bitter, honey, syrup and beer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar a little at a time. You may need more, you may need less to get to butter cream consistency. Then gently fold in the chopped bacon.

Now put together you manly masterpiece...

The Finished Product

Using a serrated knife even out your now cooled cake layers and brush away any crumbs. Place the bottom layer on your serving platter of choice. Spread the bacon beer butter cream evenly atop the bottom layer. 

Carefully place the second cake layer on top. Whisk the salted caramel glaze to get rid of any crystal from sitting and pour and spread on top of the cakes. Don't worry if it drips down the sides a bit, this cake is meant to tease you with glimpses of it's ingredients. Think those messy burgers from a Carl's Jr. commercial. Again, this cake is the manliest cake ever. 

Lastly, top generously with the bacon beer brittle and revel in your bacon baker glory. 

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