Want to make a batch of special gluten free cupcakes for a party? Something that’s so delicious that your guests won’t know they’re gluten free? Try these Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes!
The first time I made these gluten free bacon cupcakes was at a bacon themed party. Everyone – including my kids – loved how the cupcakes turned out.
No one thought bacon cupcakes were too weird or greasy. They loved the flavor combinations I used in the bacon cupcake recipe, too – maple, bacon, brown sugar, and peach whiskey!
It’s easy to make Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes!
The first thing you’ll need to do for these gluten free cupcakes is to make a batch of candied bacon to mix into the batter and to use as a garnish.
I made candied bacon using Kevin at Closet Cooking’s method. However, I used twice as much maple syrup and brown sugar, because I wanted those flavors to come through.
Since these bacon cupcakes are made with a gluten free chocolate cake mix and canned frosting, they’re practically fuss free. So much easier than making cupcakes from scratch, too!
The way you “Cake Doctor” the cupcake mix is by adding peach whiskey, bacon grease, and chopped up pieces of candied bacon to it. (Trust me, it’ll be amazing.) If using bacon grease sounds too weird, feel free to use butter instead.
The vanilla frosting is customized with the addition of maple syrup and peach whiskey. Yum! (It’s hard not to sneak a few fingerfuls before frosting your gluten free cupcakes!)
This Mama’s tips for making bacon cupcakes
If you don’t have peach whiskey, bourbon is a good substitute. If you don’t drink alcohol, you can omit it. Just add another ounce of water or maple syrup when making the batter. For the frosting for these bacon cupcakes, just leave the whiskey or bourbon out.
I prefer real maple syrup over pancake syrup for this bacon cupcake recipe. I feel you’ll get more maple flavor from the real stuff.
Make sure the candied bacon you use for the garnish is crispy. I found mine wasn’t crispy enough and eventually folded over. (The candied bacon that goes into the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes batter doesn’t need to be as crispy.)
To get extra crispy bacon for the garnish, put five or so bacon strips back in the oven to cook a bit longer. Make sure to keep on eye on the candied bacon so it doesn’t burn!
Don’t like how chocolate cupcakes show through the cupcake liner? You can use parchment liners, which are thicker but don’t come in decorative colors.
Or you can do what I do – bake in one liner and then place them in another liner before frosting the easy bacon cupcakes. I find this double lining is so pretty and you can have fun with matching liner colors to frosting or your party theme.
If it’s hot out and you’re taking your gluten free cupcakes to a party, place the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. This will help set the frosting and stop it from “melting” and losing its stiffness in the heat and humidity.
I also like cold cupcakes vs. room temperature cupcakes. I think the cold temperature makes these bacon cupcakes taste better.
Finally, don’t tell anyone that these Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes are gluten free – unless they’re on a gluten free diet. For some reason people think gluten free = yucky!
They won’t try something that’s gluten free even if you swear that it’s delicious. Oh well, more for me and my gluten free friends!
This Mama’s favorite bacon cupcake baking equipment
Here are some of my must have kitchen gadgets that help making cupcake recipes so much easier:
- Wilton Batter Spoons makes it easier to measure out and pour the batter into the cupcake pan.
- Silicon Pastry Brushes are much easier to clean than a traditional pastry brush. Just pop it into the dishwasher.
- Wilton cupcake liners – so pretty!
- Wilton cupcake baking pans are terrific. Worth replacing your old beat up ones for, too.
- Wilton X-large icing tips are what I use to frost my cupcakes.
- Wilton Disposable Decorating Bags – don’t let “disposable” throw you. You can wash and reuse these dozens of times.
- Cake Taster – better than using a toothpick because it makes a smaller hole in your baked goods.
Gluten Free Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
For candied bacon:
- 1 pound thick cut bacon
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cans Pillsbury white frosting
- 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons peach whiskey
- 1-2 cups confectioners sugar (if needed)
- 1 package Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix
- 1/2 cup bacon grease from making candied bacon (Note: if you don’t have enough bacon grease, add softened butter to make 1/2 cup)
- 1 ounce peach whiskey
- 2 ounces real maple syrup plus extra for drizzling
- 5 ounces water
- 1/2 cup chopped candied bacon plus more for garnishing
To make candied bacon:
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of the lined cookie sheet. Place bacon on the wire rack on and using a silicone pastry brush, brush the top of each strip with maple syrup. Then sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the bacon.
- Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Flip strips of bacon, brush with remaining maple syrup, and then sprinkle with rest of brown sugar.
- Bake for another 20 minutes. If you want crispier bacon, cook for longer but checking every couple of minutes so bacon doesn’t burn.
- Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
- Pour bacon grease from baking sheets into a small bowl. Place in refrigerator to solidify into a butter like consistency.
To make frosting:
- Spoon frosting into a medium size bowl. Add maple syrup and bourbon and stir until combined.
- If frosting is too thin for piping, add confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time to frosting until desired stiffness is reached.
- Spoon frosting back into containers and refrigerate until cupcakes are ready to be frosted.
To make cupcakes:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place cupcake liners in cupcake baking pans.
- Beat cake mix, bacon grease, bourbon, maple syrup, and water on low for 30 seconds. Then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl down, add chopped candied bacon, and beat for 10 seconds until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour mix into cupcake liners using a medium ice cream scoop or a medium Wilton batter spoon, filing them 2/3 of the way.
- Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 20-22 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- When done, remove from oven and let cool in pan until pan cools enough to pick up. Then remove cupcakes and place on wire rack until cool.
- Decorate with flavored frosting. Place pieces of candied bacon on top of cupcake and drizzle with a little maple syrup before serving.
- Serving size: 1 cupcake
Originally published on July 25, 2016. Updated with new photos and information.