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I was a vegetarian for many years. It was bacon that did me in. Here, the salty bacon is offset perfectly by the maple syrup. The buttercream is made with real butter, making it velvety smooth and melt-in-your mouth delicious. This buttercream (used as a filling in our Edbile Brooch Wedding Cake) is great on cupcakes, cakes, or a spoon. It’s far from vegetarian, but very close to perfect. Enjoy.
Classic French Buttercream
1 cup (8 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
6 larg egg yolks
1 lb butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
Beat egg yolks until thick and very light in color. (This takes about 5-10 minutes in a KitchenAid.) They will no longer even look like egg yolks:
Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally (and very carefully so that none of the sugar sticks to the side of the pot). When the sugar reaches the softball stage (235-240 degrees), immediately remove from heat.
With mixer turned off, add about an ounce of the mixture to the yolks. Beat at medium speed for five seconds. (I sometimes drape a towel over the mixer to prevent splattering.) Add remaining sugar/water mixture and beat on high. Continue to beat until yolks are completely cooled. Mixture will be light and thick. Add butter and beat until smooth.
If mixture curdles, butter is too cold. Continue to beat until mixture smooths out. If mixture looks soupy, butter is too warm. Refrigerate for ten minutes and rebeat. If proper consistency is not achieved, refrigerate at ten minute intervals and beat until smooth.
Recipe yields enough to fill an ice one 8″ round, 2 layer cake.
I played around with the addition of the syrup and the bacon, and got some pretty interesting results. Adding two tablespoons of syrup and crumbled bacon yielded layered flavors: first the taste of the buttercream, followed by the maple syrup, then finally the bacon. (I should warn you that I am morally opposed to subtle flavors. I want to know exactly what I’m tasting when I taste it. I’m not into a “hint” of this or a “whisper” of that. Also, it’s ironic that I bake, since I’m definitely not into precision. The recipe below can and should be adapted to your taste.) I was looking for more even flavoring, so I came up with this:
Maple Bacon Buttercream
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup 100% Pure Maple Syrup
1 recipe Classic French Buttercream
Cook bacon until cooked but not crunchy. Remove from pan. When cool enough to touch, cut or crumble into small pieces. Strain bacon fat into heat-proof container.
In a heavy bottom saucepan, reduce syrup on medium heat to 1/4 cup.
Both bacon fat and syrup should be liquid enough to pour. (Bacon fat and syrup will be warm enough to melt buttercream.) Begin by adding 1 tablespoon bacon fat and 2 tablespoons maple syrup reduction to buttercream. Beat on high until fully mixed. Add more to taste. (Remember, I like strong flavors, but you might not.) Refrigerate for 10 minutes and beat, repeating until desired consistency is achieved. Lastly, mix in crumbled bacon.
Because of the bits of bacon, Maple Bacon Buttercream is best used as a filling rather than an icing.
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