Friday, July 27, 2012

Citrus Ale Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Citrus Bacon

We just celebrated a lovely birthday with my better half, G. It was nice for the first time in our marriage (and dating!) to actually be with him and do a birthday the way my Momma did for all of my growing up years. We kicked off the week with a party for G and his cellist, Alan, since they share the same day of birth. The party was strictly ale themed, featuring homemade ale hot dog buns, beer brats, ale baked beans and a few non-ale items including America's Test Kitchen's granny smith cole slaw, and G's brother's AMAZING guacamole recipe. Last but not least, these little cupcake friends were also in attendance.

Although I was a little bummed with myself for over-baking the cakes due to our stupid-hot oven, the batter had that very desirable birthday cake taste, with just that little extra fizz from the ale. The citrus and cream cheese truly compliment such a birthday batter flavor and the candied bacon just adds that extra celebratory flare. They were definitely a hit and truly didn't require any extra work! Try 'em out!

Citrus Ale Cupcakes
adapted from Sweet Tooth
makes 24

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 and 3/4 cup sugar
2 and 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
zest of half an orange
1 cup of your favorite summer ale or heffeweisen (I went with Weihenstephan!)
1/4 cup milk

- Preheat the oven to 375 and line muffin tins with 24 liners.
- In a stand mixer, combine sugar and butter and mix until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, vanilla and zest until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
- In another small bowl, combine milk and beer.
- Alternatively add the flour mixture and the beer mixture, ending with flour.
- Fill the liners about 2/3 of the way, bake for about 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean *my oven is super-sonic so it might take a few more minutes for yours*
- For extra flavor, combine a few tbs of ale with a little squeeze of orange. Poke holes into the warm cupcakes, brush on ale/citrus. Set aside.

Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting
generously frosts 24 cupcakes

2 packages of cream cheese (16 oz total) at room temperature
1 stick of butter at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
The other half of the zested orange
2 tbs fresh orange juice

- Combine cream cheese and butter to incorporate. Add powdered sugar in until well blended and toss in the juice and zest. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Candied Citrus Bacon

8 pieces bacon
2 tbs orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar

- Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle orange juice and brown sugar over bacon strips. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dark and crispy. Cool completely before breaking apart and placing on cupcakes!