Thursday, 26 April 2012
As a child I can remember firmly rejecting my Granddad's bread and butter pudding without trying a bite and for years I maintained for years that I didn't like cheesecake. However, slowly I have realised that I have a love for mixing sweet and savoury. I know some people hate it but I love pineapple on pizza, sultanas in curry or naan, apple or pomegranite in salads... I can recall the magical moment of madness when I first risked a bacon and maple pancake without any real hope that I would enjoy the result. I was sold. One of my favourite breakfasts (a high accolade as breakfast is probably my favourite meal - unless maybe you count afternoon tea...?) is now eggy bread with bacon and maple syrup - I cannot get enough of it!
I'd been thinking for a while that I'd like to make a cake version of this breakfast combo but maple syrup isn't cheap and with the end of the month looming and my bank balance running low, I was determined to use the contents of my cupboards. I had chocolate left over from Easter and a few google searches assured me that I wasn't completely mad so I set about adapting a combination of recipes to fit what I had in the depths of my kitchen!
My housemate was not happy about my meaty cakey experiment. In fact she was angry and when I arrived at Apprentice Club with my creation it was greeted with crossed arms and a scowl. Appreciating that this cake would demand everyone's full attention, I waited until the end of a controversial episode - involving shorter shorts than is ever healthy - before imposing it on my company (they didn't really have a choice!)
It was good. Even my more than skeptical housemate was helping herself to more. One friend who sat in almost silence with his cake later sent me this message: 'Having now finished my homework for the eve and having had time to reflect, I can quite honestly say that the combination of flavours was better than beer and cheese - and for a welshman, life don't come much better than brains and brie. Thankyou.'
This recipe was adapted from the BBC Food website and I think I'll be changing it slightly when I make it again (won't be long....). I'm not very good at following recipes so it's probably better to follow the orginial but I'll post tips and comments as I test it out :) The original recipe was for cupcakes but I did a three layer cake in a 15" tin. I'm also thinking of making chocolate and bacon biscuits/cookies to really exploit the sweet and salty taste.
10 slices bacon
100g/3.5 oz milk chocolate
225g/8oz plain flour
50g/2oz cocoa powder
250g/9oz caster sugar
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 free-range eggs
50ml/2fl oz strong coffee, cooled
6 tablespoons yoghurt
2 tablespoons milk
120ml/4fl oz vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to about 180C (I put mine a bit lower as it's fan) Grill the bacon until crispy, allow to cool and then crumble up the bacon onto a lined baking tray. Melt the chocolate and pour it over the bacon. Allow the chocolate to set and then break up into little chocolatel bacon bites.
Beat together the eggs, yoghurt, milk, oil and coffee. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the bacon chocolate chips.
Pour the mixture into a lined and greased tin and bake for about half an hour (I can't remember exactly how long mine was in for but until a knife/skewer comes out clean) Leave to cool.
The BBC recipe topped their cupcakes with a chocolate frosting. I didn't want to overpower the bacon with too much chocolate so settled on a buttercream frosting with a little caramel added. Next time I'm thinking of making a salted caramel frosting - overkill....?
(amounts are rough as I always find you need to add the icing sugar as you go to get the right consistency and how much you need will depend on thick you like your icing!)
325g/ sifted icing sugar
6 tablespoons caster sugar
6 tablespoons water
Cream the butter then add the icing sugar and beat until light and well mixed (I find that adding just half first minimises the 'covered in icing sugar looking like a ghost' effect!)
Pour the sugar into a pan, cover with the water and place over a low heat. Simmer over a low heat (too not let the mixture boil rapidly) without stirring until a golden caramel colour.
Mix the caramel mixture into the buttercream. Allow both the cake and frosting to cool before icing.
I have made this my first entry for AlphaBakes (hopefully I'm not too late) a monthly baking challenge hosted by The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes. The More than Occasional Baker is hosting this month's challenge and the letter is B. So B is for Bacon!