29 February 2016

Outdoor Kitchens - Part I

In case you haven’t seen the signs popping up around Epcot, the International Flower and Garden Festival starts on Wednesday. This is absolutely my favorite event in Walt Disney World each year, and I love that Disney is highlighting the National Parks System's anniversary for part of the festivities this year. If you are like me and love the festival, but don’t foresee yourself being able attend this year, you might be trying to find a way to bring the event to your own backyard. Since the festival has been adding more and more cuisine options to the line-up, we decided to whip up one of their recipes in our kitchen!

We weighed out the various options and then went after an item that isn’t on this year’s menus, the Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake that had been previously featured at The Smokehouse marketplace. Let’s be clear about our rationale behind this choice; it was a sweet treat, that included bacon, and had relatively easy directions that meant we believed anyone could bae up a batch of these cupcakes. Without further ado, let’s dive in to what makes these cupcakes tick!


Cupcake Ingredients

Your Favorite Yellow Cake Mix
Equal Amount of Bacon Fat to Replace Oil in Mix Recipe
12 Slices Bacon (Cooked Crisp and Chopped Fine)
Other Ingredients as Cake Mix Requires

Maple Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients

2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
8 Ounce Package of Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Butter (Softened)
1 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup (More to Taste)
Crushed Pretzel Twists (for Garnish)

Cupcake Directions

Follow cake mix directions, replacing oil with bacon fat.
Fold in bacon.
Bake according to cake mix directions.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing Directions

Cream together cream cheese and butter until light in fluffy in a mixing bowl with paddle attachment.
Mix in maple syrup.
Gradually add confectioner’s sugar until combined.
Frost cooled cupcakes.
Garnish with crushed pretzels.

This was, without a doubt, one of the easiest Disney recipes we’ve ever put together in our home kitchen. That being said, we won’t be making these again in our house, at least not according to the original recipe.

Let’s start off with the positives. The maple cream cheese icing is excellent! It is rich and sweet, basically everything you’re looking for in a good icing/frosting. We did end up adding another half tablespoon of maple syrup to mixture, but please only start with the one tablespoon and slowly work yourself up to where you have the desired maple flavor. This is definitely an icing recipe we will keep in our rotation for other cupcakes, such as carrot cake, red velvet, or even a plain chocolate or yellow cupcake.

I’m not going to lie, when I first came up with this recipe, I did a little happy dance for finding another dessert we could whip up that utilized bacon. The cupcakes were easy enough to put together, but when we bit into them afterwards, there was something that immediately struck us as being off. We settled on the fact that it was because the bacon fat was used instead of oil. It made the cake too dense and took away the moistness you expect in a cupcake. In the end we each tried a pair of cupcakes and decided the rest of the batch were not meant for human consumption.

If this had been a cornbread recipe, sans the icing, this would probably have been gold. If we had kept the oil and eliminated the bacon fat, these might have been delicious (and this is a change we’re going to try another time to see if we can find a bacon cupcake recipe that does tickle our taste buds). But as they stand, we can see why they aren’t on the menu of The Smokehouse this season.

This was not our cup of cupcake, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be your favorite dessert ever. If you are brave enough, this is an easy recipe to whip up. However, I’d recommend trying them for yourself before baking up a couple dozen for your next barbecue. For my part, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect way to bring the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival into our kitchen this year.

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