These indulgent cupcakes combine the savory saltiness of bacon and the satisfying sweetness of maple syrup.
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place cupcake liners in regular size muffin pans and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Add 1 cup of the chopped bacon and vanilla paste to the mixed cake batter and stir to combine.
Divide the batter among cups. Bake according to package instructions, approximately 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
For the candied bacon garnish:
Cut the bacon strips on a diagonal into 1½- to 2-inch long pieces and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread sugar mixture onto both sides of the bacon. Bake in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.
Once done and while still warm, remove from parchment and put directly onto the sheet pan. Let cool until hard.
For the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) add the butter and beat to soften.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar and salt, and beat to combine. Add maple extract and lemon juice and continue to process until you have a smooth buttercream.
Once cupcakes are cool, pipe on buttercream frosting and garnish with the candied bacon and remaining crumbled bacon.