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Maple Bacon Cupcakes Recipe

These amazing Maple Bacon Cupcakes are frosted with Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream Frosting and topped with Candied Maple Bacon Crunch. They’re the perfect sweet treat for your favorite bacon lover!

The cupcakes recipe is made with a vanilla cake mix that gets a boost of deliciousness from melted butter and a dash of bacon fat. You won’t believe how soft and springy they are.

The homemade vanilla bean buttercream frosting has a dash of bourbon that adds a perfect touch of smoky flavor. The crunchy topping is made from one of our most popular recipes, Maple Candied Bacon.

A finished maple bacon cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and candied bacon garnish on a wooden cake stand, with more cupcakes in the background.

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Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for This Recipe

These cupcakes have the perfect combination of flavors and textures, with tender vanilla cake and creamy frosting contrasted by the sweet-salty crunch of candied maple bacon!

The homemade buttercream frosting is silky smooth with just the right amount of sweetness enhanced with vanilla and bourbon.

The bacon is cooked with a brown sugar maple glaze that becomes like a hard candy shell in the oven. Everyone goes crazy for it!

This maple bacon cupcake recipe is easy, and you can make each of the components (cupcakes, frosting, candied bacon garnish) ahead of time in separate stages if you like.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes are the ultimate untraditional dessert for your favorite bacon lover. (Guys love these manly cupcakes!)

Ingredients and Substitutions

Cake mix, butter, eggs, bacon, powdered sugar, and all the ingredients to make Maple Bacon Cupcakes.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the tasty cupcakes:

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 15.25 ounce box vanilla cake mix – We used Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla, but you can use any vanilla cake mix.
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted – Most cake mixes call for vegetable oil, but we prefer the flavor of melted butter. Salted or unsalted is fine, your choice!
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease, melted – Here’s how we save bacon grease. If you don’t have any on hand, you can cook

Pro Tip: Cake mixes can vary slightly in size and volume. Look at the directions on the back of the box. You will need a combination of melted butter and bacon fat that equals the amount of oil called for in the recipe. If the amount is more or less than 1/2 cup (4 tablespoons), adjust the amount of butter and bacon grease accordingly.

Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon – You can substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 2 teaspoons room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste – I love the flavor and the little vanilla bean seeds. You can substitute vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla bean paste.
  • 1 pinch salt – About 1/8 teaspoon
  • 4-5 tablespoons heavy cream

Maple Candied Bacon Crunch Topping Ingredients

  • 6 strips regular sliced bacon – Regular sliced bacon works best for this recipe, to bake up crispy.
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar – Either light or dark brown sugar works well.

Recommended Equipment

Here’s what you’ll need for cooking equipment to make these maple cupcakes:

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Step by Step Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.

Note: If you live at high altitude and your cake mix has recommended adjustments, follow those guidelines. Our cake mix did not call for adjustments for cupcakes.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on Low to mix together the cake mix, water, eggs, melted butter and bacon grease for 1 minute. Increase speed to High and beat for 1 more minute. 

Divide the batter among the 24 cupcake cups.

A cupcake pan with 12 paper liners filled with cupcake batter.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean, about 12 to 17 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

A dozen golden brown baked cupcakes in a cupcake pan.

To Make the Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream Frosting

In a large bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter on Medium speed until creamy. Continue beating and gradually add the powdered sugar. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed to fully incorporate all of the sugar.

Close up of vanilla buttercream frosting in the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer.

Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the bourbon, vanilla paste and salt. Resume the speed on Medium and beat in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is the perfect spreading consistency.

The beater attachment of an electric mixer lifted up and covered with homemade vanilla bean buttercream frosting.

To make the Maple Candied Bacon Crunch Topping

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top with a piece of parchment paper. 

Pour the maple syrup in a shallow dish, and drag each slice of bacon through the syrup. Arrange bacon strips on the prepared baking sheet.

Dipping a bacon strip in maple syrup in a white bowl.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bacon, pressing gently to adhere.

6 strips of uncooked bacon coated with maple syrup and brown sugar on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake until the bacon slices start to brown, about 15 minutes. Blot the excess grease with paper towels.

Return pan to oven and continue baking until bacon is golden brown, crispy and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes longer. (Watch carefully towards the end of cooking time, so bacon doesn’t burn.) Remove from oven and let the pan cool on a rack for 5 minutes. 

4 pieces of cooked maple candied bacon on a baking sheet.

Blot excess grease with a paper towel and cut 2 of the bacon strips in 1/2 inch pieces using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Chop the rest in small pieces.

Chopped candied maple bacon and a knife on a cutting board.

Spread the bacon pieces on a piece of parchment paper so they don’t stick together, and reserve.

Decorating the Cupcakes

Scoop the frosting in a pastry bag with a fluted or smooth tip. Frost the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bourbon Frosting. (You can also use a spreading knife if you prefer.)

Piping frosting on a cupcake using a pastry bag.

Garnish cupcakes with the Maple Candied Bacon pieces.

Garnishing a frosted maple bacon cupcake with a piece of maple candied bacon.

Sprinkle each cupcake with some of the larger pieces and smaller candied bacon bits. Enjoy!

Finished maple bacon cupcakes ready to serve and eat.

Recipe Variations

Instead of the Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream, you can substitute one of these tasty frosting recipes to change up the flavors of these delicious cupcakes:

You can also add a little spicy sweetness by substituting our Million Dollar Bacon or Billionaire Bacon recipes for the Maple Candied Bacon Crunch. Just cook the bacon until it’s extra crispy for best results.

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftover cupcakes tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (I put toothpicks in a few of the cupcakes and make a canopy with plastic wrap over the plate or dish so that the wrap doesn’t touch the frosting.)

If you can, store the candied bacon separately in the refrigerator. Slipping it inside a piece of folded parchment paper and then placing that pocket in a zip lock bag is ideal.

Remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator about an hour before serving time and let them come to room temperature. Garnish with candied bacon and serve.

What is the Secret to Good Cupcakes?

I once interviewed a professional wedding cake baker and asked this very question. He told me that it’s fine to use a boxed mix for cakes and cupcakes, and that professionals even use them when consistency and structure are needed.

For the best cupcakes, his advice was to splurge on making homemade frosting, fillings and toppings since they have the greatest impact on overall flavor.

What is the Easiest Buttercream Frosting to Make?

A classic American Buttercream (as featured in this recipe) is a fantastic frosting that is simple to make. It’s a virtually foolproof blend of butter, powdered sugar, cream and flavorings.

What Does Maple Bacon Taste Like?

The candied maple bacon used in this recipe is a positively addictive combination of flavors. Your tastebuds will explode with the contrast of salty, savory, smoky bacon and the sweet maple and brown sugar glaze.

You may want to cook a few extra pieces of the candied bacon to nibble on while you’re making the cupcakes!

Save for Later

If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin:

Close up of a maple bacon cupcake with four more cupcakes in the background.

If you enjoy this recipe, we’d be thrilled if you clicked on the stars below and left a rating ★★★★★!

Here’s the full, printable recipe:

A maple bacon cupcake with vanilla bean buttercream frosting and candied bacon garnish on a wood board, with more cupcakes in the background.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Eliza Cross
This easy maple bacon cupcakes recipe features vanilla bourbon buttercream frosting and maple brown sugar candied bacon crunch topping.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 13 mins
Cook Time 17 mins
Maple Candied Bacon Crunch and Vanilla Buttercream 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 475 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 15.25 ounce box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease, melted

Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons heavy cream

Maple Candied Bacon Crunch Topping

  • 6 strips regular sliced bacon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions
 

To make the Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F* and line cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on Low to mix together the cake mix, water, eggs, butter and bacon grease for 1 minute. Increase speed to High and beat for 1 more minute.
  • Divide the batter among the 24 cupcake cups.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean, about 12 to 17 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the Maple Candied Bacon Crunch Topping:

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Pour the maple syrup in a shallow dish, and drag each slice of bacon through the syrup. Arrange bacon strips on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bacon, pressing gently to adhere.
  • Bake until the bacon slices start to brown, about 15 minutes. Blot the excess grease with paper towels.
  • Return pan to oven and continue baking until bacon is golden brown, crispy and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let the pan cool on a rack for 5 minutes.
  • Blot excess grease with paper towels and cut 2 strips bacon in 1/2 inch pieces using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Chop the remaining bacon in small pieces. Spread on a piece of parchment paper and reserve.

To Make the Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream Frosting:

  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer on Medium speed, beat the softened butter until creamy. Continue beating and gradually add the powdered sugar. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed to fully incorporate all of the sugar.
  • Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the bourbon, vanilla paste and salt. Resume the speed on Medium and beat in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is the perfect spreading consistency. (If frosting is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a little more cream.)

To assemble the cupcakes:

  • Scoop the frosting in a pastry bag with a fluted or smooth tip. Frost the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bourbon Frosting. (You can also use a spreading knife if you prefer.)
  • Garnish cupcakes with the Maple Candied Bacon pieces. Serve at once. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Notes

*If you live at high altitude and your cake mix has recommended adjustments such as the addition of flour or an adjusted baking temperature, follow those guidelines.
Leftover cupcakes can be stored tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (I put toothpicks in a few of the cupcakes and make a canopy with plastic wrap over the plate or dish so that the wrap doesn’t touch the frosting.)
If you can, store the candied bacon separately in the refrigerator. Slipping it inside a piece of folded parchment paper and then placing that pocket in a zip lock bag is ideal.
Remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator about an hour before serving time and let them come to room temperature. Garnish with candied bacon and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 475kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 3gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 330mgPotassium: 67mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 765IUCalcium: 55mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword buttercream frosting, candied bacon, cupcakes, maple bacon
Did you make this recipe? We love seeing what you made! Be sure to leave a review, and show us your bacon creations on Instagram! Tag us at @BensaBaconLovers!

Got questions? Just ask! I’m happy to help.

Nutrition Disclaimer: All nutritional information shared on this site is an approximation. I am not a certified nutritionist, and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline.

eliza

About Eliza & BENSA

BENSA was founded by bacon expert Eliza Cross, author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She has written three bacon cookbooks including the award-winning Bacon Beans and Beer, the bestselling 101 Things to Do With Bacon, and the popular sequel 101 More Things to Do With Bacon. Learn more about BENSA...

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