No one goes to school or work anymore. We shovel, and find ways to be together in our homes through what feels like one constantly barren and howling day. Snow days blur into weekends. which have now blurred into school vacation; our plans for which have been cancelled because this time the blizzard is in Washington D.C.
We almost enviously watch the lights of the plows tunnel through another storm: the plows can go anywhere. Our appointments have been cancelled. Our stores are closed. We’ve been banned from parking anywhere, banned from driving, banned from taking trains, sentenced to shovel egresses, to unburden our roofs and decks, to free our cars, and to do it all over again when the contemptuous winds raze it all in three gusts.
I toss logs in the fireplace to cheer things up. I make soups and stews, telling my family “this is just the weather for it!” We eat by the fire, because that feels so elemental. When stew is too much, I lighten things up: fresh cod with a Venezuelan pepper, garlic, scallion and cilantro sauce. We eat that by the fire, too, and I say how the brightness tastes so good.
But, today, my daughter said forget the tea-smoked chicken, Mom, I’m making “Beer Cupcakes with Candied Bacon Frosting.” After so many days trying to rake a positive attitude out of the embers of brewing moods, trying to nourish souls battered by arctic blasts, trying to write a to-do list under house arrest, I’ve found release in every naughty, absurd, wonderful bite of this Buzzfeed-born recipe.
Don’t call it weird until you’ve had one. The cake has an aley background indulged by that drift of sugary frosting. There’s a whiff of beer in the frosting, too. Snuggled into all is a wand of candied bacon (bacon tossed in brown sugar and baked to a caramel crisp).
Make these, and indulge like a sixteen year old who has had it up to the highest snow drift with her mother’s good taste and good sense. The mother has, too, and enjoyed every bite.
Beer Cupcakes with Candied Bacon Frosting
makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup beer (preferably a citrusy wheat beer)
for the frosting:
1 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/4 cup beer, room temperature
4 cups confectionary sugar (or more)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 strips bacon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 cupcake tins with cupcake papers.
2. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
4. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next.
5. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternating with the beer, beginning and ending with flour.
6. Pour into cupcake liners, and bake for 25 – 30 or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.
7. To make the frosting, beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the beer. The butter may break down a bit, but don’t worry; it will unite again with the sugar addition.
8. Sift confectionary sugar into butter with mixer going very slowly. Keep adding sugar until all is added, and beat well. Add vanilla and salt, and beat until creamy. (You may need more confectionary sugar; add more until the frosting is stiff and creamy.)
9. To make the bacon: preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay parchment down on a baking sheet. Cut bacon into three pieces each. Lay the pieces on the parchment. Make a paste of the brown sugar and maple syrup, and spread it on top of each piece of bacon. Bake until brown and bubbly about 12-15 minutes. Remove bacon and allow to cool on wire racks. Frost cupcakes, and tuck a piece of bacon on top of each.