So yeah, this happened. I was chatting with a friend online, and somehow it degraded into me promising this particular dessert next time we hung out. I’m never one to back down from a challenge, so I was perfectly fine rising to the task. I will happily admit that I cheated and used boxed cake mix, though. I may be a good baker, but I’m not usually patient enough to deal with it. So save yourself some time, use the box mix, and make your own frosting and candy your bacon. You’ll be much happier.
The frosting is intensely easy. You need 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened, 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, and a slightly obscene amount of powdered sugar. With your favorite electric mixer (either hand or stand is fine) cream the butter and peanut butter together until they’re smooth. Start adding your powdered sugar in small increments, and begin incorporating it with the pb/butter mixture. Keep going until you get a good sweetness and your desired texture/thickness. The end!
For the candied bacon, all you really need to do is lay out some bacon flat on a wire rack (over a sheet pan, good lord, or you’ll have nasty greasy spatters all over your oven, or you’ll burn the place down) and sprinkle some brown sugar in a very very thin layer over the top. I actually mixed the brown sugar with a bit of ground mustard and black pepper, just to make it pop a bit more. I used my fingers to smooth the sugar into a thin and even layer over each slice of bacon. You want an even, thin layer, or it’ll pool on the bacon as it melts down and it won’t candy evenly. Then just whack your bacon into a 350 degree oven until it’s dark and caramel-y and crispy. This will probably take around 20 minutes, but be vigilant and keep an eye on it because bacon (and sugar, especially) will go from AWESOME to BURNED in the blink of an eye. Once your bacon is out of the oven, let it cool for a minute or two then remove them (use tongs, that sugar is still nuclear) to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Once your cupcakes are nice and cool, pipe or spread on the frosting, then crumble (or rip up) your bacon and sprinkle it on top. Enjoy!