Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Diva's Beer-n-Bacon Cupcakes

I admit it: I have a love affair with pork. I've made everything from braised pork belly to chile verde pork to chocolate-covered bacon to bacon-garlic-sauce. I think I love the pig so much because it has that ability to be transformed into a roast, chops, bacon, schnitzel, sausages, etc. But my favorite pork product has got to be bacon. I love the fact that you can take a salty, crispy, sometimes smokey, meat and use it in desserts.

This recipe for beer-n-bacon cupcakes is probably my favorite because you use a cake mix and they are quite moist and rich but not overly sweet. Make sure you use the Betty Crocker brand because I only tested this recipe with that brand and don't over-sweeten the whipped cream.

Lastly, if you ever have any left over bacon from your Saturday morning breakfast (not that you would, of course), you can reuse it as the topping!

INGREDIENTS (makes 16 - 20 cupcakes)
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Supermoist Butter Recipe Yellow Mix
  • 1 bottle of beer (12 ounces, preferably a Stout or IPA)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 strips of crispy cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
  • Half pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon superfine or regular sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 nonstick cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl add cake mix, beer, butter and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Fill cupcake liners three-quarters full with cake batter and bake according to package directions, generally 19 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, add the heavy cream to a bowl and 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form or to your desired whipped cream consistancy.

Remove cupcakes from pan and frost each with the whipped cream then sprinkle each equally with the crumbled bacon. Mmmmm, bacon...

my buddy, Scott, enjoying a beer-n-bacon cupcake

Sunday, June 09, 2013


Today I saw my friend, Robin. The last time I saw her we were graduating from high school...23 years ago!!! Yet, it seemed like I had not seen her in 23 days. We picked up right where we left off and meeting her wonderful family was such a treat. When I found out her husband was from South Africa, I immediately knew I had to give chakalaka a try.

Chakalaka is a SA condiment that is found in most households, and sometimes they put beans in it, but I like is sans beans. You can add chakalaka to top your sausages, top your quiche or eggs, or even use it as a salsa on tortilla chips. Anyhoo, this is my tribute to my good friend, Robin, her awesome family, the ever righteous Nelson Mandela and to the greatest Star Trek villain ever....Khannnnnn!!!!!

INGREDIENTS (makes 3 cups)

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 White or yellow onions, choppep
  • 2 Bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 4 Garlic cloved, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 3 Large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and chile peppers.Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers are cooked down and wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin, coriander and cinnamon. Cook until fragrant, another 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground, black pepper. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. Let the chakalaka stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve either hot or cold. You can keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.