There aren’t enough bacon desserts in the world! So I took the Instructables Fat Challenge as an opportunity to create one. As someone who always has a small jar of excess bacon fat in their fridge, I’m always adding bacon flavor to things like fried potatoes, salad dressings, and popcorn. But I wager it will shine even more in cake. And what better way to test this hypothesis than with a classic pound cake. For more step-by-step recipes with photographs, see my Instructables Page.
This recipe uses a stand mixer, but a regular bowl and wooden spoon will work just as well. I highly recommend splurging on high-quality butter like Kerry Gold or Plugra so the flavor is at it’s best. Cake flour is especially key here. While you can use all-purpose, cake flour ensures a moist, light, and delicate sponge as it slows down the development of gluten. If you’re on a time-crunch, store-bought bacon bits are fine, but if you don’t have bacon fat on hand then you’ll just have to suck it up and make those bits. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of maple syrup!
~*~ BACON POUND CAKE ~*~
SERVES: 1 LOAF ⎪ DIFFICULTY: EASY | FUNK: CASUAL
mise en place
1/2 pound bacon
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons whole milk (or half & half), room temperature
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
about 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat, room temperature
Playlist — Fatback Band
1. GET TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
Leave the eggs, milk, butter, and bacon fat out on the counter overnight. Place the bacon in the freezer so it’s easier to cut.
2. KITCHEN PREP
Remove bacon from the freezer. Preheat the oven to 350F. Position the oven rack in the center. Grease a loaf pan with melted butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper. Cut the butter into pieces.
3. MAKE THE BACON BITS
When the bacon is partially thawed (about 10 minutes), use a sharp knife to cut the frozen bacon into 1/4-inch strips. Turn the strips horizontal and cut into 1/4-inch squares. Place bacon bits in a pan and bring to medium-high heat. Fry and stir until the pieces are crisp. As the fat renders, pour it in a glass jar (the bits won’t crisp if they’re in a pool of fat). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon bits for garnish.
PLAN AHEAD: You can make the bacon bits a day or two in advanced. Once drained, store them in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. If you don’t already have bacon fat, use the rendered fat from this batch. Place in the fridge, uncovered until solidified.
4. MIX WET INGREDIENTS
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
5. MIX DRY INGREDIENTS
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix on low speed until blended.
6. MAKE THE BATTER
Add the butter, bacon fat, and half the wet mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Scrap down the sides then mix on medium speed for 1 minute to aerate the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add half the remaining wet mixture. Mix on low speed, repeat with the remaining wet mixture and bacon bits.
7. BAKE THE CAKE
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until cake is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Check halfway through baking. If the cake is browning too fast, cover with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent burning. And if there’s a crack on the top, relax, it’s normal!
8. COOL & SERVE
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a greased wire rack. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with preferred topping, plus reserved bacon bits.
Cover leftover cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 3 days. Store in the fridge for one week and the freezer for 2 months.
~*~ CHOCOLATE CHIP VARIATION ~*~
Omit the milk. In Step 6, add 4 ounces of cream cheese in with the butter, bacon fat, and half wet mixture.
~*~ CREAM CHEESE VARIATION ~*~
In Step 6, add 1/4 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips in with the bacon bits.
~*~ LEFTOVERS VARIATION ~*~
Bacon French Toast: In a shallow dish, whisk together 1 large egg and 1/4 cup milk until well blended. Place 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and melt over medium-low heat. Place a slice of pound cake in the egg mixture, turning the coat both sides. Use a spatula to carefully transfer the cake slice to the skillet. Repeat with one more slice. Cook the pound cake until browned on both sides, adding more butter as needed. Serve with fresh fruit or jam.
Sources & Inspirations: