Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Guest Post : Laurin's Boozy Autumn Cake

Our guest post this week is by Laurin Milsom, who blogs over at Rainbow Bakes. Laurin prepared a "Boozy Autumn Cake" for our secret ingredient themed February Cakeup. This cake was incredibly delicious but the most incredible part about it was the secret ingredient Laurin used - BACON! Yes, that's right, bacon in a cake! And it just worked! Laurin has been kind enough to share her amazing recipe with us so over to you Laurin....

A massive thank you to Canberra Cake Club for letting me share this recipe with you all, I am very proud to be posting here! 

When the Cake Club came across my Twitter feed last year, I was very excited. I am an avid baker, and a total geek about it. I follow a bunch of baking blogs, and adore making nice high layer cakes, as well as any other type of baking, candy making, or sweet production that I can get my hands on. Getting together with a bunch of baking enthusiasts and eating cake? Hands down the perfect afternoon for me. After seeing the results of the January cakeup, which I couldn't get to, I definitely had to make it to February.

When I saw the theme was 'a secret ingredient', I brainstormed like crazy, as well as looking through a bunch of recipe books and websites. I knew I could do something like zucchini or yoghurt, but wanted to step outside the box a little. My friend reminded me of a bacon cake done by a favourite old blog*. And I remembered seeing someone do maple syrup and bacon in a cake, and the idea jumped from there (I tend to go a little overboard sometimes). It just felt very autumnal, with the sweetness, the bacon and maple... A bit heavier than something you'd eat when it was very hot. The bourbon makes it boozy, but you could leave that out altogether without impacting too much on the flavour.

I know it looks like a really complicated recipe, but I promise it's not. It's just a few component pieces, most of which are pretty easy. I bought the bacon at Costco, I definitely think streaky bacon is needed for this recipe. If you want to take it one step further, get your bacon from Pialligo Farm at the Farmers' Markets. It's phenomenal.

I've adapted the recipes for the cake and the bacon from their sources to suit what I was doing here, but haven't changed them much.

*Not So Humble Pie - Ms Humble is amazing. She doesn't post anymore, but her site seems to still be archived. Fabulous recipes, especially if you love candy making and the science of food. 

The Boozy Autumn Cake looking all kinds of delicious... Can you spot the maple candied bacon?


Brown sugar cake   [Adapted from: Sweetapolita]  
450g cake flour or all-purpose flour
350g dark brown sugar
18g baking powder
6g salt
345g cold butter - diced
250mL whole milk
6 mL lemon juice
4 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tsp vanilla extract

Maple candied bacon  [Adapted from: The Baker in the Rye]
6 -8 slices of streaky (American style) bacon
½ cup maple syrup
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bourbon syrup
⅔ cup brown sugar
1 cup bourbon (I used Wild Turkey)

Maple-peanut butter frosting
380g butter, room temperature
150g smooth peanut butter
800g icing sugar
6 tbsp maple syrup
Candied pecans, to serve

Bourbon syrup
Bring ingredients to a boil over med-high heat. Reduce to medium and let simmer til it’s syrupy (about 5-8 minutes).

Maple candied bacon
  1. Heat oven to 200C. Prepare your pan – cover a sheet pan with foil and place a wire rack on the top. I found that adding a larger tray underneath it all helps keep all the sticky syrup off the bottom of the oven (if you have another tray spare). Grease the wire rack with cooking spray and lay bacon on the wire rack.
  2. Mix brown sugar with spices in one bowl, pour maple syrup into another. Using a basting brush, coat the top of the bacon with maple syrup, then sprinkle the bacon thickly with the sugar mixture, and press into the bacon with your fingers. Using tongs, turn over and repeat the process. You will get messy in this step!
  3. Bake for 10 minutes before basting – either with the leftover syrup, or the drippings in the pan- you can lift up the wire rack with tongs and use your brush to grab the syrup from the tray.
  4. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the bacon is dark brown.  It should be sticky, and have threads of candy when you lift it from the wire rack. Towards the end, keep a good eye on it as it can burn quite easily if you forget about it (as I did the first time). If your oven is better than mine, it may take less than this, but my bacon took 30 minutes all up.
  5. Leave to cool before crumbling into 1cm pieces. It won’t be firm when you take it out of the oven, but it will harden once it cools.

Brown sugar cake
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 3 tins (I used 7 inch tins), line base with baking paper and dust with flour.
  2. Put dry ingredients into bowl of stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment.
  3. With the mixer on low, add cubes of butter one at a time (about 10 seconds apart). Mix until it is crumbly or has the texture of breadcrumbs.  
  4. Mix milk and lemon juice, and slowly add to mixer. Once it’s added, increase speed to medium and mix for 4 minutes.
  5. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. If need be, fold once or twice to ensure eggs are folded in.
  6. Spoon into pans in equal amounts (they should weigh just over 500g each).
  7. Bake for 15 minutes before rotating in oven. Should take a further 15 minutes to finish baking (but may take less depending on your oven). Cakes are done when they don’t jiggle, and when a skewer comes out with no batter on it (although it may have crumbs). If the tops of your cakes are browning too fast, cover with foil and reduce temperature slightly.
  8. Remove from oven and brush with bourbon syrup while warm. Cool in tins for 30 minutes before turning onto wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

Maple-peanut butter frosting
NB: If you’re going to need to leave cake out at room temperature for a long time, soften butter in microwave rather than on the bench.
  1. Put softened butter in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until it is a lighter colour, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Add peanut butter and continue to beat.
  3. Add sifted icing mixture gradually – beat on low after each addition before increasing speed.
  4. Add maple syrup, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy. Can be used immediately or stored in fridge until use – should keep for three to four days.

  1. Level cakes if need be. Put a dollop of frosting on your plate or cake board before putting down the first layer.
  2. Cover cake with 1cm of frosting, and sprinkle with bacon.
  3. Add second layer, and add extra frosting in the gap between the two layers if need be.
  4. Repeat Step 2 and 3.
  5. Cover cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate until firm.
  6. Take from fridge and cover with thick coat of frosting. To get it nice and smooth, it helps to use a couple of offset spatulas, and keep them in hot water while you’re not using them. Wipe off with paper towel and the heat helps smooth the frosting. I use a small one for finicky details, a flat spatula for doing the sides, and a large offset spatula for the top.
  7. Pipe decorations using a star tip around the base.
  8. Sprinkle candied pecans on top. Right before serving, pour over bourbon syrup.
Note: if you are making this ahead, keep in refrigerator and remove about 1-2 hours before serving to allow frosting to come to room temperature.


  1. Wow, that is one heck of a cake, I can imagine it tasted amazing! Well done.

  2. Thank you so much! :) it was pretty intense but v yummy :)