So… I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head since last Sunday. I wanted to do something sweet with bacon. No so weird. We’ve all discovered the accidental euphoria of maple syrup on bacon before. So why not do it in a cake of some kind? But how to do it? I let my brain mull this over for several days before waking up one morning knowing exactly how to execute my plan. I ❤ my brain.
This coffee cake is a variation of an adaptation of an Ina Garten recipe I came across over the summer. I am nothing if not diligent about citing sources of inspiration. So thanks to Food Network Magazine for getting the basic structure down – but this baby – she’s all mine. It’s like your entire Sunday brunch rolled into one glorious cake. The soft baked apples, the sweet pillowy cake. Walnuts, bacon, maple glaze, the scents of cinnamon and sugar and vanilla filling the house. There’s even eggs in it. And bacon. Did I mention the bacon?
Now, if you’re intrigued by the bacon but are at the same time afraid, I wouldn’t be offended at all if you told me you only put it on half. Because you know what? This would STILL be the finest coffee cake I ever made even without adding the crispy, salty bacon. But take a walk on the wild side with me. I promise you won’t regret it. Unless you eat the whole thing. Thaaaat you might regret. I should say this definitely qualifies as a “sometimes” food.
Let’s get started shall we?
Next, fry up 6 pieces of bacon nice and crisp. Inhale the wonderful smell. This may be more like 8 pieces. I had leftover bacon so I just used that. Chop/crumble it up. Set that aside.
Grab your cutting board and chef’s knife and chop up about 1/2 cup of walnuts. Peel, core, and thinly slice a Granny Smith apple. This is about an apple and a half right here. I only used the one though. Set those aside too.
And whip it up on Med High speed 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
With the mixer running on low speed add your eggs. I beat mine in a little bowl beforehand and drizzled them in. You know how they always say “add eggs in one at a time”? That’s so you don’t throw them all in at once and break the emulsion of your batter. A broken batter isn’t the end of the world but the texture will be finer and more even if you don’t.
It’s hard to see in this picture (as the mixer is running) but my batter is nice and thick and emulsified here because I added my eggs in slowly. Yay! Now I’m adding my sour cream…and completely forgot what I was doing and just dumped the whole cup in at once. Fail.
After that my batter turned into a million little bits of butter floating in liquid and I couldn’t get it back together. Learn from my mistakes people. That’s what I’m here for. Anyway, now would be a good time to add in a teaspoon of vanilla…so do that. That’s it for the wet ingredients.
Grab your best Disney Princess cereal bowl and mix 1/2 cup of brown sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Set it aside for a minute. I promise it’s all coming together in a second here.
There’s my scale again! If you’re doing this cake gluten free, in a medium size bowl measure out 280 grams of all purpose gluten free flour mix. If you’re doing this with regular (wheat) flour, you’ll need 2 cups.
Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon EACH baking soda and baking powder. (If you’ve seen one picture of a spoon with white powder in it, you’ve seen three. Moving on.) Also, if you’re doing this cake GF, add in 2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum. That’s all your dry ingredients so mix them all together now.
Now, let’s finally bring this bad girl together. (All my foods are female. I can’t begin to explain why that is.) With the mixer on low, SLOWLY add in the dry ingredients to the wet. Unless you like flour to fly around your kitchen, then by all means, dump it all in at once.
…until it’s all combined. If you’re using regular wheat flour make sure not to overmix it. That darn gluten will start acting up and give your cake an undesirable texture. If you’re GF there’s no worries. You can beat the hell out of this thing and it won’t bat an eye.
Take half your batter and spread it evenly into your buttered pan, completely covering the bottom.
Take half your apple slices and arrange them on top of the batter and then sprinkle about 2/3 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over the apples.
What I just said…do that all again. Batter, apple slices, cinnamon/brown sugar. Got it. Toss the walnuts and the crumbled bacon over the top. Where is that shot of the bacon? Oh yeah.
Somebody was gettin’ grabby with the camera. I gave up at that moment.
Now into the oven it goes for about an hour or until a tester/knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Here it is straight out of the oven. I have already drizzled it with a super simple maple flavored glaze that just puts it over the top. All you need for the glaze are a cup of powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, 1/2 Tbsp melted butter, 1/2 Tbsp brewed coffee, 1/4 tsp Imitation Maple Flavor, and a pinch of salt. Whisk it together and drizzle it all over the hot cake.
And the taste…heavenly. Oh my God. All the different textures with the crunchy nuts, the crisp bacon, the supple apples, the gooey sugary layer, the soft cake. And the flavors – the savory and the sweet, that meld together so perfectly – it really is your whole brunch buffet in one dish. The kind of yummyness that will make your world stop and your eyes roll back into your head with pleasure. Bring it to your next potluck and I can guarantee people will ask for the recipe.
Apple Bacon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze
280 grams all purpose gluten free flour mix (or 2 cups regular wheat flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Xanthan Gum (if using GF flour)
1 stick butter, plus more for greasing the dish
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
6 pieces of bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 Tbsp brewed coffee
1/4 tsp Imitation Maple Flavor
a small pinch of salt
Butter a square glass pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop walnuts and peel, core, and thinly slice the apple. Set aside.
Fry 6 slices of bacon until crisp, drain on a paper towel lined plate and crumble. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer, mix butter and sugar on low until fluffy. Add beaten eggs in slowly until incorporated. Do the same with the sour cream and vanilla.
In a separate medium size bowl, measure out flour (using the scale if using anything other than regular wheat flour). Add in salt, baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum (if using). Whisk together thoroughly.
With mixer on low speed add dry ingredients to wet slowly until incorporated.
Spread half the batter in the pan. Arrange half the apple slices on top and sprinkle with 2/3 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Repeat.
Top with chopped walnuts and bacon. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the maple glaze and drizzle over the top of the hot cake.
Cool and serve.