Maple Syrup Breakfast Cake with Candied MapleBacon Crumble
Bacon love. Bacon is the crispy, chewy, temptress that makes everything from breakfast to a Bloody Mary to a BLT so enticing, and it gives this sweetand-savory coffee cake irresistible appeal. You can candy the bacon while you prepare the cake batter, or, to save time, prepare it a few hours or up to 1 day in advance, along with the brown-sugar crumble. Both can be refrigerated separately in covered containers until you are ready to assemble the cake. Make sure to use thick-cut bacon, as it retains its crisp and chewy texture without drying out—or burning, when it is baked a second time as part of the crumble topping.
SERVES 6 TO 8
8 to 10 strips thick-cut bacon
1/4 cup [50 g] firmly packed dark brown sugar
BROWN SUGAR CRUMBLE
3/4 cup [105 g] all-purpose flour
3/4 cup [150 g] firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp [85 g] unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup [60 g] coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup [120 ml] real maple syrup, preferably grade A (“dark with a robust taste”;)
1 cup [240 ml] buttermilk
1/2 cup [40 g] old-fashioned rolled oats
11/2 cups [210 g] all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup [165 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
11/2 cups [300 g] granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp real maple flavoring
To make the bacon:
Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Lay the bacon strips in a single layer on a wire rack and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes without turning. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle the partially cooked bacon evenly with the brown sugar. Return to the oven and continue baking for 6 to 8 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and the brown sugar is bubbling. (The bacon will be cooked through but still chewy, rather than crisp, at this point. It will continue cooking as part of the crumble on top of the cake.) Let cool completely, chop coarsely, and set aside.
To make the crumble:
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and brown sugar. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir with a fork until soft, moist crumbs form. Stir in the pecans and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Coat a 9-in [23-cm] round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the maple syrup until it is reduced to 1/4 cup [60 ml]. Decrease the heat to low, add the buttermilk and ch oats, and stir just until the buttermilk is warmed through, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool, about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and maple flavoring. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the cooled oatmeal-buttermilk mixture, and beat for a few seconds, just until incorporated. Using a rubber or sili – cone spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter in two additions, folding just until the batter is smooth and combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly with the spatula.
Add the chopped candied bacon to the bowl with the crumble mixture and toss to mix. Sprinkle evenly over the surface of the batter.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm, cut into wedges straight from the pan, or invert the cake onto a wire rack, and then invert again onto a cake platter or cake stand.
Although best served the day it is made, the cake can be stored in a covered cake carrier at room temperature for up to 2 days.