Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until well-incorporated. Beat in buttermilk on low speed until just incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 full). Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a cooking rack; when pan is cool enough to handle, place cupcakes on rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; set an ovenproof wire baking rack on top of the foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, whisk together brown sugar and cocoa powder until evenly distributed. Press bacon into sugar mixture to coat, shaking off excess.
Arrange bacon on prepared rack, leaving plenty of space between slices. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes, until bacon is browned and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking/chopping into small pieces.
While bacon is cooking, prepare buttercream. Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Add cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Slowly beat in confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth. Beat in maple syrup and maple extract (if using). Add cream as needed and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Generously spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Arrange candied bacon pieces on top of the frosted cupcakes.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Source: Recipe reprinted with permission, Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth (Quirk Books, 2013)
Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving (1 Cupcake)
Calories 437Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.