YIELD: 24 cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 tsp coarse salt
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup; plus more for drizzling
1 tsp salt
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Remove from stand mixer and gently fold in bacon.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
For the Frosting
Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and pure maple syrup and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more maple syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.
Frost cooled cupcakes and garnish with chopped bacon and a drizzle of pure maple syrup if desired.