DC State Fair: Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

I love chocolate and bacon! Yes, it sounds odd at first, but once you realize two of the best items on the planet got rolled into one you can't imagine life without it! I used my chocolate bacon gnache from the chocolate bacon truffles as a cupcake topping for the DC "State" Fair! 
Bring on the HEAT! Holy cow! Could it have been any hotter for DC's inaugural "State" Fair? I doubt it. I was feeling borderline heatstroke towards the end of the pie judging. And before you say, psht, yeah right, let me remind you: I'm from the desert. I know heatstroke! 

For a first run state fair, not too shabby, especially when you consider that DC is not a state. Taxation without representation. Yep, that is our "state." More than half the tents were filled with political groups and political campaigns, but it's DC after all. I get accosted by an activist every time I leave any metro station, why would I expect any less at the fair? All that was really missing was funnel cake. I'm sorry to be the one the point this out, but it will never be a true state fair until there is funnel cake. 
whirling twirling kid ride of death, the Queen of Columbia Heights pageant, and a cute kid petting a yak
I'm also hoping that there will be twirly whirly rides next year, of a larger nature than the ones you see these two children above having a good time in. No, sadly, that kid did not throw up. I think that is my second requirement for it to be a state fair: ridiculously rickety rides that make young boys throw up.  I was watching him and he looked like he had it in him, but nope, held his own on that one. He was on there a long time! Didn't take me long to figure out why. I took a little spin....turns out you can't stop. That thing is built for perpetual motion. Found that out the hard way. Many thanks to my friend Brandon who snapped pictures (which I hope never see the light of day) while laughing hysterically instead of helping me out of the whirling twirling kiddie ride of death. . 

Aside from the one "ride" (otherwise known as a playground) there were the other traditional state fair items including a petting zoo, live bands, and a rather low budget beauty pageant. I pass no judgement. Last year I entered in the Miss Punkin Chunkin Pageant after all last year for kicks and giggles. I even bought a bump it so I'd have appropriately sized hair for the occasion. :)  (he he and this year they are having a "ms" category that I think I might enter too. It was just too fun!)
Last and in no way least, was the food competitions! Pies, pickles, jams, cupcakes you name it! Did I win? NO! Some granny with a carrot cake to die for came out of nowhere with that one! Good for her! The world needs more amazing carrot cake out there. I've had one in my life I've liked. One! And with forty different cupcakes to compete against that was some stiff competition! So three cheers for a fair winning carrot cake! I also hear the watermelon rind pickles were excellent. So intrigued with that one.

All in all a great HOT day. I am so so happy to be inside instead now, happily blogging and getting rehydrated.

Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Chocolate Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.

Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour batter into lined cupcake tins.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes minimum, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Bacon Chocolate Gnache

1 part bacon grease
1 part butter, melted
2 parts dark chocolate
Chopped up bacon to taste

Cook the bacon and measure the bacon grease in grams. Melt and equivalent amount of butter in the same pan (uncleaned to pick up more bacon flavor) you cooked the bacon in.  Add in the two parts of chocolate  and melt.

Once all is melted and combined, set aside to cool. We opted to cool ours covered in the freezer stirring frequently. Chop a few pieces of cooked bacon into tiny pieces, and set aside. We like it extra crispy for texture.

Once the mixture has cooled to a spreadable consistency, spoon it out into a stand mixture and whip at a high speed until it is light and fluffy. Fold in bacon pieces.