Thursday, October 28, 2010

SPAM Cupcakes

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have recently noticed the cupcake jokes flowing between myself and Ben of You fed a baby chili? He has lukewarm feelings towards cupcakes, and my contention is that they're overrated. I will never pay four dollars for a normal-sized cupcake no matter how many positive Yelp reviews the bakery gets. A normal-sized slice of cake? Maybe. Which brings me to my other point: just give me a damn slice of cake already. Anyway, I was running around Twitter, dissing Ben's love of SPAM, when I fatefully mentioned SPAM cupcakes. He issued a challenge. If I created SPAM cupcakes and managed to land them on Foodbuzz's Top 9, he would toss up a pro-cupcake post on his blog. I don't back down from a challenge.

Let me first start by saying that I had never touched, smelled or tasted SPAM prior to yesterday evening. My first impression was that it smelled like canned tuna. And then Megan started eating chunks of it off the block. Gross. I knew I needed to slice the stuff up so I could candy it on the stove, but I was still pretty afraid of touching it. I'm a very tactile person, okay? Fork in hand, I stabbed the SPAM and began slicing it like a turkey as Megan continued to pop stolen pieces in her mouth. I am also going to admit that I also used the fork to throw slices in the frying pan, and refused to actually touch the SPAM until it was candied and crispy. And I only did it then because I had to dice it up into SPAM-o Bits. Look how pretty it turned out.

I have affectionately named these beauties Pumpkin Spice SPAM-fetti Doughnut Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. The pumpkin spice doughnut cake base is adapted from the doughnut muffin recipe found in The Jimtown Store Cookbook. I, however, take issue with the name of these "muffins"--they're based on cake doughnuts, not muffin doughnuts. Thus, I have rectified the misnomer and have renamed them cupcakes. The cupcakes are slightly denser than the norm, and littered in Funfetti fashion with pieces of candied SPAM. They are then topped with frosting, a dusting of cinnamon sugar, and finally sprinkled with a little more SPAM. One person said they taste like Fall, while another said they taste like breakfast--pumpkin pancakes, with whipped cream and maple syrup and a side of breakfast meat. I'm inclined to say that I made breakfast-in-a-bite cupcakes, 'cause that's just cooler.

By the way, I have to admit that the SPAM, once candied, was not particularly offensive. Megan said it kind of tasted like teriyaki beef jerky, while I think it just kind of tasted like candied ham. Ben claims it's #thenewbacon. I'm not yet sold on that idea, so I wrapped my cupcakes in skull and crossbones wrappers to denote that people should use caution when consuming.

You should proceed with caution as well.

Pumpkin Spice SPAM-fetti Doughnut Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
4 dozen mini cupcakes / 2 dozen regular cupcakes
6 cups all-purpose flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 

2 cups + 2 Tbsp. whole milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs
Candied SPAM
1 large can o' SPAM
1/3 cup brown sugar

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. maple extract (optional)

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Slice entirety of SPAM thinly. Heat frying pan to medium. In batches, place SPAM in pan and sprinkle with some of the brown sugar, taking care to drop sugar on each slice. When brown, flip and push around in the grease/sugar droppings. When crispy and brown on both sides, move to a plate. Be careful not to burn the SPAM.

2. When SPAM slices are cooled, chop into fine pieces. If SPAM needs to be crispier, return to frying pan and finish off. Set aside 1/3 cup of SPAM-o Bits for topping at the end.

3. For the cupcakes, in the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, mixing only as necessary. Add pumpkin puree in same manner, trying not to over-beat.

4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix buttermilk and milk together. Via hand with a wooden spoon, starting with flour mixture, mix in 1/4 flour and then 1/3 milk. Repeat three more times, ending with flour. Mix in the rest of the SPAM, which should amount to approximately a cup.

5. Grease or line a muffin tin, filling cups about half way up. For mini cupcakes, bake for 10 minutes until a tester comes out clean. For regular cupcakes, bake for 20-25 minutes. The tops of the cupcakes will look moist and dimpled and perhaps undone--as long as the tester comes out clean they are done. Do not overcook. Set on a rack to cool.

6. For frosting, whip together cream cheese and butter. Slowly add sugar, whipping on high. Add maple syrup near the end, beating until fluffy. If the maple flavor isn't enough for you, try the extract.

7. Frost your cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and add a few chopped bits of candied SPAM.


Victoria K. said...

Haha, well you definitely took on the challenge! I never would have thought to do this, but I guess if people can incorporate bacon into dessert Spam isn't too far behind? Good luck getting on the Top 9! I hope you make it ;)

apiciusapprentice said...

I love everything about this. Especially the wrappers.

danasfoodforthought said...

I had seen your spam cupcake comments on twitter, but I thought you were joking LOL.... I have to admit, these don't look all that bad. Although I'm still not sure I would try one...

I buzzed you, so hopefully you're on your way to the top 9!

Ben said...

Wait, you never even *tried* the non-candied version?? (silent head-shaking)

Jenni said...

Bravo for rising to the challenge! I bet Ben will think twice before issuing another one. I look forward to his pro-cupcake blog posting. (I am NOT a fan of the over-inflated ego that the cupcake has developed over the last ten years or so, but I'll read his post anyway!

Next time, just make them with bacon--I think they sound pretty tasty, indeed. Tasting like fall is an excellent recommendations!

Kathy Gori said...

OMG! I'm with you on the cupcake bit...the prices just keep going up..but Spam? Really? I have to admit it looks a lot like bacon but I'm a very scent oriented person and when you said it smelled like canned tuna..uh I don't know. I would however most likely eat it if it were offered to me. I like the skull and crossbones warning.

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said...

I'm so glad you went for it and made these! The Spam Cupcakes look so incredible and are just insane but in a good/strange way! Love it! :)

The Cuisinerd said...

I love Spam. I love cupcakes. Never in the world would I want to merry these two, but you rose to the challenge and killed it!

Nicely played.

January said...

really creative way to make something delicious from SPAM :)

The Cilantropist said...

FANTASTIC! You are my spam hero. :) *giggle* But seriously, these turned out so well, and I have to agree with Ben that spam just might be the new bacon. I can't wait to see his cupcake post!

Kelsey said...

I will not be attempting this recipe, however kudos for going for it! I hope you win the challenge. I think I will continue my spam-avoidance. They turned out beautiful though!

Karen from Globetrotter Diaries said...

I agree about cupcakes. I mean I'll eat one, they're yummy but they need to be retired as a food trend already, kinda over the hype! And Spam-- WOW!!! I've seen bacon but never Spam, way to push the envelope!

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I'm so glad you and Ben had this twitter conversation 'cause the result is these amazing cupcakes I'm drooling over. I totally agree on cupcakes being overrated! The first fight I had with my husband when we were dating was about a 4$ cupcake he wanted to get me to make me happy (I was craving something sweet for a change) and he did not understand how much spending $4 for a cupcake was bothering me! You guys need to challenge each other more often :)

Michael and Natalie said...

You did it!!

Liren said...

Yes! I was marginally following your tweets with Ben and was highly amused. These look, dare I say it, very appetizing. I think of it as breakfast in cupcake form :)

BTW, did you know that there are different varieties of Spam now, including Spam with Bacon? Perhaps more baking is in order ;)

I look forward to seeing whether this makes Top 9.

The Food Apprecianado said...

What kind of camera flash are you using? Your pics are astounding and I'm really loving the color balance! (Those cupcakes look pretty delish too)!!

briarrose said...

Great post. ;) I fear the candied spam. I also fear my hubby will drool on the screen when I show it to him...ehehehe. Very creative.

Savory Sweet Living said...

If I live in your hood, I would've been your taster. Really curious as how these taste. They look great, and so glad you accepted this challenge, bravo!

Ken│hungryrabbit said...

Spam me baby! I love the spam pumpkin n maple combo.

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon said...

I thought SPAM was one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and yet you made it look good.

Serene @ MomFood said...


Just wow.

Erin said...

Nicely played. When do I get one?

Joy said...

I would have totally accepted that challenge too. I may try the candied spam just to eat :D.

Michelle said...

I'm not a fan of Spam but candied spam I would give a try! I think the Spam Cupcakes is a great idea! Loving the frosting! LOL!!

julie said...

congrats on taking up the challenge! I just can't get into the Spam thing although I will admit candied spam sounds intruiging! but I'll definitely go and give you a buzz for the effort!

FOODalogue said...

How could something that looks so good sound soooo wrong?!

Serena said...

WOw - I have seen it all. Looks delicious. I will never look at Spam the same way!

Isabelle said...

I think I might try making these with bacon... mostly because I'm old school like that, and I refuse to get on board with this #thenewbacon stuff. Down with #thenewbacon... long live #theoneandonlybacon!

Monet said...

Smile. Smile. Smile. This has to be one of the cutest/funniest things I've read all day. You did an amazing job at this challenge, and I can't wait to show this post to my husband. We may have to buy a can of spam after all these years...

Angie's Recipes said...

Love these cupcakes and paper liners! Perfect for the holiday.

Le said...

Surprisingly people love spam here in Korea. I can't say I love it but I don't mind it either! I have to say these are the most interesting cupcake combo I've seen to date!

Sortachef said...

This is just so bizarre that I'm going to have to try it. I'm so with you on the cupcake thing, too - I just don't get it! Thanks for a spooky post!

Evan @swEEts said...

I had spam for the first time last year! I ate mine with eggs on a biscuit though.. I'd be intrigued to try these for sure! Well done on the challenge :)

Rosy said...

Wow you definitely rose to said challenge by throwing candied spam in the mix... Well done!

Danny said...

The cupcakes in the first picture make my mouth all watery :) Craving for something sweet now...

Caroline said...

have to admit I've been eavesdropping on this conversation on twitter and was amused but got downright giddy when you were posting photos of these. Spam was a staple of my childhood diet & now only eat it occassionally but have never thought to make sweets with it. You did a great job, I love those liners as well.

Mariko said...

Totally agree about cupcakes, except for this ONE place I've had in Honolulu (which, of course, LOVES SPAM) (Am I really really really typing in all caps this much?), that has Lilikoi cupcakes.
I could eat those all day long. All day.
I love SPAM. I don't understand why mainlanders think it's disgusting.
If you eat hot dogs, SPAM is not so far off. Shape wise, it's way more normal than a hot dog. Right?
You have to cook SPAM. (Yes, I am required to capitalize SPAM.) Just like you have to cook hot dogs. Of course they're nasty when they're not cooked!
Ok. That was the longest comment ever, and I have to go now. I should have said Hi to you when I saw you at dinner. With Exclamation Points.

Hungry Jenny said...

Haha, when I saw your blog title, I thought, hm, Spam cupcakes - is there a sweet ingredient called Spam that I've never heard of before? Then of course, I read through and find that it really is the meat SPAM! Never would have thought to put that in a cake!

I too would probably have nicked bits off to eat as it was being cut, yum!

Hungry Jenny x

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