You Had Me At Bacon

February 23, 2015

After 4 + months of being a Tampa Bay-er (I'm not even sure if that's what residents of this area call themselves), I've been slowly venturing out and exploring. I recently found two new spots to run in St. Pete and found myself at the Ybor Saturday Market, just east of Downtown Tampa.
The market was less of a farmers market (which I was expecting) but more of an artisan market. Lucky for me, there was a stand selling pastries with cupcakes.

OobAlaMode Pastries has a stand every Saturday at the Ybor market but also has pop-up shops all over Tampa Bay. There were about 6 cupcake flavors available in addition to cheesecake and frosted cookies. Each cupcake was $4.00. Every time I see a bacon cupcake, I can't help but order one. OobAlaMode's offering was a Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Cupcake, literally a cake in a cup.
The cupcake is self-described by the bakery as Kentucky Candy - Bacon bourbon cupcakes, soaked in booze, candied bacon, caramel, almonds, ganache, the kitchen sink. The description matched the flavors of the cupcake: complex. The frosting on its own wasn't too sweet but actually tasted solely like butter. The cake by itself was a delicious dark chocolate cake: moist and flavorful.

As you can tell, the cupcake had a lot going on; it was nutty, caramel-y, smoky from bacon, a tad boozy, dark from the chocolate used. It wasn't too sweet, almost not sweet enough, kind of along the lines of a dark, malty beer or black coffee (two things I don't really enjoy). Definitely an adult flavor since it wasn't very sweet.

I'm kind of confused about how I feel about this cupcake. It's one of the most complex flavored cupcakes I've sampled and I can't decide if I like it or not. But my favorite bite came from when I had a sample of the candied bacon bites, which were sparse. The smokiness and sweetness from the candied bacon helped make sense of all the other flavors in the cupcake, which resulted in a delicious bite. If only more bacon was all over the cupcake, I would have been more decisive about my feelings on this cupcake.
I'm just glad this was a much more pleasant experience with a cake in a cup than the other time I sampled one. I even had some flashbacks to that cup cake when I ate this bacon one. (Luckily this current cupcake wasn't as shockingly sweet).

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