Bacon Pound Cake
1/2 pound bacon
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons half & half (whole milk will also work), room temperature
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups sifted cake flour (AP flour will work)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
about 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat, room temperature
Leave the eggs, milk, butter, and bacon fat out on the counter overnight.
Place the bacon in the freezer so it's easier to cut. (about 10 minutes)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position the oven rack in the center.
Grease a loaf pan with melted butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.
Cut the butter into pieces.
Remove bacon from the freezer, use a sharp knife to cut the frozen bacon into 1/4-inch strips. Turn the strips horizontal and cut into 1/4-inch squares.
Place bacon bits in a pan and bring to medium-high heat. Fry and stir until the pieces are crisp. As the fat renders, pour it in a glass jar (the bits won't crisp if they're in a pool of fat).
Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon bits for garnish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla extract, sit aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix on low speed until blended.
Add the butter, bacon fat, and half the wet mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined.
Scrape down the sides then mix on medium speed for 1 minute to aerate the batter.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add half the remaining wet mixture. Mix on low speed, repeat with the remaining wet mixture and bacon bits.
Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth top with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Check halfway through baking. If the cake is browning too fast, cover with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent burning. If there's a crack on the top, relax, it's normal!
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a greased wire rack.
Slice with a serrated knife and serve with preferred topping, plus reserved bacon bits.
Cover leftover cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 3 days.
Store in the fridge for one week and the freezer for 2 months.
~*~ CREAM CHEESE VARIATION ~*~
Omit the milk. In Step 6, add 4 ounces cream cheese in with the butter, bacon fat, and half wet mixture.
~*~ CHOCOLATE CHIP VARIATION ~*~
In Step 6, add 1/4 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips in with the bacon bits.
~*~ LEFTOVERS VARIATION ~*~
Bacon French Toast: In a shallow dish, whisk together 1 large egg and 1/4 cup milk until well blended. Place 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and melt over medium-low heat. Place a slice of pound cake in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Use a spatula to carefully transfer the cake slice to the skillet. Repeat with one more slice. Cook the pound cake until browned on both sides, adding more butter as needed. Serve with fresh fruit or jam.