Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Cake
Since there are so many components to this cake, I organized each bit in order of operations. The Bourbon Balls and Candied Bacon can be made a few days in advance. In fact, the more time you let the Bourbon Balls 'marinate' the alcohol in the balls mellows out and the flavors blend.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 3-layer 8-inch cake
For the Bourbon Balls:
  • 1 ½ cups finely ground golden Oreos
  • 1 cup finely ground pecans
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for coating
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ cup Kentucky Bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Candied Bacon:
  • ¾ lbs maple or brown sugar flavored bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
For the Kentucky Bourbon Cake:
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup Kentucky Bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
For the Rich Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks, 20 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream
For assembling the Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Cake:
  • ½ cup fine ground pecans
To make the Bourbon Balls:
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed Oreos, nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the Bourbon, corn syrup, and vanilla extract.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry and wet ingredients together.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.
  5. Roll out 1-inch balls. Coat your hands with some cocoa powder to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.
  6. Refrigerate for a final 30 minutes.
  7. Roll half of the Bourbon Balls in cocoa powder and the other half with powdered sugar.
To make the Candied Bacon:
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in an iron skillet on a low heat, rendering out as much fat as possible.
  3. Pat dry with a paper towel. Remove some of the rendered bacon fat from the skillet.
  4. With the heat on medium-low add the brown sugar. Stir sugar until it dissolves.
  5. Once sugar becomes smooth, add bacon back into the skillet. Stir to coat. The mixture should be bubbling. Pour the mixture onto the prepared parchment, spreading out. While candied bacon is still warm, break apart the bacon pieces. Store until needed.
To make the Kentucky Bourbon Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
  2. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  4. Add ¼ cup of granulated sugar and raise the speed, whipping until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Set aside in a separate bowl.
  5. Whisk buttermilk, Bourbon, and vanilla, set aside.
  6. In the cleaned mixing bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and lump free, about 1 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl down.
  7. Add oil, remaining 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, and light brown sugar, beating until smooth and blended.
  8. Scrape bowl as needed. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  9. With the mixer's speed on low, add dry ingredients in three batches alternating with the wet ingredients in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold the egg whites in three additions.
  10. Divide batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.
  11. Do not over bake these cakes and immediately invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the Rich Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed until smooth and lump free. Continually scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed. Mix in salt and vanilla.
  2. On the lowest speed, gradually add powdered sugar. If it gets too dry, add heavy cream a tablespoon at a time.
To assemble the Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Cake:
  1. If the cakes have domes, use a serrate knife to level off the tops. Apply a bit of frosting to the cake board, secure first layer on, followed by a layer of frosting. Liberally sprinkle candied bacon and press bacon into the frosting. Repeat this with the following layers. Frost the cake with a crumb coating. Chill for 15 minutes. Apply a thicker frosting layer and use a comb to brush through the frosting. Top with crushed pecans and Bourbon Balls.
Cake recipe adapted from Damaris Phillips, Bourbon Balls adapted from all recipes, frosting and candied bacon by Layer Cake Parade
Recipe by Layer Cake Parade at