Were the French the first to dip thick slices of bread into an eggy batter and fry them up? Some say yes, some say no, and we'll probably never know for sure. Regardless, one of the most popular breakfasts in America will always be known as French toast.
It seems like every culture has some variation of French toast (and the legitimacy of these is questionable, as I found it all on Wikipedia):
*In Germany, the dish is called Arme Ritter ("poor knights") and is sometimes filled with plum jam or vanilla sauce. If it's made with wine instead of milk, it's referred to as Betrunkene Jungfrau, "drunken virgin." Ha.
*In Italy, a variation is served as mozzarella in carrozza ("mozzarella in carriage"). In this version, a slice of fresh mozzarella is sandwiched between two slices of bread and the whole dipped in egg and fried. It is often topped with a tomato sauce and garnished with some chopped parsley and grated cheese to make three broad stripes of green, white and red, the colors of the Italian flag.
*In India, the version is savory rather than sweet, and the egg is beaten with milk, salt, green chili, and chopped onion. Bread is dunked into this mixture and is deep fried in butter or cooking oil. It's normally served with ketchup.
Why should you care? You shouldn't. I just try to spread the knowledge. Plus, I like French toast. I like it so much, I tried to transition it into cupcake form.
The cake part is of the fluffy and moist coffee cake variety, and the streusel imparts the cinnamon-vanilla aspect that is oh-so-important in French toast. Adding a little maple syrup to the frosting took care of that part of the equation, and the bacon on top is there simply because bacon goes so well with a plate of French toast (and anything and everything else that's edible).
The plain truth is that these tasted nothing like French toast. The texture was (obviously) wrong and the flavor just wasn't close either. Does that upset me? Not at all, because even though these cupcakes bore no resemblance to French toast, they were extremely delicious and fun.
Any pointers or suggestions for my next attempt?
French Toast Cupcakes
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/4 cups sour cream
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces butter
3-4 pieces of bacon, cooked until crispy, drained, and chopped
To make the streusel topping, whisk the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or with your hands).
Place the streusel topping in the fridge until ready to be used.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin pans with paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Beat together the butter and the sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs and beat until completely combined; mix in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, and then fold in the sour cream.
Evenly fill the prepared cupcake cups, then sprinkle on the streusel topping, pressing it in a bit as you go.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Make the frosting as instructed and generously apply it to the cooled cupcakes.
Sprinkle chopped bacon atop each cupcake.