There are all kinds of seasonal candies on the market, but candies aren’t the only products that get a seasonal twist. Almost everything in the baking aisle – from sprinkles to cake mixes – changes to suit the seasons and give you some alternatives to plain vanilla and rainbow sprinkles for every time of year. That said, I was surprised when I saw two new seasonal frosting flavors from Betty Crocker and I was so curious that I had to try them: Maple Bacon Frosting and Candy Corn Frosting. Candy Corn flavor has been successfully transitioned to products like M&Ms and Oreo cookies during the Halloween season, so a candy corn frosting didn’t seem like much of a stretch. Maple Bacon, on the other hand, jumped out at me as a relatively “gourmet” flavor for a packaged frosting, so I was very curious about how it would end up tasting when spread on top of a cupcake.
The Maple Bacon Frosting, unfortunately, did not quite live up to my expectations. The frosting itself was a pleasant caramel color and it has a very intensely sweet flavor that reminded me of pancake syrup. It’s the flavor of brown sugar and artificial maple, rather than the flavor of real maple syrup. It wasn’t bad and the strong sweetness wanted a little bit of salt to provide some contrast, but the “bacon” is where this idea really missed the mark for me. The “bacon” bits that come with the frosting are little bacon-colored corn flake bits, not bacon at all. The bits have a smokey, salty smell to them that is reminiscent of bacon, but you don’t get any real bacon flavor when you taste it. Instead, you get a little bit of stale crunch and that is about it. It was a let down, however you could still get your money’s worth out of the maple-y frosting by crisping up some of your own bacon bits and throwing them on top instead.
The second frosting I tried was Candy Corn Frosting. This vividly orange frosting tasted like vanilla, with a hint of something slightly orangy. I would never have guessed the flavor as candy corn without looking at the package and it didn’t have the same honey note that real candy corn has. Still, it wasn’t a bad frosting and the color is a nice, easy way to brighten up your fall baked goods if you need some color quickly. The white topping that comes with this flavor is a bland white cornflake crumble that doesn’t add much either way to the frosting. I’d rather use regular sprinkles, but an even better option would be spreading on plain white frosting and yellow frosting to contrast with the orange color and create a color palate that really captures the look of traditional candy corn.