Add the cut bacon to a cold 12-inch sauté pan and turn the stove to medium. Allow the pan to heat up with the bacon in it.
Cook the bacon for 12 minutes, stirring to break up the strips. Once the bacon is golden brown and crisp, use a slotted spoon to drain the bacon of its grease before transferring the pieces to a paper-towel-lined plate. Set the bacon aside to cool while you prepare the glaze.
Make the Maple Glaze
In a wide-ish, shallow mixing bowl, combine the maple and vanilla extracts and the powdered sugar.
Next, add the melted butter. Use a whisk to stir together everything in the bowl. The mixture will clump up almost immediately. Add a tablespoon of syrup to the bowl at a time, whisking to thin out the glaze. When properly made, the glaze will be have the consistency of a loose cream cheese frosting or one like sour cream.
If you think you're adding too much maple syrup, but the glaze is still too thick, pop the bowl into the microwave for 15 seconds. This will melt the butter again and loosen the glaze up.If it's still too thick, stop adding the maple syrup and instead add milk to continue thinning out the glaze. If you thinned the glaze too much, add a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar to the mix to thicken it back up.
Dip the Cake Donuts
Once the glaze has reached the proper consistency, start dipping your donuts into it. Once all the donuts are glazed with the maple glaze, begin topping the first ones you dipped with the bacon pieces. Sprinkle the bacon bits on, then give them a little pat to nestle the bacon into the glaze. You can also flip the donuts, glazed-side down, into the bowl of bacon bits.
Enjoy the Maple Bacon Cake Donuts within 3 days of making them.
Swaps and Substitutions:
omit the maple extract and replace it with more maple syrup
add 1 tablespoon of bourbon to the glaze and omit the vanilla extract
use plain, applewood-smoked, maple, or turkey bacon in place of mesquite or hickory bacon
pick up store-bought plain cake donuts instead of making your own
The individual components can be made up to 2 months ahead, wrapped well, and frozen (see Freezer Instruction note below).
Make the glaze 1-2 days ahead and store it in a container in the fridge. To loosen the glaze back up, reheat it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
The bacon can be cooked 1-2 days ahead and stored in a container in the fridge.
Store any leftover donuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days after making the donuts. Separate the layers of donuts with wax paper. This keeps the underside of one from grabbing the toppings off the one beneath it.
Avoid storing the donuts in the fridge as that makes them go stale faster.
If you must store them in the fridge, you can pop them into the microwave to warm for 15 seconds.
Freeze your donuts before you top them with the glaze.
The glaze, bacon, and donuts can all be wrapped up and frozen for up to two months.
Thaw them all completely in the fridge overnight, then proceed with the recipe as instructed above.