Whenever I throw a party, I tend to go a bit overboard on desserts. Probably because they are my favorite thing to make and always look the most impressive. For the Kentucky Derby, I knew that I’d need to make something other than my Derby Pie Macarons and so after some research, I settled on Mint Julep Cupcakes. I have to admit, that before I got started, I had to make myself a Mint Julep so I had a frame of reference for developing my recipe. I was not a fan of the Mint Julep because it was very sweet and had a strong bourbon flavor (not my favorite liquor). Exactly what made me not like the cocktail made it perfect for a cupcake, sweet with clear flavor profiles.
I started out with a basic white cake recipe. I like this recipe for a few reasons, it’s dense enough to hold fillings, a great base to add additional flavors, and only makes 12 cupcakes per batch. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to make cupcakes and don’t need 24 which is what makes this recipe so great. Before I got started, I tore up some fresh mint leaves and allowed them to infuse the bourbon for about an hour while I gathered all my ingredients (aka ran to the store to buy more butter for the frosting).
Once my mint bourbon was ready to go, I set to work on the cupcakes using both vanilla and the bourbon to flavor the cupcakes. Although these cupcakes definitely don’t need a filling, I think that filled cupcakes always seem more special and so I decided to make a white chocolate and mint bourbon ganache. The white chocolate really lets the bourbon shine while adding a great creaminess to the center of the cupcake. After filling the cupcakes, the only thing left to do was make the frosting. I went with a basic butter cream, but flavored it with Creme de Menthe. The Creme de Menthe gave the frosting a fantastic flavor while also making it the perfect color green.
These cupcakes have a great bourbon flavor with a refreshing hint of mint which make them great not only for the Kentucky Derby but for any summer get together.