Mint Julep Cupcakes

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Mint Julep Cupcakes

Skip to the recipe

Ok, so remember when I said that an Aperol Spritz is one of my favorite cocktails, pretty much directly behind an Old Fashioned? Well, I forgot about Mint Juleps. Which I also really love. So, my “favorite cocktail” is more like 5 favorite cocktails.

I’m also thinking of doing more dessert + cocktail pairings on the blog, what do you guys think? For example, eat dark chocolate with red wine or eat a really simple white cake with champagne. Or, eat a pizza with an Aperol Spritz. Could be fun.

In this case, I decided to combine a dessert and a drink, cupcakes and Mint Juleps – cupcakes are the best type of cake, I’m obsessed with the Mint Julep Boutique (maybe half of my clothes are from there at the moment), and I really miss going to the Golden Moon Distillery , who makes the BEST Mint Julep I’ve ever had. So, this recipe is a tribute to all of those things I suppose!

Let’s get to it. Mint Juleps are a light and refreshing cocktail of crushed ice, bourbon, simple syrup, and mint, and are well known for their appearance at the Kentucky Derby. Which I honestly couldn’t explain before writing this blog post, so I did a little research for you.

First, what’s a “julep” anyway? Derived from the Spanish word “julepe,” meaning ‘sweet drink,’ and back in the 18th century it was of course considered medicinal. The Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby during the 1930s, and Kentuckians were proud to have claim to this bourbon drink after prohibition was repealed. So, it’s sort of like the equivalent of drinking an ice-cold Coors at a Colorado ski area: it’s brewed locally and it goes hand in hand with this favorite sport. I suppose in Kentucky, Mint Juleps were the Coors and horse racing was the skiing.

I’ll also let you know what makes a bourbon a bourbon (rather than whiskey), since I’m always the first person to forget even though I quite like both. So, for a whiskey to be called a bourbon, it by law has to be produced from at least 51% corn. The remaining 49% can be a combination of wheat and rye, which gives you normal, wheated bourbon vs. rye – I personally prefer rye at the moment, it has a spicier taste rather than a more hay flavor. (And I used rye bourbon in this recipe! But any kind works.) Anyway, bourbon mash must also be distilled at 160 proof or less and put into a barrel at 125 proof or less. So those are the laws around the ingredients themselves, but there are also rules around the aging process. By law, bourbon must be aged in a new charred white oak barrel (not used), so let’s hope there’s no white oak barrel shortage. Finally, a whiskey must be distilled in the United States to be a bourbon – Kentucky is the largest producer in the country and certainly is well known for their bourbon, but it isn’t restricted to Kentucky.

So, there’s some Mint Julep history for you! And here’s a recipe I like for the drink itself if you want to try it out. The key is to have a lot of crushed or shaved ice (so it’s almost like a snow cone) and to gently bruise mint leaves rather than muddle them.

There’s no special guidance needed for these cupcakes, so I’ll let you get to baking. Enjoy this summery recipe and make sure to tag @leveledblue with your bakes!

xoxo Katie


The Recipe

Mint Julep Cupcakes

It’s the refreshing, bourbon and mint drink baked up into a cupcake. A lovely summer dessert for any occasion.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup good quality bourbon
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard cupcake tin with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to makes sure everything is incorporated.
  4. Add the milk to the butter mixture, followed by the flour mixture. Mix until the flour is just combined (you do not want to overmix here, so stop when you see a few streaks of flour left). Add the bourbon and mix until combined, about 1 more minute.
  5. Fill the baking cups 3/4 full and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean with maybe a few crumbs attached. Cool in the baking pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream, mint extract, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Decorate the cupcakes with the whipped cream using a knife, offset spatula, or piping bag. Garnish with fresh mint leaves if desired.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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