Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mint Julep Cupcakes

I may live in Tennessee now, but I lived a full 22 years of my life as a Kentuckian. You can’t live in Kentucky, and not be aware of the Kentucky Derby! The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown horse races. It’s known as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”, and is the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States.

I grew up surrounded by traditions leading up to the race. In elementary school we would make our own stick horses, decorate “silks” (construction paper vests), and then at the end of the week we’d have our own races. I also remember, come Derby Day (first Saturday in May), my parents and my brother & sister would watch the races on TV, and my parents would give us quarters to make our bets. I always chose the horse with the neatest sounding name. I always lost. Still to this day I get chills of excitement come race day when I hear the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home”.

It’s such a fun tradition, with the festive hats & festive drinks. The festive, traditional drink served at the Derby is a Mint Julep. It consists of bourbon (Early Times is the offical bourbon, but I had Maker’s Mark on hand), mint leaves, and sugar or simple syrup. I happened to get the chance to go to Opening Day, where I had my VERY FIRST, Mint Julep, and I got a commemorative glass for this year’s race.

I’ve had my eye on these cupcakes since before Derby last year. I finally made them this year and I’m SO glad I did. I took them into work, and they were gobbled up VERY VERY fast! Not just that, but lots of people seemed to go out of their way to tell me how good they were! While the cupcakes didn’t capture the TRUE flavor of a Mint Julep (think LOTS more bourbon!), they certainly were inspired by it.

As a bit of advice warning, I have heavily re-written the original cupcake recipe from it’s source. For one thing I halved it to make closer to a dozen. And for another, the original recipe calls for the eggs, but never mentions when to add them! Luckily, for some reason I felt something was off, and I did a “test batch” of two mini cupcakes and discovered this mistake. And the frosting recipe I changed up quite a bit too, adding bourbon to that, as well as using softened butter, instead of melted, as I’ve NEVER seen or used a frosting recipe that required melted butter, and I just didn’t feel like chancing it this time!


Mint Julep Cupcakes

Recipe Adapted from: Cooking & Booking
Yields 12-14 cupcakes


1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour plus 1 Tbsp
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
1/4 cup Creme de Menthe

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bourbon
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening


Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease or line cupcake cups.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, & salt. Set aside.

In the mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Once the eggs are combined, add the extracts. Slowly add in half of the flour mixture. Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then the rest of the flour. Mix as little as possible, just until the batter comes together.

Divide evenly among the cupcake cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.

Whip the butter & shortening using the whisk attachment (if available). Slowly add in half the powdered sugar. Add in the extracts & bourbon. Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Then slowly add in milk until frosting reached desired consistancy.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled frost, and top with mint leaves (optional, for decoration!).

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18 Responses to “Mint Julep Cupcakes”

  1. 1
    Joelen — April 29, 2009 @ 7:34 am

    What a fabulous cupcake flavor for derby days!!

  2. 2
    Liesl — April 29, 2009 @ 9:52 am

    I think I’m feeling a bit tipsy! ;o)

  3. 3
    the happy couple — April 29, 2009 @ 10:36 am

    love this idea! i have lots of mint in my new herb garden.

  4. 4
    Mrs. G — April 29, 2009 @ 11:11 am

    Sounds yummy!

  5. 5
    Kelsey — April 29, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    I love it! I’ve got to make these!

  6. 6
    Sarah — April 29, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

    These sound so good Erin! If I have time, I just might have to make them for our Derby Party this weekend!

  7. 7
    themilkmanswife — April 29, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

    What a cute idea! How fun and festive! They look great! πŸ™‚

  8. 8
    Jenn @ HWTM — April 29, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

    Looks great, Erin! We noticed the missing egg issue on the original recipe too and luckily caught that before they went into the oven! πŸ˜‰

  9. 9
    Kerstin — April 29, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

    What a cool idea for a cupcake! I love your fresh mint garnish.

  10. 10
    A_and_N — April 30, 2009 @ 8:00 am

    booze, food and mint…all in one yummy package. Cool πŸ˜€ I am not into horse racing but who hasn’t heard of the derby!

  11. 11
    Ingrid — April 30, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    Sounds like a good time.

    I had a recipe recently almost do the same thing to me. Luckily I try to have everything in place and noticed that the butter was still left. It worked out in the end.

    Your cupcakes look great. Love the green sugar and mint leaves.

  12. 12
    Totally Tolers — May 1, 2009 @ 8:46 am

    I’m making these today for my derby party thanks from Dallas

  13. 13
    Maddie James — May 1, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

    Wow! Look at those beautiful cupcakes! Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Erin. It’s great to find yours. I’ll be following. πŸ™‚ I love the idea of alcohol in cupcakes, too. In fact, did you see my Long Island Tea Cupcakes, Kentucky Style on the blog?

    I’m making mint juleps tomorrow for THE DAY. Wish you were close enough to have a sip!


    p.s. Are you an Iron Cupcake baker, too?

  14. 14
    ABG — May 11, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

    I wish I’d had this recipe for my Chicago-styled Derby Party. With my mom being from Louisville, I am quite familiar with Derby Day festivities. My guests had a BLAST. We had mint juleps and a hat parade; and next year we’ll add the cupcakes. πŸ™‚

  15. 15
    Abbey — July 4, 2009 @ 11:22 am

    I lived in KY for 21 years, but moved to California for my husband's job. I'll always be a KY Girl at heart! πŸ™‚

    It was so funny to read how you felt when Derby time came around and what you did as a kid. Only a fellow Kentuckian can understand those feelings!

    I'll have to give those cupcakes a try and maybe make them for our annual California Kentucky Derby party. πŸ™‚

  16. 16
    Cassandra Knapp — May 26, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    I have a stupid question-how and when do you add the bourbon and creme de menthe?

    • Erin replied: — May 26th, 2011 @ 9:04 am

      Totally not a stupid question! I can see it’s easy to miss. In the second paragraph it says ” Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then the rest of the flour.” So by “liquors” I meant the bourbon & creme de menthe. Hope that helps!

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