This week marks some pretty notable events. First, May began…how did that happen? Second, it’s Derby week. The one time of year when it’s socially acceptable to wear delightfully obnoxious hats, sip icy, bourbon-laced cocktails stuffed with mint, and bet sickening amounts of money on a 2 minute sporting event.
I’ve had the pleasure of going to the Derby for the past two years now, this year marking my third. We have yet to win any money, and last year I somehow managed to forget my hat. I know, I know…Failing to bring a hat to the Kentucky Derby is like forgetting to bring a swimsuit to the beach. Entire outfits are planned around these eclectic headpieces and I was devastated! Turns out, for a nominal price (nominal in relation to the price of my happiness) you can buy hats at the Churchill Downs gift shop. A 45 minute wait in a winding line, and I was the proud owner of this red, feathered monstrosity:
All was right with the world again.
This year however, seems to be my year. J and I are notorious for putting off purchasing big things (such as Derby tickets) until the very last minute. Usually this stresses me out – this year, it was simply good timing. I randomly entered a contest that the Kentucky Derby Facebook page was having…and won! Yup, due to my staggering intelligence, yesterday I won two box seats to the Derby and the Oaks this weekend. I’m betting big this year – before my luck runs out.
Now you, dear reader, may not be attending the Derby (if you are let me know!) but you can always bring a little bit of Derby home with you – in the form of cupcakes of course! As you know, I’m all about the themed cupcakes, even more so when they are laden with booze so I whipped together this recipe on Monday night. It’s made with the help of a box mix, and I’m not ashamed. Neither J and I were at the apartment all weekend, so the grocery shopping did not get done, and honestly, I was lazy. Lazy for me equals easier for you!
Mint Julep Cupcakes
Yields: 20-24 cupcakes (I filled mine a little full)
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of room temperature butter
- 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup Kentucky Bourbon (these are Derby cakes you know!)
For the Bourbon Ganache Filling (same as whiskey filling used here):
- 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
For the Mint Buttercream:
- 3/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons milk (I used almond)
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract (be careful, it’s strong)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Mint leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a large bowl, mix the box ingredients with the butter, eggs, bourbon, and water until well incorporated.
- Pour the batter foil lined cupcake molds (foil, like the pewter cups you drink juleps out of…get it??) and bake about 18 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cook on a wire rack.
- Heat the cream for the ganache until just simmering (about 2 minutes in a microwave)
- Pour the chocolate chips into a bowl and pour the warm cream over them. Allow to melt for about a minute then stir to combine.
- Once the chocolate and cream are mixed, add the butter and bourbon until combined.
- Put the ganache in the fridge to cool for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until its solid enough to pipe adequately.
- Meanwhile, remove the inside of the cupcakes using this method. I used a toothpick around the hole to make the circle slightly bigger.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter in a bowl until creamy.
- Add milk and mint extract and beat again until combined.
- Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, mixing until combined between cups and set aside.
- Pipe the ganache into the cupcakes just to the top.
- Top the filled cupcakes with the buttercream – you can pipe or use a knife, whichever you prefer. I piped.
- Top each cupcake with a mint leaf.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!