Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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May 4, 2011

Mint Julep Cupcakes

Libations used: about 1/3 cup bourbon, 1/4 cup crème de menthe
Libations left over: sip a real mint julep while you're waiting for those cupcakes to bake
For this Saturday's Kentucky Derby party, I was asked to contribute a Lush Chef-inspired dessert.  While everyone automatically thinks of red velvet cupcakes for southern-inspired parties, I wanted to go for something more in the spirit of the Derby.  The result?  Mint Julep Cupcakes with 2 kinds of libations in the cake, and bourbon-laced buttercream.  Giddy up, indeed!  The creator of this recipe is a food blogger based in Tennessee, but she grew up in Kentucky, so of course I went for her version.  You'll probably need to double her frosting recipe, like I did below, and I always leave out the salt (I've never understood why people put salt in frosting recipes - it just never tastes right).  Yes, I'm a bit of a lush when it comes to frosting, but if you're using a piping bag, you really will need more.  For the party, I'll be making mini versions and topping some off with mint leaves and the rest with light green sprinkles.   Now, how these cupcakes are supposed to help people sober up, well...

Mint Julep Cupcakes -  makes about 16
Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour, plus 1 Tbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (use the cheap stuff if you have it - I only had Bulleit on hand)
  • 1/4 cup crème de menthe
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp bourbon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable shortening
  • 2 Tbs milk
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs one at a time.
- When eggs are combined, add the extracts and stir.
- Add in half the flour mixture and stir.
- Add the milk, liquors and rest of the flour to the batter.
- Add batter to cupcake cups - a little more than half full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes.
- Let cool and enjoy a mint julep.

For the frosting:
- Whip the butter and shortening with a hand or stand mixer.
- Add in half the powdered sugar and mix.
- Add in the extracts and bourbon and mix.
- Add in the rest of the powdered sugar and milk, until frosting reaches desired consistency.
- When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost and garnish with mint leaves and/or sprinkles.