With the Kentucky Derby coming up this weekend, I had a valid excuse to create a recipe inspired by one of my favourite cocktails. I never watch the actual race because too many things can go wrong, and I tend to form bonds with the horses just by looking at them...especially if they have a clever name.
But I'm not afraid to watch all the hats.
I'm hat person.
I collect hats the way some people collect shoes.
Aside from newsboy hats, and my favourite fedora, which I plan on wearing far too frequently this summer, I also love fancy hats...as long as they're feather-free and don't involve anything that obscures my already questionable sense of direction. (Unless it's a big, floppy sunhat, which makes me feel mysteriously nonchalant...until I run into an errant lamp post.)
I also love knee-socks.
Hats are always fashionable, and capable of making you feel better about yourself on those "please, don't look at me," days.
Mint juleps have the very same effect.
I do like wine, just not as much as I pretend to like wine.
Secretly, I'd rather sip on something doused in sugar and bourbon, and that's basically a fabulous mess of empty calories.
These bundlettes come quite close to their namesake, the mint julep. Fresh mint is rubbed directly into the cake batter's sugar, giving them a refreshingly cool aftertaste. They're finished off with a brush of bourbon, followed by a tipsy sugar-bourbon glaze.
The perfect fusion of cocktail and cake.
Should you decide to have both this weekend (thank you, Cinco de Mayo), don't worry too much. Because we all know that what we eat and drink on Friday night - the stroke of midnight on Sunday, doesn't count.
Mint Julep Bundtlettes
recipe loosely adapted from Williams Sonoma
Yields 6 mini-bundt cakes
for the cake
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
13 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 eggs, lightly beaten
for the glaze
3 Tablespoons Bourbon
for the drizzle
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Bourbon
Finely chop the fresh mint. Place the chopped mint and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, and, using your fingertips, rub the mint into the sugar until the sugar becomes aromatic and somewhat moist. (It won't get nearly as moist as it would with lemon zest, but it should take on some of the mint's moisture.) Set the sugar mixture aside to marinate as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Generously grease and flour a 6-well bundtlette pan. Tap out any excess flour.
In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; Set aside.
Add the butter to the sugar mixture and, using the paddle attachment, beat the sugar mixture and butter together on medium speed until creamy and smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, blending each addition until just incorporated. (Do not over mix.) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and try to spread out the tops as evenly as possible. [Note: I used a soup spoon to drop the batter into the wells. I found it was easier to dollop 2 spoonfuls on opposite sides, and then gently coax them together with the spoon.]
Bake for 17-20 minutes, , or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean.
When the cakes are ready to come out of the oven, transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the them rest upright in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently tap the pan on a work surface to loosen the cakes. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper and carefully invert the cakes onto the rack.
While the cakes are still a bit warm, dip a pastry brush into the bourbon and give each cake a healthy slather of bourbon. [If you want, you can brush the entire cake, not just the bottom.] Set the cakes aside, on a sheet of wax paper, as you prepare the glaze.
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and bourbon. Mix until smooth. If it's too thin, add more sugar, if it's too thick, add a little bit more rum...not too much, as a little bit of liquid goes a long way. Once you've reach your desired consistency and boozyness, drizzle/drench each cake. Allow the glaze to harden for about 10 minutes.
Enjoy at room temperature.