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Mint Julep Cake

October 31, 2011

Today is Jeff’s birthday so I made him a cake. A mint julep cake.

Jeff LOVES mint so I knew I had to somehow, in a unique way, incorporate his favorite flavor into a birthday cake. After last year’s success with a peppermint chocolate ice cream cake…

I had to figure out a way to make a mint cake different and exciting. While in New Orleans and having sipped on mint juleps, the idea dawned on me. Of course. A bourbon mint julep cake. Bourbon, mint, sugar–all rolled into a cake. What’s not to love?

Ingredients:

Cake
3 cups cake flour (or 3 cups minus 6 tbsp AP flour + 6 tbsp cornstarch)
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (or milk + 1 tbsp vinegar)
1 cup butter, at room temp
2 tsps vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temp

Bourbon Butter Sauce
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 tbsp water
5 tsp Bourbon whiskey

Mint Frosting
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 tsp  creme de menthe liqueur or  mint extract (or both for more flavor)

Equipment/Materials:

Two 9-inch round cake pans
parchment or wax paper
cake drying rack
Pam or extra butter
Mixing bowls
Electric mixer
Spatula
Double boiler (or aluminum bowl and regular saucepan)
Frosting spatula

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment or wax paper, and grease or pam the sides of the pans (you can also use a bundt cake pan or a 9’’ x 13’’ rectangular cake pan) and set aside. This will help keep the cake from sticking to the pans and allow for easy removal later.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. In a separate smaller bowl, combine buttermilk (or milk + vinegar), butter, vanilla extract, and eggs. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture. Beat at low speed for 1 minute, then increase to medium speed for 3 more minutes. Pour into the prepared pans and smooth evenly around with a spatula. The batter will be very thick. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Use a toothpick or steak knife to test for doneness. Ten minutes before cake is done, prepare the bourbon butter sauce.

3. In a saucepan small over medium heat, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, and water. Stir until melted and combined. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool a little. Then stir in the bourbon. Set aside.

4. When the cakes are done, loosen the cakes from the pans but don’t yet remove. To loosen, take a skewer or butter knife and go around the perimeter of the cakes, carefully separating the cake from the pans. Give the pans a little shake or tap against the counter to loosen the bottoms of the cakes. Now let the cakes cool for a few minutes.

5. Remove the cakes from the pans and let them finish cooling on a cake drying rack. To remove a cake from its pan, take a plate and set upside down atop the cake. Hold on to the cake pan and the plate with both hands. Holding on to both, flip the cake pan upside down. The cake should slide right out, bottoms up, onto the plate. Remove the parchment paper. Transfer right side up onto the cooling rack.

6. With a serrated knife trim the tops off each cake which will allow for a clean, straight look and easy icing/frosting process. (You can save the excess cake to make cake balls later! See below.)

7. Transfer one cake to your serving platter. Use a skewer or fork to poke holes around the top of the cake. Pour half the bourbon butter sauce evenly over top of the cake. Set aside.

8. In the meantime, prepare the frosting. Melt the chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk over a double boiler, stirring constantly until chips are melted. Remove from heat and stir in creme de menthe liqueur (or mint extract, or both for more mint flavor). Let cool for 5 minutes, then spread evenly over cooled cake. Repeat with the second cake layer (except the second layer should be upside down because the bottom of the cake is smooth and less “crumby” then the top of the cake, since you trimmed it down and all). Frost the entire cake.

Garnish with fresh or candied mint leaves. Chill in the fridge to set the chocolate ganache. Take cake out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cutting to serve. Bon apetit!

What to do with extra cake trimmings…

Make cake bon bons!

Take the cake trimmings, crumble it up in a bowl, add more bourbon butter sauce, and mash up with a potato masher. Chill. Then make little round balls of cake, place on parchment-lined cookie sheet, and set in freezer. Melt chocolate in double boiler and dip each ball in the chocolate. Top with sprinkles or other garnish. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Set in fridge to chill before serving.

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