Some of my favorite drinks are Mudslides, Long Island Iced teas, and Mojitos. Mudslides are my drink of choice when I’m sitting on a beach, long islands will cure what ails ya, and Mojitos are so light and refreshing, they mentally transport me to somewhere much more tropical than Chicago.
I figured that a mojito cupcake would be the perfect non-chocolate cupcake option (paired with none other than the Car Bomb Cupcakes) for my dessert spread. I love when I can bake with a little creativity. And it’s not that bar-themed cupcakes have never been done before, but I always love when I get to chance to create something a little out of the ordinary for my friends. When I mentioned the idea of making a yellow cupcake with rum, lime and mint to my husband, he faltered a little bit before tentatively saying ‘it should be fine... I think.’ This got me thinking about the fact that I had not used mint a lot before in my baking and I was wondering if the cakes would end up with a strange flavor or aftertaste that I wasn’t anticipating. The only way to find out was to try it and hope for the best.
The cupcake consists of a cake using mint infused milk, lime and rum, which is then coated lightly with a rum, mint and lime glaze and finally topped with a rum and lime buttercream. The cupcake recipe yields a light, fluffy and moist cupcake that has a nice punch of citrus from the lime juice and zest. The addition of the mint infused milk gives it an ever-so-subtle flavor, but resulted in a wonderful freshness and lightness to the cake. The glaze was probably an unnecessary step, but certainly dialed up the rum notes a little bit more.
The cake itself was delicious, but the icing sent it over the top. A lot of the recipes I’ve seen use a cream cheese-based frosting, and I was just too hesitant about the tangy flavor overpowering the subtle flavor components of the cake, so I settled on a lime and rum buttercream frosting. My husband and I both agreed though that the icing was what tied the whole cake together. And because this recipe starts with a killer cupcake, by omitting the rum and mint you make a wonderfully summery lime cupcake that would be perfectly suited for an afternoon tea or baby/bridal shower. You could also jazz the cake up with a coconut buttercream (yum!) or a lime curd filling. Or switch out the rum for tequila, omit the mint and glaze, and you’re on your way to a margarita.
1 1/2 cups powdered (icing) sugar (or more, depending on rum amount)
3 T butter, softened
zest and juice of half a lime
half shot of spiced or dark rum (or more or less to taste)
12 sprigs of mint garnish (optional)
Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until smooth.
Add the rum and lime, mix further until stiff peaks form (add more powdered sugar if necessary).
Taste to see if it needs more rum, and add as appropriate.
I use a flat knife to spread the icing onto the tops of the mojito cupcakes because a spatula is just too big.
Then add a sprig of mint on each to garnish.
Rum Syrup Glaze
Cream Puffs in Venice
For the rum syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark rum
2 or 3 pieces of lime zest
a few sprigs of fresh mint
In a small pot, combine the sugar, water and butter over medium-high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.
Once the butter has completely melted and the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat.
Carefully add the rum. The mixture will bubble and spurt so take care not to burn yourself.
Once you’ve mixed in all the rum, add the lime zest and mint and let the syrup infuse for 5 minutes before spooning over the warm cupcakes.
makes 12 regular cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
3/4 cup whole milk, hot
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum (optional)
Preheat to 350F.
Add mint leaves to hot milk. Let steep for 10-15 minutes. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Press liquid from mint leaves. Discard leaves and allow milk to cool slightly.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in lime zest, vanilla and rum (if using).
On very low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated.
Fill 18 standard muffin cups half full. Bake until cupcakes spring back when touched, 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.