Ever since last summer when I whipped up a batch of Brii's Mint Sugar, I've been thinking about making my favorite cocktail into a GF cupcake sprinkled with some of this sparkling, magical substance. I've put Mint Sugar into lots of cups of hot tea this winter, but never got to making those cupcake cuties until yesterday.
It is a retro-baking concept to infuse cakes with the flavors of mixed drinks and I am partial to lime, mint and rum in their separate incarnations. With all three involved, it's a Mojito party! So I was determined to research this cocktail cake concept. A lot of these cakes were concocted of cake mixes and flavored Jello packets, poked when cooled and saturated with flavored glazes, but I was going for more of a minty fresh and aromatic cupcake and of course, I wanted to cap my creation with sparkling Mint Sugar.
Cooking with mint is a balancing act. Too much mint and you get that toothpaste taste; too little and you don't get that herbal aromatic flavor. I also had to do this baking thing gluten-free, which is ALWAYS a challenge when I'm at kitchen helm. I have to rein in my riffing impulses and I'm easily distracted, so more often than not I am roused by the screech of my smoke detector when I get spin off onto another project.
Back to my baking success, however, since I gotta crow when something works out in my oven. I started with a basic yellow cake recipe from my favorite GF baking bible, Elizabeth Barbone's Easy Gluten-Free Baking cookbook. I have Elizabeth's original self-published cookbook, but a new spiral bound, color photo-infused revised version with even more recipes is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
I needed to get that Mojito trio of flavors in there, so I pressed some dried mint through a kitchen strainer, threw in a glug of dark rum and squeezed a lime. I am also more partial to the taste, texture and protein-rich aspects of sorghum flour blends than the white rice flour blends Elizabeth uses, so I went that route. And I thought I would skip the glaze that some cocktail-flavored cakes sport so my proposed cap of minty-lime frosting wouldn't slide off.
Holy Mojito! It worked! These little cupcakes came out great and were quite delicious, though I must say the adults in our household have consumed more of them than the kiddies. Mint must be more of a grownup flavor.
Here's my recipe for these minty little gems. And thanks again to my Italian blogging buddy Brii for sharing the wonderful recipe for Mint Sugar. I put up four half-pints of this magical Mint Sugar when my garden mint was overtaking its barrel and I'm glad I did!
MOJITO CUPCAKES (Gluten-Free)
1-1/2 cups sorghum flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup tapioca flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup softened butter (10-2/3 Tbsps.)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dried mint, crumbled
1 shot dark rum
Juice of one lime
1 cup milk (fat-free, full milk, soy, etc.)
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 shot dark rum
Juice of 1/2 lime
Mint Sugar and or 1 tsp. crumbled dried mint to garnish (if you have none, you can add 1/2 tsp. mint extract for the third key mint ingredient for this Mojito combo)
Slivers of lime peel for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix sorghum flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, baking powder and salt together in medium mixing bowl.
In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. A stand mixer will make quick work of this, but otherwise you can use a hand mixer or your own arm power and a wooden spoon.
Mix in eggs, lime juice, rum and 1/2 cup crumbled mint. Blend until smooth. Then alternate adding dry ingredients and milk gradually, blending in each addition until smooth.
Place cupcake liners in each of two 12-cup muffin or cupcake pans. Place in preheated oven and bake 18-20 minutes or until done. Cupcakes will be springy to the touch.
Remove from oven and place on racks to cool 5 minutes Pluck out cupcakes and let cool on rack until completely cool.
Meanwhile, whip up your Mojito Frosting:
Cream butter until fluffy. Add confectioner's sugar and salt and blend well. Add rum and lime juice and blend until creamy. Frost your Mojito cupcakes when they are thoroughly cooled. Garnish with mint sugar or crumbled mint and little lime peel twists, to keep up the cocktail theme.
Makes 24 Mojito Cupcakes.
I hope you get a chance to try these little beauties. If you don't bake gluten-free, perhaps they would be just as good made with regular flour, but I thought they had a lovely texture and a delicately tangy taste made with the sorghum blend.
I'm sending my cupcake photo over to Bee and Jai at Jugalbandi for their Click Wood event, running through the end of this month. I took a bunch of photos of these cupcakes in various settings in an attempt to get a good natural light shot even at these northern latitudes and the best one turned out to be the one I took outside in our open-ended garden shed, perched on a large wooden spool we scavenged from the side of the road last year. Click is a monthly food photography event which is featuring the theme of wood (also includes paper and wood products) so I imagine the roundup will feature a lovely array of warm, textural food photos. Be sure to stop back at Jugalbandi after the March 31st deadline to see!