Key Lime Frosted Cupcakes

  • Serves: Makes 12
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 12601

Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2008 Sarah Phillips

Variation:  Lemon Frosted Cupcakes

Cupcakes and photo by Kelly Hong ©
These Key Lime Cupcakes are so refreshing and have a moist and velvety texture. Make sure you use fresh lime juice and plenty of freshly grated lime peel for best results! We frosted the ones pictured with Neoclassic French Buttercream and filled them with Lime Curd using the Cone Method. But you can frost yours with the Lime Flavored Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting, if desired, and we have included a recipe.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk; well-shaken
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or key lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; can be cold from the refrigerator
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs; can be cold from the refrigerator

4 ounces high-ratio vegetable shortening or 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
12 ounces ( 1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

5 to 7 cups (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) powdered sugar, sifted; measure and then sift

2 tablespoons heavy cream, or more, if needed
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon neon-green gel food coloring, optional

1. Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners and set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, add the fresh lime juice, lime peel, and food coloring to the buttermilk and stir and set aside.

3. With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer fitted with beaters, cut butter into large pieces and beat in large bowl on low until softened.
Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute until the butter is lighter in color and aerated.

4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition.

After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters. ) Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.

5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour. (If the buttermilk mixture is cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together when you add the flour.)

Add the flour and liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do not wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter.

After completing the last addition of flour, stop the mixer, and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula. Then, let the mixer run for 30 seconds on LOW. The batter will be very thick and form ridges on the side of the bowl as the beater pulls through the batter. STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix.

6. Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each cupcake liner.

Bake the cupcakes 20 to 25 minutes or until the tester inserted into center comes with a few moist crumbs but not batter. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire cake rack.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1. With the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, soften the shortening, then add the cream cheese and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add in the butter and beat until incorporated. Beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar at the side of the bowl.

2. Add the cream, meringue powder, lime peel, and vanilla with the mixer on low. Slowly add the additional powdered sugar until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Add in the food coloring.

Beat on low for 2 minutes more. The mixture should look light and fluffy. Do NOT overbeat, otherwise the buttercream will become too soft for icing and piping.

SARAH SAYS: I personally think that this frosting works better after it has been refrigerated for 1 hour and then slowly folded together with a few turns of a large rubber spatula before using.

3. Spread over cupcakes.

Store iced cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week. Icing must be kept refrigerated, but can remain at the cool side of room temperature for 2 hours maximum. Can freeze iced cupcakes, uniced cupcakes for up to one month or more. Icing can be frozen for a month.

Lemon Frosted Cupcakes:
Replace the 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or key lime juice with lemon juice
Replace 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel with lemon peel

Creamcheese Buttercream Frosting - Make it Lemon Flavored
Replace the 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel with lemon peel