It rarely happens that I step out of the realm of yellow, white, or chocolate cupcakes. Since I am blogging now, I think it’s upon time I expand my cupcake repertoire. I mean, they are all the rage right now… haha. Well, since it’s summer I wanted to whip something up with some nice bright, light flavors. I immediately thought of citrus. Since I have been baking a lot with lemon lately (lemon cookies, lemon bars, lemon poppy seed muffins, etc) I decided to change things up. I went the direction of key limes. It’s been in the back of my mind for awhile now to make some key lime pie. While I haven’t quite taken the time to do that yet, I thought it would be more than fulfilling to bake some key lime cupcakes. And boy was I right!
These cupcakes have such a delicate citrus flavor. It’s almost like eating a lime sherbet cupcake. A lime sherbet cupcake covered with cream cheese frosting that is… hehe. Who doesn’t like creamy cheese frosting??? It really does take any cake to a whole new level.
I have to complain though. This was my first time working with key limes and I am not a fan. They are SO tiny! To zest them, or even just juice them, is kind of an annoying task. Tedious, if you will. Although they have different flavor profiles, I would almost suggest that you use limes if you think you might feel the same way. They are slightly bigger and easier to manipulate. Plus one lime yields much more juice than one teeny, tiny key lime.
Regardless, the cupcake itself comes out moist and beautiful. The dome isn’t perfect on these, so don’t be over-ambitious and fill them to far, they may spread across the cupcake pan rather than rise. I usually don’t like the crumb that cake flour provides, I just think it’s too tight. But these had a perfect crumb. Plus, they’re a super fun flavor!
- For the Cake:
- 1 ¾ cups cake flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cool unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 2 ½ tablespoons key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest
- 1 drop green food coloring paste
- ¾ cup buttermilk (room temperature)
- For the Frosting:
- 1 stick cool unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature), cut into 8 pieces
- 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest
- For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with paper liners. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt three times, set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Add the sugar and increase the speed to medium. Beat until fluffy, about four minutes. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lime juice, zest, and food coloring and beat until mixed. (The mixture will look curdled.)
- Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix on low until just combined. Fill each cupcake liner ⅔ full.
- Bake 18-22 minutes. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.
- For the Frosting: Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Increase speed to medium and add the cream cheese one piece at a time. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar until combined. Beat in zest.
adapted from My Madison Bistro