key lime cupcakes key lime cupcakes Israeli Kitchen These key lime cupcakes are almost too gorgeous to eat. Almost. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Key lime cupcakes

These tropical cupcakes get their flavor and personality from tiny, tart key limes.

  • Yield: 1 dozen
  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 20 minutes

This out-of-the-ordinary recipe was actually a lot of fun, once I got past the zesting and juicing of 20 little tiny key limes. When these cupcakes were finally finished (did I mention the 20 little key lime skins squeezed dry on my counter?), the results were well worth the effort. The cupcakes came out so gorgeous, we didn’t want to eat them, just wanted to keep gazing and snapping photos. But finally we dug in, and let me say, they were fabulous.

I’ll admit that key limes are hard to find. But when you do chance upon a bag, keep this awesome recipe in mind. This is a real unique treat, merging all the well-loved flavors of key-lime pie into a mouth-watering, moist cupcake. The combination of sweet chocolate crust, sweet-tart cake and a fluffy, zesty cream makes these cupcakes truly stand out.

If you can’t find key limes, use limes and lime juice, and a strip of zest for garnish. You can also make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 cup of any kind of milk or milk substitute with 1 teaspoon vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, and it should start curdling.

key limesKey limes can be hard to find; other varieties of limes work well here, too. (Photo: bonchan/Shutterstock)


    For crust:

  • 5 chocolate graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • For cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • For key lime cream:

  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 3 key limes, quartered, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

Crush graham crackers in processor, and then transfer to small bowl and mix with melted butter.

Using a tablespoon, place a spoonful of crumb mixture into each cupcake liner. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, press down to mold the crumbs into a crust shape. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.

Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.

Whip butter in electric mixing bowl until soft. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add lime juice and zest.

Add ½ the flour, mix, then half the buttermilk and keep mixing. Add remaining flour and buttermilk. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until tops are set and spring back when lightly pressed.

Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and cool completely.

To make cream, beat butter and zest until mixture is smooth and airy. Add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar and keep mixing on low until incorporated, then add lime juice and zest.

Transfer cream to a large Ziploc bag, squeeze out the air, and seal tightly. Snip the corner. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes, and garnish with key lime wedge dipped in sugar.

Related Topics: Baking, Desserts

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