Today is my sister Megan’s 32nd birthday. Since I’m using birthdays and special occasions as an outlet for my recently stifled baking habit, I asked her what kind of cupcakes she wanted…and after a week’s worth of deliberation (seriously) we narrowed it down to two things. The first one is Key Lime Pie Cupcakes. The second will be posted as soon as I can get to it!
I couldn’t find a recipe that matched exactly what I wanted, so I did a lot of research to come up with this recipe. I didn’t want a lime flavored cake – I felt that would be too overpowering. And while I wanted a lime-curd flavored filling, I wanted it to be more creamy and pudding like rather than curd-like. Finally, the traditional key-lime cupcake recipes have graham cracker in the cake portion – I wanted it as a garnish on top.
So, here’s what I came up with: it’s a super-moist white cake with a key-lime custard filling, coconut-lime buttercream frosting, and sugared graham cracker sprinkles. These cupcakes make me want summertime to get here now, but since we’re still months away from that, I’ll just close my eyes and pretend I’m eating one while sitting on the beach somewhere.
The only thing I would change about these next time is the cake recipe. I love this cake, but I think it needs something slighly sturdier to hold the curd and buttercream. I also thought I had green cupcake papers, but I suppose that’s not a big deal. =)
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 3.5 oz box (the small box) of instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp. lime zest
2 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp key lime juice
2 tbsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup white sugar
Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely. Once cool, you’ll use the cone method to prepare the cakes for filling.
In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice. Beat with a mixer until combined. Add whipping cream, beat until combined. Once smooth, add vanilla pudding and lime zest. Again, beat until combined. Refrigerate for 5 minutes or until filling has set. Once set, fill your cupcakes and replace the cone tops.
Using a mixer (stand is easier in this case), beat softened butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Then, add liquids – key lime juice, coconut extract and vanilla. Once combined, TASTE IT. Add more coconut or lime to your liking.
I recommend using a piping bag to frost these cupcakes. I used a 2″ collapsed star tip. Add the frosting to the bag and quickly frost the cupcakes – you don’t want the frosting to soften too much from the heat of your hands.
In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar and combine with a fork until crumbly. Depending on the consistency of your cracker crumbs, you may need to add more. Sprinkle generously on top of the frosting before it hardens. Follow up with a dash of lime zest, and you’re done!
I would recommend storing these cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve. And you just might have to eat them with a fork!