For me, there is no dessert out there that epitomizes summer more than key lime pie. That’s probably because I only ever eat key lime pie when I’m vacationing in Florida during the summer. My cravings have been growing for a delicious slice of citrusy heaven for almost four years. Now, obviously that is much too long to be starved of creamy goodness. So, when I saw a recipe for orange creamsicle cupcakes, my cravings came raging forward and I knew I had to tweak the orange out to make key lime cupcakes.
Now, boxed cake mixes and I don’t have a friendly history together. Unless it’s scratch-made, I feel like I’m cheating myself out of something better. But, don’t let that be the only reason you stray away from this recipe. You’ll hardly even notice that Betty Crocker helped you out a bit. It will be our little secret.
Key Lime Cupcakes
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Cupcakes, 2011
Makes 27 Cupcakes
1 4-oz. box lime gelatin
1 box 2-layer white cake mix
1 4-serving box cheesecake flavored pudding and instant pie filling mix
1/3 c. oil
1 1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. key lime juice, divided
½1/2 c. butter
8 oz. cream cheese
6 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. lime zest
3 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
green food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 27 2-1/2 inch cupcake cups with paper liners.
Remove 2 tsp. lime gelatin from package and set aside for the frosting. In a mixing bowl, combine remaining gelatin, white cake mix, cheesecake pudding mix, eggs, oil, 1 1/4 c. key lime juice, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Divide evenly into prepared cupcake tins. The cups should be about 2/3 full. Smooth out the tops of each.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (or with moist crumbs). Cool in tins on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from tins to wire racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together. Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Remove 1/4th of the mixture to a separate bowl and add the remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. To the remaining mixture, add 2 tsp. lime gelatin (set aside previously), 1 tbsp. key lime juice, and 1 tsp. lime zest. Mix well. Add green food coloring until the desired color is reached (I used green gel-paste food color and it took about 3 tiny drops).
Add each frosting mixture to separate piping bags (I just used large Ziploc bags). To the cooled cupcakes, pipe green frosting to cover the top. To the center of each, pipe a small dot of the white vanilla frosting.