Key Lime Cupcakes bring the tangy and the sweet

As part of my ongoing quest to make delicious food and, apparently, fatten up everyone in my life (family, boyfriend, coworkers — I’m looking at all of you), I went ahead and got adventurous last weekend: and this time? It was all about the Key Lime Cupcakes.

Katie and I decided to throw ourselves a birthday party, see, and what’s a birthday party without dessert? Since it was also a birthday party for several other friends with big days right around ours and I didn’t know how I could possibly fit five names on a birthday cake, I went with the old standby: cupcakes.

And, well — I love cupcakes. And I don’t really need any excuse to make them.

The recipe I found for the key lime variety was on, a website I peruse whenever I want to stare at pretty food without the added guilt of having consumed it. Divided into all sorts of categories and with a plethora of different dishes available, there’s always some new item to discover. (They didn’t pay me to say this but, you know, if someone from headquarters wants to make me cupcakes in gratitude, go ahead and email me. That’s fine. Whatever.)

So I’ve got my little virtual recipe box with all my little recipes. And when I went to pick a cupcake for the party, I wanted something cool, refreshing and different. These fit the bill. Just bear in mind that the “lime” factor of the Key Lime Cupcakes is no joke, so if you just casually enjoy sweet-and-tart desserts? Use caution.

I followed this recipe to the letter and wound up with a ton of extra frosting, and I’m not sure that my homemade variety was anything better than what I could have whipped out of a can . . . but hey, it’s fun to say I made these (almost) from scratch! Next time, though, I think I will use pre-made cream cheese frosting. Especially since I was trying to finish these at 11 p.m. while dancing to Michael Jackson and being a lunatic, and I almost had a disaster going on. Why make it harder on myself? Just don’t skip the lime zest — that really added a welcome kick.

Key Lime Cupcakes

Recipe from

Ingredients for cupcakes:
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® lemon cake mix
1 box (4-serving size) lime-flavored gelatin
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup Key lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 or 3 drops green food color, if desired

Ingredients for glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons Key lime juice

Ingredients for frosting:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Grated lime peel, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cake mix and gelatin with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Add remaining cupcake ingredients. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.

2. Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. With toothpick or wooden skewer, pierce tops of cupcakes in several places.

3. In small bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar and enough of the 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle and spread glaze over cupcakes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in vanilla and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Frost cupcakes, mounding and swirling frosting in center. Garnish with lime peel. Store covered in refrigerator. Yield: 24 cupcakes.