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I recently offered to make dessert for a family gathering and wanted to try something new. I love trying out new desserts for large groups because it means that I don’t eat it all! I wanted something light and fresh and these cupcakes fit the bill. Summer and citrus go hand in hand. And, since I can’t be down at the Florida Keys, I can at least take a bit and pretend I am! While I love key lime pie, I’ve never made them with a cake before but I figured these would taste delicious and I wasn’t wrong. Even some folks that I figured would steer towards other desserts were tempted to grab these pretty little cupcakes and commented on how good they were. Best part? Yet again cream cheese haters were in love. Another point for Maeghan in the cream cheese battle. Moo ha ha!

While there are a couple of steps in preparing these cupcakes, make it easier on your self and break it up into two days. Go ahead and make your cupcakes, I opted to go for my tried and true Vanilla Bean cupcakes. Also, make your key lime curd and let it chill overnight. This will ensure that the curd is thick enough to pipe into your cupcakes. When you are ready to assemble, whip up the cream cheese frosting, pip the curd into your cupcakes and decorate!

Key Lime Cupcakes


For the Key Lime Curd

  • 1/4 cup key lime juice (about 10 key limes)
  • 1/2 Tbsp key lime zest
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into two pieces

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 12 oz powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Key Lime Curd

Over a saucepan with simmering water, (double boiler) whisk the key lime juice, zest, egg, and sugar in a bowl. Add butter and whisk until thickened and smoother. About 160 F. Strain the  mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You will want the plastic wrap to touch the curd so that a skin doesn’t form. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and allow to cool. It will pipe much easier if the mixture is chilled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until combined. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth.

To assemble the cupcakes

Use an apple corer or knife to cut a hole in the center of the cupcake. ( A Bismark tip will not work in this case, since the curd is too thick) Do not go to the very bottom of the cupcake. Fill the hole with the chilled key lime filling using a spoon or pastry bag. In this case, you do not need to cover the hole with the left over cake. The frosting will cover the curd filling. Pipe frosting on the top of the cupcake and garnish with lime twists, sprinkles, zest.

Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes

Source: Adapted from She Makes She Bakes, Vanilla Bean Cupcakes from Annie’s Eats