These fluffy Key Lime Cupcakes are a summer favorite! Made with a graham cracker crust and topped with a lime filled cupcake that is out of this world delicious. The secret is in the filling!
- Make Ahead: Did you know you can make most cupcakes in advance? This recipe can be made, individually, ahead and assembled the day of serving.
- Freezer Friendly: Along with making in advance, you can bake and freeze these cupcakes!
- Light and Flavor Packed: The light and airy cake pairs perfectly with the key lime filling.
These cupcakes are SO DANG GOOD. I have been making them for years and honestly cannot believe it has taken this long to share them here. One of the top requested cupcakes during the summer, and a stunning option a lot of brides pick when ordering cupcakes through me.
You just cannot go wrong with the buttery graham cracker crust paired with a light and moist lime cupcake. Add in the lime curd and light whipped cream for a dessert that is irresistible and hard to share.
LIME CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS
The ingredient list for these cupcakes is fairly simple and calls for mostly pantry staples, like flour and sugar. There are, however, a few exceptions. here is what you will need to whip up these delicious citrus cupcakes:
- Graham Crackers: Crushed grahams mixed with butter give you a delicious bottom crust. You can skip this step, however it is such a buttery delicious addition that ties the cupcake flavors together.
- Butter: I like to use salted butter in this recipe. The added salt acts as a flavor enhancer and blends together the citrus with the buttery cake.
- Flour: Specifically, cake flour. You can make your own by combining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup. Top off with all-purpose flour.
- Baking Powder: Always double check the date of your baking powder. Using an out of date leavening agent will cause your cupcakes to rise less and be more dense.
- Buttermilk: For this cake, I do not suggest using a buttermilk substitute. However, in a pinch you can combine a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup of milk.
- Limes: Key limes are smaller and more yellow in color. You can opt for those or for persian limes if you cannot find the smaller version.
- Extract: Vanilla AND coconut extract is called for in this recipe. While it may be tempting to skip the coconut, it adds the perfect boost of tropical flavor.
- Lime Curd: Make your own OR purchase a pre-made key lime curd (affiliate).
KEY LIME PIE CUPCAKES WITH GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- PREP: Read through the recipe. Taking this extra step will make the entire process seamless. I also like to measure out all of the ingredients before I start.
- MIX: Mix together the cupcake batter, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and carefully combine ingredients. Create the graham cracker crust and lightly press into prepared cupcake liners.
- BAKE: Scoop into cupcake liners, right on top of the graham cracker, and bake. You will LOVE watching the cupcake fluff up in the oven throughout the baking process.
- FILL: Cool the cupcakes and fill with lime curd. Optionally, you could use lime mousse. It is super simple to make and would be a delicious option for these cupcakes.
- FROST: Top the filled cupcakes with a light lime whipped cream and enjoy!
- Cupcake Liners: I’m a big fan of neutral cupcake liner (affiliate) colors. I feel like the star of the show should be the cake itself, but you can find dozens of color options (affiliate).
- Scoop: I’m obsessed with my cookie scoop (affiliate). I use it for cookies BUT I also use it to evenly fill cupcake liners. This ensures perfect sized cupcakes every single time.
- Cupcake Corer: These cupcakes are filled with a dreamy key lime pie filling. Using a cupcake corer (affiliate) can make this process super quick and easy.
CUPCAKE BAKING TIPS
Yes. You can bake the cupcakes up to 3 days in advance. However, I recommend not filling or frosting until you are ready to serve. Keep the cupcakes stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Key limes are smaller and typically a more light green , or yellow, color. They have a super bold and tart flavor and are ideal when used in lime desserts like Key Lime Pie No-Churn Ice Cream, Coconut Lime Cookies or Key Lime Mousse.
Regular Limes are a bold green color and have a juicy tangy flavor. These are ideal for dressings and marinades, like my Margarita Chicken and Cilantro Lime Ranch.
You can freeze these cupcakes after they have baked and cooled completely. Place in an airtight container, or freezer safe zip top bag, and place in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, let come to room temperature on the counter.
Once filled and topped with whipped cream, these cupcakes should be eaten within 24 hours. After you have fully assembled, keep stored covered in the refrigerator.
MORE MUST TRY CUPCAKES
- Buttermilk Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Cream
- Blackberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- Coconut Cupcakes
- Peach Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
- Lemon Basil Cupcakes
- Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- Strawberry Cake Mix Cupcakes
Lime Pie Cupcakes
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1-1/2 cups cake flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest of 1 lime or 2-3 key limes
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
FILLING AND TOPPING:
- 1 cup key lime curd homemade or store bought
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 ° F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter in a small mixing bowl. Whisk with a fork until combined.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to the bottom of each cupcake liner and press to the bottom firmly, creating the crust. Set aside.
- For the cupcakes, gently whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large measuring cup. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and 1 cup sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for roughly 3 minutes at medium speed, or until light and creamy in color.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl, Add the lime zest and stir for 1 additional minute.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to stir until incorporated fully.
- With the mixer placed at a low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk.
- Stir until combined.
- Add the extracts and give one final mix, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Divide the batter between your cupcake liners, right on top of the graham crust, filling roughly 2/3 full.
- Bake 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.
FILLING AND FROSTING
- Once cooled completely, add 1-1/2 tablespoons of lime curd to the center of each cake. Be sure to check out my full guide on how to fill a cupcake.
- Place the whipping cream in a chilled bowl.
- Whisk the cream until soft peaks form.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Continue to whisk until light and fluffy.
- Spoon or pipe onto the tops of the cupcakes.