I made some Key Lime Cupcakes for a bake sale. I make them every year at a block party that we host, and people always want the recipe. A similar recipe was always one of our best sellers in the days when I owned a bakery. They taste light and tangy, but will satisfy even the sweetest tooth. They are perfect for your spring and summer parties. I promise your friends will be thoroughly impressed with these. (Unless of course, your friends don’t like Key Lime in general, but you don’t need friends like that!)
This recipe takes a little help from a boxed cake mix– you could certainly alter your favorite scratch-cake recipe, if you prefer. There are two secret ingredients: lime jello– which gives it the perfect color and texture, and key lime juice– which gives it the right amount of tang. I used to use only fresh squeezed Key Limes, but they are tiny, and it is time consuming to extract enough juice or the cake and frosting. I have made the recipe with regular lime juice, but have found that Nellie and Joe’s brand Key West Lime Juice yields the best flavor. It is readily available at most grocery stores.
1 box lemon cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
1 box of lime jello
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dump all of the ingredients into an electric mixing bowl, and mix on low for about 30 seconds until combined. Then, mix on medium for 2 minutes. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. (I use an ice cream scoop to get the perfect, even amount in each cupcake.) Bake for 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
1- 8oz. block of cream cheese (softened)
1- 32oz. bag of confectioner’s sugar
2 Tablespoons of Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice
Food coloring if desired. (Must use a gel food coloring. Betty Crocker makes a “Neon” green gel color that works great, or look for an electric or lime green from Wilton or Americolor.)
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese for 30-45 seconds. Add in two cups of powdered sugar, and mix until the frosting starts to come together. Stream in 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Stop and add two more cups of powdered sugar. Stream in remaining lime juice. Add more powdered sugar in increments of 2 cups at a time until the frosting reaches the consistency that you desire. (I usually do NOT use the whole bag of sugar.)
Note: Be careful not to add any more lime juice. The acidity in the lime juice will make your frosting a runny mess if you use too much.