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Recipes » Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes


Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g (10oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 lime and 4 tbsp juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g (10oz) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 360ml (12½fl oz) buttermilk

For the crystallized lime peel

  • 2 unwaxed limes
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar, plus more for coating

For the lime syrup

  • 30g (1¼oz) icing sugar dissolved in the juice of 1½ limes

For the white chocolate frosting

  • 200g (7oz) white chocolate
  • 125ml (4fl oz) whipping cream
  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened grated zest of 1 lime and juice of ½
  • 350g (11½oz) icing sugar

These fresh, zesty cupcakes make great summer treats. You could add some chopped fresh mint to turn them into Mojito cupcakes, and a cup of roasted coconut in the mix works very well, too. It’s a good idea to make the crystalized lime peel decoration the day before you want to serve these cakes.


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, pare the rind from each lime, then carefully cut it into thin strips. Put the icing sugar and 100ml (3½fl oz) water in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Once bubbling, add one-third of the lime peel and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  2. Remove the strips, roll them gently in caster sugar and lay them on greaseproof paper. (Don’t arrange them on top of each other or they will stick together.)
  3. Repeat with the remaining peel and, once all cooked, leave to dry overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/ gas mark 4, and line a cupcake tin with paper cases.
  5. Using an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, slowly, one at the time. Then add the lime zest and juice, and the vanilla extract. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Gradually add this to the butter mixture with alternate spoonfuls of buttermilk. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 25–30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Using a cocktail stick, insert small holes all over the surface of each cupcake, then spoon a teaspoon of lime syrup and allow it to soak through.
  7. To make the frosting: put the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water making sure the bowl does not touch the surface of the water. Heat until the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool completely. Then whisk in the butter, lime zest, juice, and icing sugar. When smooth, use a piping bag to pipe the frosting onto each cake, and decorate with a few strands of crystallized lime peel.

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