Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lime Pie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

You know, I've always wanted to work in an office where I could bring baked goods to share with everyone...and happily, my workplace fits the bill! I made these Lime Pie Cupcakes yesterday and brought them into the office this morning.
So far, the feedback has ranged from "We KNEW we hired you for a good reason!" to "Your food is just too good. I mean, great personality, but the CUPCAKES!" to "You're going to be around for Halloween, right? We're having a bake sale! Get ready! You're going to make us MILLIONS!" :) I've been smiling all morning :)

The funny thing is: I met with a financial advisor a few weeks ago, whose request upon our second meeting, after seeing the blog, was a cupcake. Because we're meeting today, I actually made the cupcakes for HIM, but figured everyone else could benefit. Hopefully his feedback is just as generous!
Anyway...I love lime. I love cupcakes. AND, I love pie! So...these cupcakes were basically a dream come true. I started with a base of cake mix (mostly for the sake of time), and added a good amount of freshly-squeezed lime juice and lime zest to get a good, authentic, sweet-tart lime flavor in the batter. Additionally, I added a graham cracker crust to get the full "pie" effect...these cupcakes are ABSOLUTELY delicious and very pretty, too. And bonus: this is my own recipe--not adapted from anyone! :)

Lime Pie Cupcakes:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about six limes)
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (about two limes)
  • 1 packet instant vanilla pudding mix (I used vanilla)
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 graham crackers)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted (I used unsalted; if you use salted butter, omit the salt)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon (adjust to taste)
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (again, adjust to taste, or omit if using salted butter)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (adjust to taste)

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins with 24 cupcake liners; set aside.

Begin with the graham cracker crust: create graham cracker crumbs using a blender or food processor. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined, then add the graham cracker crumbs. Mixture should resemble wet sand.

Put a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner, and press or pack it down so it covers the bottom. (Some people like to use a glass or something with a flat bottom to do this. If you choose to, be sure to spray the bottom of your glass with cooking spray so the crumbs don't stick!) Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant; remove and allow to cool.
*NOTE: this mixture was barely enough for 24 cupcakes, so I recommend using a few more graham crackers in the future. This recipe yielded 28 cupcakes for me, so I made the last four without the crust.
 For cupcakes: in a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, and lime juice and zest. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until just combined--a few lumps are okay! Do NOT overmix!! Pour prepared cupcake batter over cooled crusts; fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make frosting: in a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy; no hidden lumps! (A hand mixer or stand mixer will do this just fine). Add softened butter and beat cream cheese and butter until well-combined smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until ingredients are smoothly incorporated.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with slices of lime, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, or shimmering sugar. This frosting is thick and not too sweet, so, as always, adjust to taste!

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