These key lime cupcakes are like upside-down key lime pies. The cake is moist and intensely key lime-flavored (prepare to pucker your lips) and the frosting is packed with crushed graham crackers so you feel like you’re eating a graham cracker crust on top of the cake. These summer cupcakes are perfect for the beach – or even a poolside BBQ!
Why Key Lime Cupcakes are The Best Summer Cupcakes
Key lime flavor totally makes you feel like you are at the beach!
Key limes are called key limes because of their association with the Florida Keys where key lime pie can be found everywhere. The pie, made with sweetened condensed milk, became popular there because they didn’t have access to fresh milk on the island.
What is the Difference Between Key Lime and Lime?
There is a difference between key limes and regular (Persian) limes.
Key limes are smaller, have more seeds, higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind.
About this Key Lime Cupcake Recipe
If you’ve never baked cupcakes before, read my post on how to make cupcakes before beginning.
- You can use freshly squeezed key limes or store-bought key lime juice for this recipe. If you are unable to find key limes, this recipe will work very well with fresh limes. It will just taste a little less tangy.
- Cake flour makes these cupcakes nice and light. If you only have all-purpose flour, you can use that and they will just be a little more dense.
- Just like the pie, the cupcakes are made with sweetened condensed milk. It gives the cupcakes the distinct key lime pie flavor. You won’t be using the whole can; if you’d like to try some other cupcakes that use sweetened condensed milk, try my tres leches cupcakes or my caramel cupcakes.
About the Graham Cracker Frosting
These beach cupcakes are frosted with graham cracker frosting. It’s a simple vanilla cream cheese frosting with crushed graham crackers mixed right in.
If you plan to pipe the frosting, be sure to crush the crackers very finely (use a food processor if you have one) so that they don’t clog up your piping tips. You can also use the crushed graham crackers as pretend sand both on and around the cupcakes for a fun party presentation.
Key Lime Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour not self-rising
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup key lime juice
Graham Cracker Frosting Ingredients
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups finely crushed graham crackers crush using a rolling pin or food processor
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar.
- Mix eggs into butter/sugar, one at a time.
- Thoroughly mix sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice into wet ingredients.
- Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
- Divide evenly between 12 cupcake liners. Note: The batter will be very liquid; this is normal.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched lightly. The centers will still be wet but they will solidify as they cool.
- Place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool.
Graham Cracker Frosting Instructions
- In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Note: You can add more if you prefer a stiffer consistency.
- Mix in vanilla extract.
- Fold in crushed graham crackers.
- Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.