Lemon ice box pie is the lemon version of key lime pie – with a small but important twist. On a hot, sticky Southern summer day, lemon ice box pie always beats out its key lime cousin because lemon ice box pie is served frozen! I made my lemon ice box pie as jumbo cupcakes, ripe for sharing on the porch swing with a tall glass of sweet tea.
Rather than the traditional graham cracker crust, these lemon ice box pie cupcakes have a lavender benne seed shortbread crust. The lavender is almost undetectable unless you are looking for it. However, it adds a floral note that makes the jumbo cupcakes seem extra-special – even if you can’t put your finger on why.
I topped the lemon ice box pie cupcakes with the biggest blackberries that I’ve ever seen and some lemon basil picked right off of the plant. Think of the top of your lemon ice box pie jumbo cupcakes as a palette. There’s tons of room up there for whatever fresh fruit you can find! If you are still looking for that perfect July 4th cupcake, jumbo lemon ice box cupcakes topped with red raspberries and blueberries would surely fit the bill.
These jumbo cupcakes are also perfect if you’re experiencing a never-ending summer with heat waves extending well into October.
My favorite quote about these cupcakes came from my new friend, Amy, who said, “These are stooopid!” You have to imagine her saying it with long Southern drawl on the “oooo” and you must realize that calling them “stooopid” was her utmost compliment!
Why This Recipe Works
Frozen desserts are perfect on a hot day, and the freshness of lemon really makes these cupcakes shine. (Check out my lemon cupcakes for another fresh dessert idea that isn’t served frozen.)
The crunch and buttery flavor of the shortbread crust pairs perfectly with the lemon ice box pie filling.
What Do You Need to Make Jumbo Cupcakes?
You will need jumbo cupcake liners. I recommend silicone liners because they will hold their shape without the need for a jumbo muffin tin – you can put them right onto a regular baking sheet and then into the freezer.
While optional, garnishing these otherwise flat jumbo cupcakes with berries and lemon basil leaves really gives them some texture and visual interest. If you can’t find lemon basil, try using mint instead.
How to Make This Recipe
Make the Lavender Benne Seed Shortbread Crust
This one’s pretty easy. First, mix everything but butter together.
Then, mix in cold, cubed butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Go ahead and use your hands!
Press the crust mixture into the bottoms of six jumbo cupcake liners, making sure that it is somewhat evenly divided between them.
Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until the crust is a light brown.
Make The Lemon Ice Box Pie Filling
Whisk sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together in a medium-sized bowl.
In another medium-sized bowl, beat together the lemon zest with egg yolks until pale.
Add the condensed milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth.
Preparing the Jumbo Cupcakes
Pour the filling into the prepared cupcake liners. Don’t worry if the crusts are still hot.
Bake until the centers jiggle slightly and the edges are set.
Let cupcakes cool for 1 hour so they come to room temperature.
Loosely cover the cupcakes with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours.
Garnish with fresh berries and lemon basil leaves just before serving.
Thank you to the city of Charleston, South Carolina for inspiring these cupcakes (for more on that, read my post all about the events leading up to baking these cupcakes), and thanks again to HomeAway for the opportunity to bake on the road!
Lemon Ice Box Pie Jumbo Cupcakes
Lavender Benne Seed Shortbread Crust Ingredients
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup lavender sugar I recommend a lavender sugar that is not too intensely lavender-flavored. I used the lavender sugar from The Charleston Spice Company. You can use plain white sugar or any other flavored sugar that you like.
- 3 tablespoons benne seeds sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces
- fresh berries for garnish, optional
- lemon basil for garnish, optional
Lemon Ice Box Pie Filling Ingredients
- 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk 2 cans, 14 ounces each
- 1 1/4 cups lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 8 large egg yolks
Lavender Benne Seed Shortbread Crust Instructions
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except butter.
- Mix in butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. (I find it easiest to do this with my hands – plus I get to eat anything that sticks to them!)
- Press mixture into the bottoms of six jumbo cupcake liners, making sure that it is somewhat evenly divided between them (no one will ever know if it's not perfect, so don't stress).
- Fill a jumbo muffin tin with cupcake liners and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust turns a light brown.
Lemon Ice Box Pie Filling Instructions
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice.
- In another medium-sized bowl, beat the lemon zest with the egg yolks until pale.
- Beat in the condensed milk mixture until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the prepared cupcake liners (if the crust is still hot, that's fine – it doesn't matter if it's hot or cold).
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the centers jiggle slightly and the edges are set.
- Remove cupcakes from the tin and place on a cooling rack or on your counter to cool for 1 hour (until they come to room temperature).
- Loosely cover the cupcakes with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours.
- Top with fresh berries and lemon basil leaves just before serving.