Key Lime Vanilla Cupcakes with Lime Basil Buttercream

So I shared my Lime Basil Macarons not too long ago, right?  Those cookies are long gone, but if I ever get my hands on some more lime basil I will be making some more!  After I made the macarons, I still had left over Lime Basil Buttercream, and it was way too tasty to waste! So I started thinking about what I could do with it….and decided to try a vanilla cupcake, stuff it with some key lime filling, and top it with the lime basil buttercream.  In my imagination that combination sounded pretty yummy, and I was right!  My only complaint about these, was that the vanilla cupcake recipe that I used wasn’t my favorite: something about the texture was off…a little too chewy or something. So I’m not going to recommend the recipe that I used. But if you have a good vanilla cupcake recipe you should totally use it to make these cupcakes. You could probably even use a boxed cake mix to make it really easy (just don’t tell anyone I said that…).

Here’s what I did. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for key lime curd, which I thought was really good. Nice and tart just like I like it!  Just be really careful that you constantly stir it like it tells you to while it is cooking. I will confess that I hate constantly stirring things because I get hot standing over the oven, and I get really bored…so I turned my back for a bit and ended up with a few little cooked egg lumps in my key lime curd. It was still quite edible, and I don’t think anyone even noticed once it was in the cupcake, but that’s just my word of caution. I baked up my vanilla cupcakes, and after they cooled I cut a cone shape out of the top of each of them. Filled the subsequent hole with my key lime curd after it had cooled completely in the fridge, and then put the lid back on top of the cupcake so no one was the wiser. Then I piped some of my leftover lime basil buttercream on top, to finish them off.


Just like with the macarons I made, we really enjoyed the tart lime flavor with just the hint of basil, and I thought it woke up the otherwise somewhat bland vanilla cupcake really nicely. The lime basil is a new flavor combination for me, and I’m a little obsessed excited about it.  Maybe next year I will see if I can grow my own lime basil plant just so I can make these macarons and cupcakes again (and then I wouldn’t have to make them all in one weekend before my lime basil wilted….)!


Key Lime Vanilla Cupcakes

(Should be enough filling and frosting for 12 cupcakes)

Vanilla Cupcakes (Use your favorite recipe or a box mix…)

Key Lime Filling:

1/2-cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (8-10 key limes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, eggs, and juice.
2. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Cook until mixture begins to thicken and hold the mark of a whisk ran through it.
3. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in diced butter a few pieces at a time.
5. Cover mixture tightly with plastic by laying plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a film from forming. Chill for 3 hours or overnight to set the curd.
6. Cut a cone shape out of the top of each of your cupcakes and fill with the key lime filling, replacing the top of the cupcake after it has been filled.
Lime Buttercream Frosting:
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 1/2  to 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
Juice of 1 lime
5-10 leaves of fresh, finely chopped lime basil (or you could use regular basil)
Mix all ingredients except the basil leaves together with a mixer until creamy. Fold in the basil leaves until well mixed. Pipe on top of your cupcakes

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