2 key lime cupcakes next to each other on wooden board

Key Lime Cupcakes

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Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

Key lime cupcakes give you a burst of summertime in a delicious little treat. They are so good, you can’t eat just one! They are tangy with the key lime juice, and they melt in your mouth when you bite into them and get the gooey center filling.

I love heading to the beach. It’s so relaxing, and a great break from the daily hustle and bustle. Florida is one of my favorite spots for vacationing. Not only for the beautiful beaches, but all that gorgeous citrus.

Deciding between oranges, grapefruits, and lemons is hard enough. But then, there are limes. Groves and groves of limes. Not just any lime. THE lime.

I am talking about key limes in particular.

key lime cupcakes stacked on top of each other

What’s the difference in key limes and regular limes?

About Key Limes; just in case you’ve never cooked with key limes, they are not the same as the regular limes found in the grocery store. Key Limes are small, about 1/3 the size of a regular lime, and more acidic in flavor. They’re picked when they’re green, but turn yellow when ripe. They are bursting with a very distinctive flavor, and you’ll fall in love with the sweet smooth citrus flavor in your pies, cupcakes, or cakes that this little wonder gives your baked goods!

Key limes make this key lime cupcake spectacular. The addition of the white chocolate on top gives it a sweet balance to the tangy zip the key limes bring.

top view of key lime cupcake

Other recipes to try:

Peeps Cupcakes
Southern Lemon Cupcakes
Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes

Now, making these key lime cupcakes isn’t difficult.

Don’t let the number of steps scare you, once you get started, they are very easy! You’ll want to start with the key lime filling first, so it has time to cool completely. Place the egg yolks in a bowl, and whisk them until they’re well blended.

Add the sweetened condensed milk, 3 egg yolks, sugar, and key lime juice to a heavy bottom saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. The filling will continue to thicken as it cools. Place in the refrigerator until time to fill the cupcakes.

The cupcake part is mainly mixing the wet ingredients in one bowl, then dry ingredients in a separate bowl. combine them by adding the flour just a little at a time and fill your muffin liners. Bake until nice and golden brown, and cool completely. Keep hubby and kids away from the mixing bowl if you can. 

While the cupcakes are cooling, make up your frosting by mixing the butter, cream cheese, lime zest and juice together. Make your chocolate curls, frost your cupcakes and you are ready for some deliciousness!

single key lime cupcake on wooden board

Tools you need for key lime cupcakes:

  • Electric mixer (stand mixer is best)
  • Cake corer – to remove the center of the cupcakes for filling
  • 2 12 count muffin tins
  • Cup cake liners
  • 1 carrot peeler – to make the white chocolate curls
  • Parchment paper
  • Foil – to cover the frosting
  • Cup cake container(s) – to chill and store the cupcake in the refrigerator

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Will you try these key lime cupcakes?

single key lime cupcake on wooden board
single key lime cupcake

Key Lime Cupcakes

Sweet and tangy with melt in your mouth tenderness, these key lime cupcakes will be a hit with your family and friends!

Servings 24


  • 1 cup cake flour sifted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1/3 cup fresh key lime juice can also use bottled, if necessary
  • 1 Tablespoon key lime zest
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 8 ounce blocks cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 Tablespoon key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1 15 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large egg yolks beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 bar white chocolate


  1. Place the egg yolks in a bowl, and whisk them until they're well blended.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, 3 egg yolks, sugar, and key lime juice to a heavy bottom saucepan. 

  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.  The filling will continue to thicken as it cools. Place in the refrigerator until time to fill the cupcakes.

  3. WHITE CHOCOLATE CURLS – 1 bar of White chocolate, and a carrot peeler is what you'll need to make the curls that go on top of the cupcakes.  Start with small strokes on the white chocolate bar to make small tight curls. 

  4. If you prefer bigger curls, just continue down the bar with the peeler.  You can make these while the cupcakes are baking and cooling.  Place curls on parchment paper and place in the refrigerator until time to top cupcakes.


  5. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, Key Lime juice, lime zest, milk, and sour cream, and mix until smooth. 


  6. In a separate bowl, sift the two flours until they look like fine powder.  Add the baking powder and salt, and mix together. 

  7. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl a little at a time, and mix between additions, until all ingredients have been blended. 

  8. Mix on high for 1 minute.  Place cupcake liners in muffin tins, and fill the liner 3/4 full with the cupcake batter.  

  9. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, and cool on wire racks.

  10. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the key lime juice, vanilla and lime zest, and mix until blended. 

  11. Add the powdered sugar in small intervals, and blend between additions.  If the frosting seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.  If it's too thick, add bit more key lime juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.  Frosting should be thick enough to pipe onto cupcakes.

  12. Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator, covered with foil until time to frost the cupcakes.

  13. When the cupcakes have completely cooled, remove the center of the cupcake with the corer. 

  14. When centers are removed, slice a few Key Limes in thin slices, and place a slice in the center of each cupcake, then fill the center with the KEY LIME FILLING. 

  15. Once all the cupcakes have been filled with filling, remove the frosting from the refrigerator, and place in a pastry bag with the star tip. 

  16. Pipe frosting on cupcakes, working from the base, swirling around the cupcake and to a point. 

  17. Top with white chocolate curls. 

  18. Cover, in a single layer cupcake container, and place cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Chill overnight for best results.

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