Key Lime Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Key Lime Cupcakes

Guinea Pigs

I have a secret.

I’ve been flying under the radar and I kind of like it!

Many of us are either employed, or have significant others who are, and a requirement exists for the gainfully employed to show up at a formal workplace. Some workplaces can be bee hives of personalities and activity, others hardly buzz. But there’s one thing for sure, it almost always includes interaction of sorts with coworkers and sometimes the mingling is not necessarily all business.


Fresh Key Limes


Such is the case at my wife’s place of employment. There are several multi-story buildings clustered together on a lot where minions of white collar workers are housed in 2 or 3 of the buildings. Most of the floor space is divided up into classic cubicles. I think you get the picture. From my personal experiences, working in a space like this can be taxing on the staff at times. No wonder then, the “office party” was born to preserve camaraderie and a positive work environment. With the regularity of these events at my wife’s office, does it mean the environment there is less than cordial? Not necessarily.


Key Lime Zest


Sometimes there are building-wide events, and other times there a smaller, more intimate group functions. Regardless of the number of attendees, I’ll bet you can figure what the common denominator is between all the occasions—food. And lots of it!

This is where I come in.

Mrs. W is so good about giving me opportunity to try a recipe or develop a new one as her food contribution to the get-together. She’s every bit the foodie I am, is a terrific cook in her own right, and she closely identifies with Ina Garten, but still, she gives me first crack at a dessert. Her reputation of signing up for desserts precedes her to the point it’s a quiet expectation by staff… She’ll take the dish in and she’s greeted with enthusiastic “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from her counterparts, all the while clearly stating who the maker is. Some colleagues know I bake and fewer than that know about my blog.


Key Lime Frosting Ingredients


I relish that the credit is mostly hers. You see, my reward is the unbiased feedback she reports—mainly from the unsuspecting. How wonderful to have a random audience at your fingertips to sample your new recipe or baked good, to get to the nitty gritty truth of how it’s received! These co-workers are, in effect, my guinea pigs. Thus far, there have not been any major issues, and if an adjustment or two was needed it’s usually been an easy fix!

I think I’ll keep flying under the radar for a while.

Only thing is, it’s no longer a secret!

Key Lime Cupcakes with White Chocolate FrostingRecipe adapted from Jamie Nondorf courtesy of Foodnetwork.


Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12-14 standard size cupcakes

Serving Size: 1 cupcake


Summer is upon us and soon the bright sunny flavors of citrus will take center stage! These delicious cupcakes are a party favorite and the recipe is a cinch to prepare.


  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 rounded teaspoon fresh grated Key lime zest
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh Key lime juice (bottled may be substituted)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups loosely packed sweetened, flaked coconut
  • Frosting:
  • 5 ounces good quality white chocolate chips (or chopped from a bar)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice (may use bottled)
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Green sanding sugar and lime jelly beans, for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Turn to low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl down. Add the vanilla, zest and juice mixing well on low speed.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the creamed butter/sugar mixture—beginning and ending with the flour mixture; mixing on low speed until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bowl down. Fold the coconut into the cake batter.
  • Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners of your choice. Use a spring loaded ¼ cup ice cream scoop to fill each liner—this ensures uniformity (otherwise fill cups to slightly less than 2/3rds full). Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops just start to brown and the toothpick test comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a small heat proof bowl seated on a pot of simmering water, slowly melt the white chocolate until smooth and chunk-free. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla, lime juice, salt and sour cream; mix until very smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until incorporated.
  • Frost the cupcakes and garnish.


To help maximize the juicing process, roll the limes on a hard surface to help break up its flesh. Remember to zest the limes before cutting them for juicing. Fork tines stuck into the cut lime half, then twisted also helps to release the juice. Have a strainer ready the catch the seeds. In portioning the batter, draw your ¼ cup scoop up firmly against the side of the bowl to push out any excess measure. Swiping the sides of the scoop with a clean finger to clear it off helps to keep a neat “drop” into the cup. Start checking for doneness around the 21 minute mark.

As seen on The Country Cook, June 11, 2011


  1. It’s always good to take a flight under the radar, but your blog followers have missed you. Great post, and what luscious cupckaes! Any chance your culinarry admirerers could get an invite to one of Mrs. W’s work events? 🙂

    • Brooks Walker says

      Dan, thank you for the kind comment. My brief respite was spent taking care of important family matters and it’s good to be back! As far as attending one of Mrs. W’s company functions, we could try adding you to the guest list.

  2. Brooks, your desserts are always so unique and look fabulous. This would be perfect for our summer barbeque.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you, Joan. Enjoy the cupcakes! The recipe may be made with the standard variety if key limes are not available.

  3. Oh my goodness Brooks!! I will be your guinea pig anytime!!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thanks for volunteering Kim. The cupcakes will bring a ray of sunshine when you’re under one of those SoCal marine layers. 🙂

  4. Brooks, I’m happy to see you also do not use green food coloring in your lime cupcakes. Isn’t fresh lime one of THE best flavors on earth?!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Lime is indeed one of the best flavors, Jean. Sometimes coloring food isn’t necessary to convince the eye of a taste sensation. In this case, suggesting lime color was done with the liner and garnish. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Brooks,

    Key lime is one of the most refreshing flavors in the world, not matter how it’s prepared. The cool thing about the cupcakes is the lack of fussiness, no forks, no plates, just pop ’em in the mouth one after the other. We were looking for something for our Independence Day Croquet Party and looks like we’ve found it.

    • Brooks Walker says

      I love the idea of popping ’em in the mouth one after the other, Cheryl & Adam. I hope you and your guests will enjoy these cupcakes and may your Fourth of July party be a smashing success. With your hosting & entertaining skills, I’m confident it will be!

  6. That is one of the things I miss about the cubed office space. It is hard for me to bring goodies to FullView Media as we would eat the entire batch!! Brooks, anything key lime is a winner in my book, and these cupcakes are a winner!


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