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From the Kitchen: Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

October 17, 2012

This week, Evan is celebrating a birthday! So in honor of my favorite person, I’m sharing his favorite cupcake – key lime pie! I started making this recipe about three years ago when love + cupcakes was still a cupcake business (well, an aspiring business) and not just a blog. Evan’s not a dessert person at all, so it’s quite exciting that he even has a favorite cupcake. What I love most about this recipe is the graham cracker crust surprise at the bottom. It really adds that pie flavor and makes this cupcake super special. Happy early birthday Ev….consider this your first gift!!! xoxo!



(photos by paola parsons)

Key Lime Cupcakes– recipe by love+cupcakes

Makes about a dozen regular sized cupcakes



1 cup crushed graham crackers

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tables spoons finely grated lime zest (about 2 limes)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel (about 1 lime)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Place about 1/2 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture at the bottom of each cup and pack down with your fingers or a small, flat object (I use a wooden honey stick, it works beautifully)
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest vanilla. Add flour mixture in batches, alternating with buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
  5. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  6. Beat frosting ingredients together and spread on cooled cupcakes (I used a piping bag).
  7. Garnish with lime zest or a lime wedge.


45 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2012 1:38 am

    hubba hubba! I bet these taste *incredible*. Yum.

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:28 pm

      Thanks! Yep, they’re pretty tasty. One of my favorite cupcakes, actually :)

  2. Homemade Stockholm permalink
    October 17, 2012 2:19 am

    Mmm I realy feel for baking some cupcakes for my blog now!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:29 pm

      I hope you do!!

  3. October 17, 2012 4:21 am

    Two of my favourites put together!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:30 pm

      Yeah, mine too! I think maybe a cheesecake version next?…that’s the only thing that would top this for me :)

  4. October 17, 2012 7:05 am

    I love your photos. Very nice party recipe. Thank you.

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:30 pm

      Thank you so much!

  5. October 17, 2012 7:55 am

    I love the idea of the graham crumbs – really clever! Pretty photos too!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:31 pm

      Thank you! The graham cracker crust is crazy good!

  6. October 17, 2012 9:04 am

    Oh my, these look blissful! I am definitely adding these to my online recipe binder to try later :)

    Alli xx

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:31 pm

      Awesome! let me know how you like them! Enjoy!

  7. October 17, 2012 11:39 am

    These look amazing!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:32 pm

      Thank you!!

  8. October 17, 2012 12:43 pm

    Hi Paola! Evan is certainly lucky to have you around to make cupcakes for him!

    I was one of your Tom’s gift card winners this summer, and I just want to tell you how much I love my sunglasses. I always get compliments on them – thanks again :)

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:37 pm

      Ha! He sure is :) And you’re so welcome for the TOMS gift card! I’m so glad you won and ordered a pair of sunglasses! That means someone around the world will have their sight restored thanks to you!!! So cool!

  9. October 17, 2012 1:23 pm

    Ooooh…I will have to try!


    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:37 pm

      I hope you do, they’re delicious!

  10. October 17, 2012 4:08 pm

    These look phenomenal!

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:37 pm

      Thanks so much!

  11. October 17, 2012 8:27 pm

    MUST. MAKE. THESE!!!!! Omg! :)

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:38 pm

      Haha! YES.YOU. MUST!!! They’re super duper good! Enjoy!

  12. Mert Parsons permalink
    October 18, 2012 6:01 am

    Another fabulous Paola Creation! Happy Birthday to Evan — we’ll call him later. Love you, Mert

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:39 pm

      Thanks Mert!! Love you too! xoxo!

  13. October 21, 2012 2:04 am

    These look amazing; you now have me craving cupcakes and thinking of mojito flavoured cupcakes at 10am in the morning! :o)

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      October 24, 2012 8:41 pm

      Hey, there’s fruit in them…I think that makes these a breakfast food :)

  14. Vicky Mc permalink
    February 27, 2013 10:16 am

    Honey You and Anita Pelaez of The Key Lime Pie Factory in Asheville Should Get Together And Do Your Thing Together. We would love to eat your tasty treats. You Go Girls.


  15. Alicia permalink
    March 7, 2013 7:18 pm

    I made these for my book club and they turned out wonderfully! Thanks for the recipe! I’m definitely going to make them again.

  16. Lakshmi permalink
    March 30, 2013 9:50 pm


    These are nice, but I had some issues at the end. The batter was fluffy not creamy. any idea on what couldve gone wrong?

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      March 30, 2013 10:33 pm

      Hmmm, I really don’t know what could have gone wrong? Do you mean fluffy before baking? I’m sorry they didn’t turn out. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made this recipe, and it always turns out great. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the batter was over beaten??? So sorry! I hope you try it again, it really is one of our faves :)

  17. Angie permalink
    April 26, 2013 4:35 pm

    Hi, do you think it will turn out ok if I just hand-whisk the batter instead of using an electric mixer? I currently don’t have access to one…

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      April 26, 2013 4:51 pm

      Hi Angie! Yes, I think you can mix in a bowl just fine but make sure you sift your dry ingredients and mix the batter as smooth as you can get it. I think you’ll be fine :) happy baking!

  18. July 8, 2013 9:35 am

    Hi! Made this recipe a few weeks ago and it turned out great. Everyone loved it! I did adapt the frosting slightly to give it more of a lime flavor. I posted your recipe on my blog and linked back to you. Thanks!

  19. August 4, 2013 7:58 am


  20. erin permalink
    August 25, 2013 4:49 pm

    The actual cupcake was great, but I think something went wrong with the graham cracker crust. It stuck to the cupcake liner and not the cupcake. It was also very hard and inedible (very chewy if one decided to eat it). Any suggestions?

    • love and cupcakes permalink*
      August 26, 2013 12:01 am

      Hi Erin,

      It’s always so hard to answer this question. “I followed your recipe but it turned out….xyz” Unfortunately, I don’t know what went wrong since I wasn’t there watching how you made it. Presumably, if you followed my directions, it should have turned out fine but there’s always outside factors– quality of ingredients, oven temp variations, altitude (although not in this case), etc. I’ve made this very recipe literally over two dozen times and always have great results. I’ve had other readers tell me the same. The only thing I would suggest is to try it once more to truly see if the recipe is flawed or if maybe you may have overlooked something. I’m really sorry to hear that your cupcakes didn’t turn out well, this is one of my favorite cupcake recipes :( Sorry this answer wasn’t more helpful.

  21. Kelly G permalink
    March 12, 2016 4:14 pm

    These were incredible. I made them for a beach-themed wedding shower at work, and they were stunningly wonderful, from my co-workers to my 7 year old. The cake is somewhat dense, which is a good thing, because it ends up almost cheesecake like. I typically like a light fluffy cake, but the texture of the cake in this recipe, paired with the graham cracker crust is perfect. I had strangers approaching me to rave about cupcakes. Thank you so much for this recipe.


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