Light, fluffy and packed with key lime flavor! These Key lime cupcakes are crowned with a tangy buttercream and have a delicious vanilla filling – so good!
Key Lime Cupcakes with Filling
Sweet, tangy, zesty – these key lime cupcakes are sublime! Buttercream frosting atop a fluffy filled cupcake, crowned with a slice of lime – gorgeous and delicious. Perfect for birthdays, dessert, summer parties – any time you want a bit of zesty joy in your life!
Why You’ll Love this Key Lime Recipe:
- A Delicious Filling: Each cupcake has a luscious vanilla pudding center.
- Key Lime Buttercream: The frosting, made with buttercream, lime zest and lime juice – it has that wonderful key lime kick.
- A Crunchy Topping: The frosting is topped with crushed vanilla wafers, for a lovely mix of textures in every bite!
How to Make Key Lime Cupcakes
Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!
- Mix your wet and dry ingredients separately then incorporate them to make the batter.
- Fill your cupcake liners with the batter and bake.
- Make your vanilla pudding according to the package instructions.
- Mix all your buttercream ingredients in a stand mixer.
- Pipe your vanilla filling into the hollowed-out cupcakes.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes.
- Coat the buttercream with the crushed vanilla wafers.
- Serve and enjoy!
Key limes are smaller and have a more intense, floral flavor than regular limes. Fortunately, for these cupcakes, you can use either regular limes or key limes.
Yes! Use your favorite 1:1 gluten free flour, such as Cup4Cup, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, or King Arthur Baking Company’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour, and replace the vanilla wafers with gluten free vanilla wafers.
If you don’t have any shortening on hand, you can replace it with an equal amount of unsalted butter.
If your cupcakes are crumbly or even rubbery, you may have over-mixed them. Take care to only mix the batter as much as necessary to avoid developing too much gluten, which causes the crumbly texture.
Moist, fluffy, and packed with flavor, these sweet and zesty cupcakes are as tasty as they are gorgeous!
Perfect for summer parties and BBQs, these little beauties can be whipped up ahead of time – and you can double up to make a bigger batch!
Make Ahead Instructions
These key lime cupcakes are make-ahead friendly. Make the cupcakes and pudding up to 3 days in advance, then fill and frost the cupcakes the day you intend to serve them.
Store leftover key lime cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
These key lime cupcakes are already indulgent, but to take things up a notch, try these swaps:
- Limes: This recipe calls for key limes, but you can use bottled key lime juice or Persian limes instead.
- Pudding: Swap the vanilla pudding for cheesecake pudding or white chocolate pudding.
- Topping: Top these cupcakes with crumbled graham crackers instead of vanilla wafers
- Garnish: Take the garnish to the next level by candying the limes. To candy lime slices, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer the limes for 15-20 minutes, then let dry completely on a cooling rack, about 1 hour.
Hosting a backyard BBQ for a crowd? Double all ingredients to make a batch of 24 cupcakes.
With all the flavors and textures of a key lime pie, these key lime cupcakes will become a firm favorite any time of the year. Vanilla and lime combine in the most delicious bundles of yumminess – pure sunshine in a cupcake!
If you make this recipe be sure to leave us a comment or rating. Enjoy!
Key Lime Cupcakes Recipe
For the Cupcakes
- ¼ cup unsalted butter 57 grams (½ stick)
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening 46 grams
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar 133 grams
- 3 egg whites 105 grams
- ¼ cup key lime juice 57 grams
- 4 teaspoons lime zest 8 grams, from 2 limes
- 5 tablespoons milk 71 grams
- 1⅔ cups flour 200 grams
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder 6 grams
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 grams
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
For the Filling
- 3.4 ounces instant vanilla pudding 96 grams (1 standard box)
- 2 cups milk 454 grams
For the Buttercream
- 1 cup unsalted butter 226 grams, room temperature (2 sticks)
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening 46 grams
- 4½ cups powdered sugar 509 grams
- 2 teaspoons key lime juice 9 grams
- 2 teaspoons lime zest 4 grams, from 1 lime
For the Topping
- ¼ cup crushed vanilla wafers 36 grams
- 12 lime slices from 1 lime
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes.¼ cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup vegetable shortening, ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Add in the egg whites, lime juice, and milk and beat together.3 egg whites, ¼ cup key lime juice, 5 tablespoons milk
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.1⅔ cups flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Add the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir just until the flour is incorporated. Add in the lime zest and stir.
- Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full of batter.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Once baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
- Make the vanilla pudding according to the box directions. Once the pudding has set, spoon into a piping bag and cut the tip off to make a roughly a dime-sized opening. Set aside.3.4 ounces instant vanilla pudding, 2 cups milk
- To make the buttercream, place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes or until a creamy buttercream has formed. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip ¾ full with frosting and set aside.1 cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup vegetable shortening, 4½ cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons key lime juice, 2 teaspoons lime zest
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a piping tip to hollow out the center of each cupcake. Press the large end of the piping tip down into the cupcake until the small end sits almost flush with the top of the cupcake. Wiggle the piping tip around and remove it from the cupcake. Run a toothpick around the inside of the piping tip to remove the cupcake piece and place into a bowl to use later.
- Once all of the cupcakes are hollowed out, pipe the vanilla pudding into the holes in the cupcakes. Replace the piece of cupcake that was removed and press down to keep the pudding in place.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the top of the cupcakes into the shape that you desire. Either roll the cupcake in the crushed vanilla wafers or, using your hands, scoop crushed vanilla wafers and press into the sides of the buttercream on the cupcake. Top each cupcake with a lime slice.¼ cup crushed vanilla wafers, 12 lime slices
- This recipe calls for key limes, but you can use bottled key lime juice or Persian limes instead.
- Feel free to swap the vanilla pudding for cheesecake pudding or white chocolate pudding.
- Top these cupcakes with crumbled graham crackers instead of vanilla wafers
- Take the garnish to the next level by candying the limes. To candy lime slices, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer the limes for 15-20 minutes, then let dry completely on a cooling rack, about 1 hour.
- Hosting a backyard BBQ for a crowd? Double all ingredients to make a batch of 24 cupcakes.