Sunday, June 12, 2011

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Cupcakes

I can't quite remember when I first discovered the Cupcake Project blog but in the time that I've followed her "experimental cupcake blog" I've gotten tons of great ideas and even won two of her giveaways. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of hers as a result. She constantly pushes the boundaries of what you'd think can be done with ingredients and seems to have no fear when it comes to trying out crazy combinations and new ideas. And this month she hosted a contest encouraging the rest of us to come up with something new in the form of an ice cream cupcake. What better time of year to combine my two loves, ice cream and baked goods?

I tossed a few ideas around including turning my pretzel-stuffed banana, chocolate, and peanut butter cupcakes into an ice cream concoction but when I stumbled across a recipe for key lime pie ice cream on Pinterest the decision was made for me. Something about the sweltering heat we've been having lately calls for the tangy tartness of limes in a soothingly cool ice cream.

Although the idea of a key lime pie cupcake is hardly a novel one, I did my research to put together a recipe that combined the best elements: graham cracker base, cake with a flavorful kick from some lime zest, and a fluffy meringue-like frosting lightly toasted with the help of my handy blowtorch. Add in the tart key lime pie ice cream and I knew I had a recipe for success.

This was my first experience with this sort of meringue-based frosting and the recipe I chose did not disappoint! It whipped up beautifully into a saccharine marshmallowy cloud perfect for piling on top of the cupcakes and molding into fun shapes like this:

To make these ice cream cupcakes as easy to eat as possible, I went with the tried-and-true method of cutting out a cone and inserting the ice cream into each cupcake. I've seen other ice cream cupcakes with the ice cream sandwiched between two cake layers or on top in place of the frosting but this seemed the most efficient and neatest way to combine all of the elements and flavors. Considering how much of a mess my husband can make while eating I needed to find the least messy option here.

Not to toot my own horn but these are probably one of the top five best cupcakes I've ever made. I'm so glad I was challenged to make some ice cream cupcakes because as tasty as the cupcakes are on their own the added element of ice cream gives them another dimension of flavor and texture to complete the equation. All of the elements work perfectly together from the sweet, airy frosting to the tart, cool ice cream and the surprising crunch from the graham cracker crust. Absolutely delicious and, as I expected, a perfect treat for a hot summer day.

Note: No key limes were harmed in the making of these cupcakes. In other words, I was too cheap to splurge on the real deal and instead invested in a large bag of regular limes from my local produce market. They turned out wonderfully limey all the same but for authenticity feel free to substitute key lime juice.

Graham Cracker Crust
Recipe adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1) Prepare one muffin pan with paper liners.

2) In a food processor, blend together graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter. Pulse a few times. If it seems like it needs more butter add the remaining melted butter.

3) Distribute evenly among cupcake liners and press to form a shell using a spoon or your fingertips.

Lime Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
2 large eggs

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

3) Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.

4) Combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once. Add the lime zest and mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.

5) With the mixer running at low speed, add 1 egg. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Add the second egg, again beating for 30 seconds.

6) Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat briefly, just until smooth.

7) Scoop the batter by heaping 1/4-cupfuls into the prepared muffin tin. A muffin scoop works well here.

8) Bake the cupcakes for 23 to 25 minutes, until they've domed, and are a light golden brown around the edges. They'll spring back when pressed gently on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

9) Remove the cupcakes from the oven, cool in pan on a rack for ten minutes. Then remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on the rack.

10) Using the cone method cut a large cavity into each cooled cupcake.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Recipe from Good Life Eats

This recipe makes much more ice cream than you'll need for the cupcakes. If you really can't think of anything to do with the extra delicious ice cream you should quarter the recipe.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup lime juice (you can use bottled key lime juice)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Green food coloring (optional)
1/3 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers

1) In a large bowl, combine milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt, lime zest, sweetened condensed milk, and food coloring if desired. Whisk to combine.

2) Pour mixture into your ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir 1/3 cup graham crackers into ice cream.

3) Spoon enough ice cream into each cupcake to fill each cavity. Place in a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze cupcakes about 1 hour or until ice cream is firm. Spoon the extra ice cream into a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze.

Fluffy Seven-Minute Frosting
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

This recipe makes a generous amount of frosting so feel free to halve the recipe.

2 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sanding sugar (optional)
A servant to clean up the sticky dishes (optional but recommended)

1) Place the 2 egg whites in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until the egg whites are foamy and thick; they should mound in the bowl, without holding a peak. Set them aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.

2) Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; the sugar should be dissolved. If the sugar hasn't dissolved, cook and stir a bit more, until it has.

3) Begin to beat the egg whites, and immediately pour the boiling sugar syrup into the egg whites in a slow stream, beating all the while. As you beat, the mixture will thicken.

4) Once all the syrup is added, stir in the vanilla, and continue to beat until the frosting is thick and will hold a peak.

5) Spoon the hot frosting atop the cooled cupcakes, swirling it decoratively. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and lightly brown with a blowtorch.

The contest is hosted by both Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious so be sure to check them both out for delicious inspiration.


C&C Cakery said...

This is my favourite in the competition for sure. The graham cracker crust is seriously the best - even if the ice cream gets a bit melty, the bottom will still have some bite to it! Good luck in the contest!

Katie said...

Wow! These cupcakes are just beautiful. I love the idea of using Key Lime Ice Cream!

Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

Oh my gosh!!! WOWW!!!

Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

I put this on my Pinterest so I remember to make them! Good luck!

the cape on the corner said...

these must be good for you to say they're in the top five. you make a lot of cupcakes...and you selfishly get to devour them.

Mel J said...

They look and sound stunning. However I am put off making them as there are so many different stages and it looks fussy. Sounds like a fab combo though! x

Sourkraut said...

Thanks, everyone! Mel J, it really isn't much more complicated than your usual cake + filling + frosting cupcake. I just like to spell every step out so I know it looks like a lot but once you get started it's pretty easy. You could always substitute store-bought ice cream for the homemade version but even that doesn't take much effort other than waiting for your ice cream maker to do the work for you. But then I'm willing to put a little time into a really good baked good since I know I'll be rewarded with something yummy at the end so my definition of complicated might differ from yours.

B.Cheniful said...

These look AMAZING! I want one right now. NOW. :)

Lyuba @ Will Cook For Smiles said...

These sound amazing!! Thanks for sharing! Mmmm...mmm

Come see me at

Sara said...

These look SO yummy! I love that you even put a graham cracker crust on the bottom of the cupcakes...perfect pie in cake form! :) said...

Ok girl, these sound incredible and actually kinda hard too. There seems to be a lot of steps, lol. But gosh they sure do sound worth it. Tell me they are healthy, tell me, lol. You always have a way with pictures, and all your cupcakes make me drool!!!

Thanks so much for linking up to my party :)
I loved this so much, I featured you girl!
Come grab a button girl, and display it proudly!

Hugs, Bella **Features from week #41 & 42** @ Bella Before and After
**PARTY PLANNING TUESDAYS** @ Euro Style Cakes. Party planning tips, decorations, invitations, and recipes welcome to link up.

Anonymous said...

And now I must try. Looks so amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!