4th of July holiday means a cookout somewhere, which means a little bit of baking is in order. The cover of a recent Southern Lady caught my eye with it's gorgeous cupcake wrappers. Although the wrappers were nixed due to time constraints (this time) the cupcakes within became the first baking project of the day ... but note, I doubled the recipe which explains the 5 sticks of butter, so not as bad as it might appear.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon key lime zest
Combine butter, sugar and zest in a large bowl and beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whisk together in a separate bowl.
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons key lime juice
Whisk together in a small bowl.
Beginning and ending with flour mixture, add flour and half-and-half mixtures alternately, blending well after each addition. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until the centers test done. Cool in pan for 5 minutes; remove and cool on wire rack.
When completely cool, carefully scoop out the center of each cupcake with a melon baller or teaspoon, and fill with the following:
1 - 3 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 - 10 oz jar lime curd
Beat cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and curd, mixing well.
Key Lime Buttercream Frosting: (I used this version instead of the one in the recipe)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used clear extract to keep the frosting white)
2 lbs. confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons key lime zest
Mix at low speed until thoroughly combined, adding more sugar if needed for stiffer consistency. Frost as generously as desired!