As the story goes, for one of the Topped Chef challenges, the reality TV contestants must produce a signature wedding cocktail and dessert. Henri Stentzel chose
Lime Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese frosting. Here's how she did it:
Henri paused for a breath and seemed to assess her audience. Behind her, Peter pretended to fall asleep. Chef Adam looked positively catatonic. Henri smiled brightly and made eye contact with Toby.
“For the wedding cake, I’ve chosen to spotlight key lime cupcakes: They are light, they are lovely, they sidestep the saccharine sweetness and staleness of so many wedding desserts.”
Cupcakes. Now she’d caught my interest.
She opened a white bakery box, placed miniature cupcakes on three plates, and delivered them to us. I nibbled at mine—the cream cheese icing had flecks of lime zest in it, as did the pale green cake. Utterly delicious.
This began as a recipe from Buttersweet Bakery on Bon Appetit but Hayley tweaked it to be less sweet, with fewer ingredients, and no food coloring. They are so light and delicious and they freeze beautifully! (As I found out when I had the date wrong for a potluck party and arrived two weeks early. Can you imagine the look of surprise on the hostess's face?)
Ingredients for Cupcakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 and ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice (2-3 limes, depending on size)*
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
¾ cup buttermilkTo make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake/muffin pan with paper liners. Sift first four ingredients together in a medium bowl. In another large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the lime juice and lime peel. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in three stages.
Divide the batter between twelve cupcake liners. Bake 20-25 minutes. (Mine took 22 minutes—check with a toothpick to see if they are done. And don’t over cook or they will come out dry!) Cool ten minutes and then remove from the pan and cool completely.
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel (zest of about 2 limes, depending on size)
½ tsp. vanillaBeat all the ingredients together until soft. Then frost the cupcakes—this is a very generous helping of rich icing. If you like less frosting, you can reduce the amount of cream cheese and butter, or freeze the excess for another use. Refrigerate the frosted cupcakes if not serving immediately, but then serve at room temperature.
*Note about squeezing limes or lemons: Did you know that the jaw is one of the strongest parts of the body? If you are willing to taste the tartness of the lime/lemon skins, the most effective way to squeeze juice out of a fruit is to cut it in half and chomp down—juice will release into bowl.
**I made these with regular limes, but I bet they'd be even better with Key limes!
In case you haven't already gotten your copy, TOPPED CHEF can be found wherever books are sold.
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