Lime Cupcakes with Prickly Pear Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoon chopped lime zest
Prickly Pear Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
5-9 teaspoons of prickly pear juice (2 prickly pears)
1/8 cup of milk
Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
Measure out milk and lime juice/zest together.
Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
Add about one third the milk/lime juice mixture and beat until combined.
Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want
flat or domed cupcakes).
Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Frosting: Prepare the prickly pears (go here to see how), puree the flesh, and push through a mesh strainer for the juice.
Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add half of the sugar.
Add the milk and the juice. Add more juice as desired for flavor.
Add the rest of the sugar. Add more sugar and/or juice as desired.
Pairs Well With
I have been itching to utilize both of these ingredients for some time. Limes are a staple in my kitchen, and prickly pears are just so new and unique in their color and taste. Really, I'm surprised they aren't used more often. I played with the idea of flavoring the cupcake with the pears, but the color kept turning icky after baking and the flavor was too muted. However, with the lime flavored cake it acted as a perfect counterpoint when used in a buttercream frosting.
The lime is a bit subtle, but let the cakes sit overnight to really let them show. The prickly pear has a unique taste. Wild, maybe slightly watermelony, but at the same time not at all. It tastes like prickly pear. That's the best I can do to describe it. Lime zest on top reinforces the flavor and - let's be honest - makes them so f*@*ing pretty. Admit it. The pink and green are visually awesome. The lime zest chunks don't need to be candied in my opinion, the frosting evens out the bitter bite of any pith, but you can if you want.
What upsets me though is that prickly pears simply aren't readily available, if available at all, to many places. I think that you could substitute a lot of flavors for the prickly pear though, such as mangoes or maybe something else with a fragrant-sweet flavor.
Tasty, cute, new and exotic. And they match my Cook for the Cure mixer. How can you go wrong?