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Graham Cupcakes with Key Lime Filling and Whipped Cream

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Serves 12-24 | Prep Time | Cook Time

Why I Love This Recipe

My friend Cara came up with the idea for a key lime pie cupcake sometime last summer. It stuck in my mind since and I always put it off for one reason or another. Limes weren’t in season, I had a new idea that pushed it to the side, it didn’t seem like the right time to try it out; excuses were always plenty and in reach.

I finally sat down to figure it out, and this cupcake put me through some trials let me tell you. The first attempt was basically a mini key lime pie more or less. While tasty, the graham cracker crust was soggy, and the pies ugly. It was a no go. The second attempt I decided to make a graham cake with a key lime filling. Sadly the graham was way too understated in flavor, and didn’t really have enough rise or fluffy texture. Still it seemed a step closer to what I wanted to accomplish.

The last attempt was well… wonderful. The feeling of accomplishment when something finally comes together is just so relieving, like a large weight being lifted that’s been pressing down upon you.

Honestly these are one of my favorites thus far, if not the favorite. No exaggeration. The graham cupcakes look dense but are light and fluffy with that distinct flavor of graham crackers you loved since childhood. The bilious mound of whipped cream wasn’t overly sweet and would get on your upper lip and the tip of your nose with each bite as whipped cream is should. The key lime filling was thick and custardy with a nice tangy zing that was subtle yet strong; it didn’t punch you in the mouth like a key lime pie would.

Easy, tasty, and fun to eat with friends. Really, it was the quintessential cupcake and one I plan to make again tonight.

Ingredients You'll Need

Graham Cupcakes:
1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Whipped Cream:
3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/3 – 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
Key Lime Filling:
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of key lime juice (about 20 key limes)
1 teaspoon of key lime zest


Graham Cupcakes: Beat the butter for about 30 seconds until well creamed. Add the sugar and mix for 3 minutes using a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to beat for 30 seconds for each egg.

Place graham crackers in a food processor or in a plastic bag and beat the crud out of them until it's been ground into small crumbs and powder.

Sift together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and powder, and salt. Add about 1/4 of the mixture to the butter mixture, then add some of the milk. Continue to add the ingrdients in adry-wet-dry method, ending with the dry. Continue to mix until just combined.

Scoop into cupcake papers and bake for 15-18 minutes in a 350 F oven or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Whipped Cream: Place together in a mixing bowl until big, billowy and holds very stiff peaks.

Key Lime Filling: Zest the key limes to get the 1 teaspoon first. Cut them all in half and juice them over a bowl with a little wire mesh strainer thing over it to catch any fruit or seeds. I suggest using a little wooden citrus juicer tool, or cut them in slices and juice them in a garlic press.

Seaparate the egg yolks and beat them like they owe you money. Pour in the citrus juice and sweetened condensed milk and wilk until smooth. Let chill for 10 minutes.

Take about 2 cups of the whipped cream you made earlier and fold in a little more than a third of the key lime mixture. Add more whipped cream or key lime mixture until you get a consistency and taste you want.

Cut a small cone shaped piece of cake out of each cupcake. Fill the cavity with the key lime whipped cream mixture (key lime curd). Cut the body of the cone off leaving just the cap of the cupcake. Replace it back on, on top of the curd. Dollop and spread remaining whipped cream and chill overnight. Serve.

NOTE: There will be a lot of key lime mixture left over. Bake it in a pie or tart pans or serve over ice cream, or do whatever sounds good.

ANOTHER NOTE: I have made this key lime filling a bajillion times for pies. You can either let it chill in the fridge or bake it, but I prefer the first. I know some people have a hardcore aversion to raw egg yolks (though the citric acid from the limes does cook it just fine), so if that be the case here is a link to a citrus curd recipe you can use in its place. It’s definitely more work, but it is a perfectly fine substitute if that’s the route you choose. Personally though, I say go with the one I provided above has no cooking it helps keep the some of the key limes’ tartness a bit more controlled and not overpower the cake.

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