Friday, July 15, 2011

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes


Cherry Limeade makes Alicia happy
This weeks cupcake were inspired by two things.  First was the summer... and the ridiculously hot temperatures.  I wanted something light and refreshing.  The second inspiration came from the fact I was having dinner with my friend Alicia.   Alicia is obsessed with Sonic's Cherry Limeade and has frequently enjoyed multiple in a single vacation.  So after some obsessive googling (is that a verb?) and decisions I finally came up with a recipe I liked.

There were four major parts to this endeavor.  The first was obviously the actual cupcake.   When I was researching there were a lot of recipes to choose from.  Some had lime cake with cherry frosting, others had cherry cake with lime frosting.  I decided that I thought the lime cake was the way to go.   Well, when i first took the cake out of the oven and let them cool, I decided to taste them.  They were perfectly baked (not to toot my own horn...) so that the wrappers easily came off the cupcakes.    But the taste?  Kinda bland.  I was really nervous that it wouldn't have any flavor when it came down to the final product

Glaze catcher (picture taken later though)

The second step was creating the lime glaze.   I used a fondue fork to poke holes in the top to ensure that the lime glaze went in.  One mistake I made was not poking far enough down.  The glaze kind of pooled at the top of the cupcake so it almost seemed as if the cupcake was undercooked.   But it definitely added that extra flavor the cupcake so desperately needed.  My newest goal in the kitchen is to limit the "mess".  I find that I'll make one batch of cupcakes and the whole kitchen will end up a disaster and I'm too tired to clean up.  One tip to avoid the mess would be to put a baking sheet under the rack when you are glazing the cupcakes so that the stickiness is confined to something that can be thrown in the dishwasher.   It's also helpful if you're using sprinkles.

The next step was the icing. The recipe called for  4 Tablespoons of the juice from a container of maraschino cherries.  I ended up using ALL the juice.  In retrospect I think I used too much powdered sugar and therefore had to use more juice to get to the right flavor.  I have modified the recipe below to acknowledge that.

The final part was the decorations, which was definitely my favorite.  Normally I really don't care about that part, but I really wanted them to be cute.  I started with the cherries I was going to put on top.  From my experience as a science teacher, I knew that the sugar in the icing would cause the juice of the cherry to diffuse out if i broke the skin where it touched the cupcake   I also knew that the overall visual appeal of the cupcake would be diminished if the cherries were not "washed" of the extra fluid.    So i set up a way to make sure i didn't break the cherries and also got them clean.  First I put the cherries in a colander to drain the juice.  I put a glass bowl under the colander so I could save the juice for the icing.   Then I removed the glass bowl and ran the cherries under water (lightly!).  I then placed them on a paper towel covered plate and blotted them dry. 

For the final piece of decoration, I cut up regular kitchen straws.  I cut them right below the "bendy part" and then in half.  I think it really made them look like a drink.

Kerrington (and her mom Courtney) enjoying a cupcake at book club
Overall, I think the flavor was good and people enjoyed them.  I would definitely tweak the icing to be less sweet, but the sweet icing was a great compliment to the tangy cupcake.   The cupcakes were quite limey so they were not good for those people with heart burn!  My friends also taught me that you can suck the cake out through the straw... which was quite funny since we were at IHOP when this was going on.   Also Kerrington demonstrated how the straw can be used as a utensil to eat her cupcake.      Hopefully Alicia enjoyed them as well!

Finished product

3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. limeade concentrate
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
  2. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.  
  3. In a medium bowl combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Whisk all of these together.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth.  
  5. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed.  
  6. Add in the limeade concentrate and mix to incorporate.  
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. 
  8. Add in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  
  9. Mix ingredients just long enough to incorporate but no longer.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
Lime Glaze
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Whisk together the limeade and sugar until the sugar is dissolved

1-1/4 sticks butter
3 Tablespoons shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
6-10 (or more) Tablespoons juice from the jar of Maraschino cherries

  1. Cream together sugar and shortening
  2. Add in powdered sugar on low speed, one cup at a time
  3. Add in cherry juice one tablespoon at a time until the desired flavor is reached 
1.  After cupcakes have baked and cooled partly in the pan, place them on a wire rack to finish cooling
2. Once completely cooled, poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes (I would make them about 1/3 of the way into the cupcake).
3. Put a baking sheet under the rack.  Spread the glaze evenly over the cupcakes using a pastry brush
4.  Once the glaze has been absorbed, ice the cupcakes using your favorite tip.   
5. Decorate with a cherry (that has been washed of juice) and a straw.

Recipe inspired and adapted from
Cherry Limeade Cupcakes from Annie's Eats


  1. Those of us heartburn sufferers appreciated the limey warning! I was bummed I couldn't taste them.

  2. Kerrington definitely didn't have heartburn and LOVED the straw decor!!! Thanks Michelle!!