Lime Cupcakes with Prickly Pear Frosting

Sunday, February 25, 2007

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?

Update 3/1/07: A few people suggested that using prickly pear jam could be used as a filling for this cupcake, and I tend to agree that that's a golden idea for next time.

Lime Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

What You'll Need...
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

What You'll Do...
1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and lime juice/zest together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/lime juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want
flat or domed cupcakes).
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Prickly Pear Frosting
What You'll Need...
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
lime zest

What You'll Do...
1) Prepare the prickly pears (go here to see how), puree the flesh, and push through a mesh strainer for the juice.
2) Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add half of the sugar.
3) Add the milk and the juice. Add more juice as desired for flavor.
4) Add the rest of the sugar. Add more sugar and/or juice as desired. Spread on cooled cupcakes and sprinkle on lime zest.


  1. Wow, those are some gorgeous colors. I've actually never had prickly pear. Although after what you mentioned about thousands of spines getting into your skin... I may try to stay away altogether =P

  2. The pink and green are visually awesome, dido. It really catches the eye, I am going to try this one. If I can get my hands on a Prickly Pear, hummm.

  3. I am adding that to my ever growing list of cupcakes to bake. Yum. So little time. So many to bake.

  4. You are right...they are absolutely pretty! :) I have even less hope of finding any prickly pears in my side of the world but a good friend gave me a bottle of prickly pear jelly...I can spread it on a cupcake a dream :)

  5. Love the combo of taste and visually as well, I agree the colors are sooo good together!

  6. This looks amazing! I am going to have to give this one a try!

  7. That is a gorgeous looking cupcake! i am impressed, but I knew you could pull it off! Rawk on!

  8. Great recipe! Although, I admit it made me crave a prickly pear margarita from out west! Lime and prickly pear are a fantastic combo. I'll have to give the cupcakes a try.

  9. what do you think about a splash of tequila in this recipe?

  10. proeats - I approve of tequila in all recipes. I think it might give a nice kick to the frosting. :)

  11. Just wanted to share that I recently made these Lime & Prickley Pear cupcakes and they were a HIT! I added much more than the 5-9t of Pear juice to get the right flavor. Just keep adding until the hint is just right!


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