07/30/2012 03:23 pm ET | Updated Sep 29, 2012

Put The Lime In The Coconut

... you know the rest.

Have you ever heard about a dessert and even though you never actually tasted it, you can't get the idea of it out of your mind? These cupcakes are inspired by a wedding cake ... a wedding cake at a wedding I didn't attend. A coconut cake with lime filling between the layers ... see, now you want it, too.

Unable to shake the idea of this cake, I turned a coconut cake recipe into cupcakes and filled them with a thick, tangy key lime curd.

{Let me be upfront here; the cupcakes are made using a cake mix. I firmly believe there is a time and place for cake mix. This is one of them.}

The cupcakes themselves are soft and tender and contain two secret ingredients:

  • Cream of Coconut (find it in the "mixers" section of the grocery store
  • sour cream
Speaking of secret ingredients, feel free to use the bottled Key Lime juice for the curd if you can't find Key Limes, or just don't want to juice 75 tiny limes.

Also, you'll want to make the curd the day before the cupcakes so it can set up and get nice and thick.  You'll want to eat it by the spoonful.  Refrain.

Making filled cupcakes are much easier than you might think.  No need for fancy contraptions to pull out the middle.  No need to carve out the cupcakes at all.  Use an icing bag with a medium-sized tip, press into the cooled cupcake, squeeze, and voila!  Filled cupcakes.

Put the Lime in the Coconut Cupcakes

{makes 28-30} 


for the Key Lime curd:

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup Key Lime juice, fresh or bottled

4 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks

for the coconut cupcakes:
1 box white cake mix
1/4 c. oil
3 eggs
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
1 (15.5 oz) can cream of coconut

for the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5-6 cups powdered sugar
4 TBSP milk
Angel Flake coconut

Make the Key Lime curd: 
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk and sugar for one minute.  Whisk in the Key Lime juice until well combined.

Place the mixture over medium-low heat and whisk constantly until thickened, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, one chunk at a time until melted and incorporated.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Let cool slightly.  Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the curd and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Make the cupcakes:
Line 28-30 muffin cups with liners.  Preheat oven to 350.

With an electric mixer, mix all of the ingredients on low speed until combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.

Scoop into cupcake liners and bake 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly with a finger. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire racks.

Make the frosting:
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until softened and fluffy.  Add 5 cups of powdered sugar and the milk.  Beat on low until combined, then on medium until smooth and creamy.  If the frosting is too thin for spreading, add the remaining cup of powdered sugar.  Set aside.

Fit a pastry bag with a medium-size tip, such as a Wilton 4B star, and fill with the lime curd.  Press the tip into the cooled cupcakes and squeeze.  You'll see the cupcakes plump up...that's what you want.  Stop squeezing, remove the tip and repeat for the rest of the cupcakes.

{The lime curd will fill about 16-18 cupcakes; I like to leave some unfilled for people who are afraid of "curd."}

Top each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle on the coconut.

Serve immediately, or store the cupcakes in the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for several minutes before serving.
Wanna see the inside?  I know you do....

Can you see that Key Lime deliciousness peeking through?
The end.