Lima Colada Cupcakes

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on May 2, 2011

in Baking, dessert

I began my love affair with cupcakes about a year ago with a spring break project that went wonderfully right. Coconut cupcakes with key lime buttercream were the beginning of something that then snowballed into a full-blown obsession love affair complete with paraphernalia, souvenirs, and requests for cupcakes all over the place.

I can’t say I object.

I really and truly love making cupcakes. I love how cute they are. I love how bringing them into a room of people just makes them smile, makes little kids go “YAY! CUPCAKES!” and how they’re perfect bites of cake and frosting in (what I think) is a perfect ratio.

This past weekend, I went back to the beginning of the affair.


Yup. Limes. I absolutely love limes, and wanted to feature them in something more than just the buttercream atop a cupcake. And so, Lima Colada (pronounced lee-mah coh-lah-dah) cupcakes were born.

It’s funny how these are full-circle from my first cupcakes, because they couldn’t be more different. The first cupcakes were delicious, but I followed a recipe to a “T” and really had no idea what I was doing. These? These were a recipe created from my own head (and a little bit of help from Cook’s Illustrated for technique).


They were, according to many people, worth every calorie in them.

The frosting was simple. I just used the “Best Buttercream Ever” and substituted coconut milk for the regular and mixed in about half a cup of coconut shreds. Oh, and substituted almond extract for vanilla.

The cake though… the cake took effort, and a lot of trial and error. But I don’t say this lightly: these were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made, hands down.

Lime Pound Cake Cupcakes

Makes 15 cupcakes or one loaf pan


  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt


Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.

Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, and then whisk the warm butter so no milk solids remain (thanks Cook’s Illustrated for this technique!) Mix the melted butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until the sugar is well-dissolved. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the lime juice. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk in 3 additions. Mix until just combined, then scoop into lined cupcake tins or one 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes for cupcakes, 45-50 minutes for a loaf pan. Allow to cool completely then frost. Or not.


I loved how cheerful these looked, and the adorable papers didn’t hurt either…


Finally, I decorated them all for presentation with some shredded coconut.


I’m really wishing I hadn’t given the leftovers away.

And even though they’re not vegan, these are posted today with a big HAP-PEA BIRTHDAY to my friend Mama Pea!!! Love you!



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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Kath May 2, 2011 at 9:22 PM

GORGEOUS photos!! Love the RED!
Kath´s last blog post ..Oh My Peas


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Thanks Kath! These are my favorite wrappers :)


Blog is the New Black May 2, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Wow,these look wonderful! Gorgeous decorating job!
Blog is the New Black´s last blog post ..Coconut Chicken Tenders


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Thank you!!!!


Britney May 2, 2011 at 9:24 PM

I have never made cupcakes but I think I have to try making this (well get the husband to make them as he is the baker lol).

They look so yummy!!
Britney´s last blog post ..I like lists


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Thank you!!! Let me know what you think :)


VeggieGirl May 2, 2011 at 9:26 PM

I gotta make these for my dad – he LOVES Key Lime-esque treats!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2011 at 10:01 PM



Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat May 2, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Yum I love lime- these look delish. Beautiful photos as always!
Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat´s last blog post ..Matzah Brei with Lox and Schmear


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Thanks Amy!


Holly May 2, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Oh.My. I might need to make these ASAP. I love lime too! (And thanks for the earworm about the putting the Lime in the Coconut….)


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Yeah, sorry about that ;)
You could make these gluten free very easily, by the way!!


Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle May 2, 2011 at 10:46 PM

omg those cupcakes look soooo perfect for summer time!!!
Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle´s last blog post ..23- Perky and Ruthless


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 3, 2011 at 6:17 AM

That’s my thought too :) MIght need to make them with lemon at some point…


Christina May 3, 2011 at 1:31 AM

Oh yum, these look so delicious. I love when Rick Bayless makes Limanada desserts, I bet he’d appreciate these too! J and I are also big fans of lime – I’ll have to make these!
Christina´s last blog post ..I met Ree!!!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 3, 2011 at 6:17 AM

OMG now I want to make these with Rick Bayless’ Limonada!


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is May 3, 2011 at 5:48 AM

These cupcakes sound incredible Mara!
Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog post ..How I Roast A Chicken


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 3, 2011 at 6:17 AM

Thanks Jess! I told you the frosting worked with coconut milk :)


Melissa Bakes May 3, 2011 at 6:29 AM

These look awesome! I love your photos too!!
Melissa Bakes´s last blog post ..Strawberry Spinach Salad


natalie (the sweets life) May 3, 2011 at 8:16 AM

These are so gorgeous and spring-like (maybe it will bring some spring-like weather?!)…totally keeping this cupcake flavor in mind next time a craving strikes!
natalie (the sweets life)´s last blog post ..Lemon Bars


Roz May 3, 2011 at 12:30 PM

OH Mara, you’ve outdone yourself again!!! These look fantastic. LOVE the wrappers!!!! Wish I could reach through my monitor and help myself to one! Have a great day.
Roz´s last blog post ..This post is a quickie!


Deborah May 3, 2011 at 2:02 PM

I’m a citrus lover, and these sound amazing!


Julia May 4, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Hi I just discovered your blog today and I’m already hooked. These look amazing (I love lime)!
Julia´s last blog post ..Меня зовут Юля My name is Julia


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 4, 2011 at 6:28 AM

Thanks for stopping by!!


Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) May 4, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Hi! I just found your blog and I love it. Everything looks so delicious, those cupcakes look amazing :) Will definitely be reading!


Kathryn May 25, 2011 at 7:42 AM

Thanks so much for linking your delicious cupcake recipe up at Muffin (and Cupcake) Monday. These make me smile!


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