I went and bought one of those Wilton beginner’s kits for frosting cup cakes and generally for making a nuisance of myself with said frosting. I’ve looked a lot at piping bags and the tips that tip them and make all kinds of purty shapes on top of cakes, but I. Finally. Actually. Bought me some. I know what’s going to happen now. More piping tips shall be purchased. The kitchen, and soon the entire land, will be clothed in cake and my happy self will just blithely frost and pipe and tip cupcakes and all the other cake things. Oh yes. This is fun stuff.
Did you know that from-scratch cake recipes are really pretty easy? Yeah, we’ve made a few here before, and we’ve used some boxed stuff at times, but the actual work of making these cupcakes was easy.
That’s not to say it’s not tiring. Cuz it is. I’d also recommend doing some hand-strengthening exercises if you’re not used to piping frosting. Mine is still a little sore! And the time, it does take time. But c’mon, again, it’s fun stuff. Fun stuff is worth it.
Know who else had fun? Our Infrequent Miniature Cooking Assistant! Normally this kiddo is all about helping us, but as soon as the work starts, she’s on to greener, more cartoon-oriented and HD-formatted pastures. This time, she stuck around and added flour and sugar, and frosted and licked frosting. Well, we all licked the frosting. No frosting was left behind!
When your limes have been zested (best to just go ahead and do them all, it’ll not go to waste here), juice the stew out of these tantalizing vixens. Yes, that’s right. Limes tantalize and they definitely are vixens. They’re a little tricky though because every once in a while I’ll get one that has almost no juice in it, and yes, we roll them on the cutting board prior to slicing in half. Get a couple of extra limes in case this happens to you. You can always use them later as a garnish for stir fry or some other such goodness.
I love how velvety and pillowy cake batter gets. Also lickable. Quite. This is the Infrequent Miniature Cooking Assistant’s photo, by the way. Yeah, she was all into it that day. Time for a little Proud Parent beaming.
Where further practice will do us well – and a perfect excuse to make more cake – is how much do you fill these little mofos with, anyway? We tried two-thirds full, up to the tops of the liners, slightly overfilled…and the results were mixed. The ones that were pretty much up to the tops of the liners seemed to come out more domed, which is what I personally prefer when also frosting them later, so you can see the cake under the frosting.
It’s best to plan to practice a little. Try baking just a few first and see what results you get. What you usually want to avoid are ones that get the muffin top effect, where the cupcake has little flat-ish love handles. These, however, are perfect for practicing your piping technique with the frosting. And then eating.
To frost with a basic round tip (this was the #12 round tip from our Wilton kit, smaller than the 2A I went looking for but actually worked perfectly), start anywhere on the edge of the cupcake, but slightly in so you can still see the cake, especially if you went to all the trouble to make it such a splendid green color. Following the cupcake’s shape, just scoot that piping tip around.
When you get to the point you started at, keep going, but take the line of frosting slightly inward.
Our minis needed about three frosting levels, all of them going slightly more inward each time, to get to the end point.
When you’re ready to, in essence, do your dismount from this delectable little frosting mountain, and this is important, press down in the center slightly, release the pressure from your bag of frosting and lift up. You’ll get a cute little mountain tip for your efforts. If this doesn’t happen the first or second or third time, just keep practicing. We even wiped the frosting back into the bowl with some of ours and tried, tried and tried again.
I also recommend looking up some cupcake frosting tutorials on YouTube. I couldn’t tell you exactly which ones I learned from now, but that’s where I found lots of helpful advice and, of course, great visuals to guide me.
If you love baking, but have yet to try making cupcakes or mini cupcakes from scratch, then frosting them with some cool little piping tips, don’t wait any more. Run to your nearest crafts or baking store, then the grocery store and zoom back around to your kitchen. These were so much fun to do. We were tired baking pups afterward, it’s true, but, again, totally worth it for all the fun it was.
Not only that – but these things tasted wonderful! The lime juice amount was perfect, we got just the right amount of lime flavor, and the cream cheese icing is killer. Word to the baking wise – we doubled our frosting when we realized, probably due to the size of our mini muffin pans, that we were going to make a ton more cupcakes than the source post we used got. This was fine by us. More frosting to practice with! And lick!
Mini Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: about 15-20 minutes per cupcake pan Cool Time: about 30 minutes – 1 hour Level: Easy Makes: Depends entirely on your mini muffin pans (we got around 70-80!!)
For the cupcakes:
- 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2-1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lime peel
- 1/2 teaspoon neon-green food coloring (found in the baking aisle of grocery store)
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
For the frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 T. finely grated lime peel
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth (we used our stand mixer for this part). Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then the lime juice, lime peel, and food coloring. Batter may look curdled, this is normal for most cake batters at this stage. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 additions, letting each addition just mix in before adding the next. Spoon batter into liners (how much depends on the size of you mini cupcake/muffin pans; we advise experimenting with a few first, baking them and seeing how they turn out). Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Baking times will vary with pans being different sizes, so make sure to pay close attention. Cool completely, about 30 minutes to an hour.
To make the frosting:
Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth (again using our stand mixer and the whisk attachment). Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes (if piping, you might want to get a tip like we mention above and maybe the next size up to see which you prefer), or spread it on with a knife. Optional: sprinkle a little fresh lime zest over tops.
Can’t say it enough if you’re like us and are beginner cupcake/frosting piping people – practice and check out YouTube for advice and video tutorials. Don’t despair if some of your wittle cakes come out wonky. Use those to practice piping frosting. And then eat, of course. Where else are you going to get the chance to goof up and still appreciate how tasty a goof up can be?
Our cupcakes were literally about two bites, which kind of give you an idea of their size. Again, you can use different pans and get different size results, and therefore, differing amounts of cupcakes.