When citrus is in season, I do a lot of baking with lemons, but lemons aren’t the only citrus out there and I think limes don’t get used as much as they could be. Limes have a bold, tart flavor to them that makes them a lot of fun to bake with, because even a small amount of lime can have a noticeable impact on a recipe. These Vanilla and Lime Marble Cupcakes have a swirl of zesty lime in the batter that makes the cupcakes bright and perfect for the springtime, without being overwhelmingly lime flavored. They’re moist, fluffy and well-balanced – so they should be a hit with anyone who loves a good cupcake, as well as citrus fans.
The base for these cupcakes is a simple vanilla buttermilk cupcake recipe that is one of my favorites. After making the batter, I took out a portion and added lime zest and a little green food coloring to it, to make sure that you could see – as well as taste – the difference between the two flavors of cupcake batter (and because St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner). The lime is bright and a nice contrast to the mellower vanilla cake, and the cupcakes look very fun with a bright green streak running right through them! I used a vanilla buttercream that I also swirled with a little bit of green to top the cupcakes, but didn’t add lime to the frosting so that the lime in the cupcakes would stand out on its own (although lime-lovers could certainly add some lime zest to the frosting as well!).
To marble two batters together, whether you are using two colors or two different flavors, is to first layer them in your pan and then give them a little swirl with a knife. Layering the batters gives you a nice distribution of color/flavor and a gentle swirl will create a nice pattern. Don’t swirl too aggressively or the colors will become muddled. You could also use this recipe with the Wilton Two Tone Cupcake inserts, which give you a fun way to separate colors and is what I used here (full review coming soon).
Vanilla and Lime Marble Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp lime zest
1/4 tsp green food coloring
1/2 tsp lime extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract until mixture is smooth.
Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Transfer 1 heaping cup of batter into a small bowl. Add lime zest, green food coloring and lime extract, if using. Stir well.
Add a small amount of vanilla batter to each muffin cup. Add a dollop of green on top, then top with remaining vanilla batter. Each cup should be roughly 3/4 full. Swirl each gently with a knife.
Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Turn the cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tbsp milk
2- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
green food coloring
In a medium bowl, beat the butter until soft. Scrape in half of a vanilla bean (or add vanilla extract) and add milk and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until frosting is light and creamy. If it is too thick, add a small amount of milk to thin it out.
Divide frosting in half and add green food coloring to a portion of it. Stir until color is completely incorporated.
Add both vanilla and green frostings to a piping bag (or a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off), putting them next to eachother with a spatula. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes for a swirled look.