Key Lime Cupcakes

1 box lemon cake mix
1 box (4-serving size) lime-flavored gelatin
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup key lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 or 3 drops green food color, if desired

1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice

1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
grated lime peel, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.  In a large bowl, beat cake mix and gelatin with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds.  Add remaining cupcake ingredients.  Beat with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.

Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan to cooling rack.  With toothpick or wooden skewer, pierce tops of cupcakes in several places.

In small bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar and enough of the 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  Drizzle and spread glaze over cupcakes.  Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.  on low speed, beat in vanilla and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed; beat on medium speed until fluffy.  Frost cupcakes, mounding and swirling frosting in center.  Garnish with lime peel.  Store covered in refrigerator.

My notes:
These are quite possibly one of the best cupcakes I have ever put in my mouth.  They even rival those from specialty bakeries.  And, they were remarkably easy.  I can't wait to make them to take somewhere.

Yes, you really do beat the dry ingredients together.  After I did it, I understood why.  It really helps to get the gelatin fully incorporated before you add the wet ingredients.

I did not have, and husband couldn't find at the grocery store, key lime juice in a bottle.  I suggested fresh key limes, BUT he came home with one of those little lime shaped bottles of "reconstituted lime juice."  So, I had to make-do.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, here's what you can do.  Measure 6 tablespoons of the reconstituted lime juice into a 1/3 cup measuring cup and fill the remaining space up with water.  That will give you enough liquid and the taste works out fine.  On the glaze, use the same amount of the reconstituted lime juice as you would regular lime juice.

The recipe says you will have 24 cupcakes.  I got 26.  At the present time, there are only 8 left - I sent 10 to work with the hubby, 6 across the road to the neighbors and the girls and I shared a couple.  I could've eaten at least 2 by myself.

When piercing the cupcakes with a toothpick or skewer, the more holes, the bigger the wholes, the better.  You will want the glaze to run down inside the cupcakes.

I did not drizzle the glaze.  I used a baby spoon and each cupcake got at least a spoonful.  I dropped it in the middle and spread it around really well.  I LOVE lemon/lime stuff and I figure if a little's good, a lot's better.

I grated my lime peel and planned to garnish with it, but instead decided to stir the lime peal (the zest of 2 limes) into my frosting.  I think you can probably see it in one of the pics.  Turned out great.  These were definitely a home run in my book.  If you have a lime/lemon lover in your life, I guarantee these will be much appreciated.

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