Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Key Lime Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting~Cakewalker

What an honor and thrill it is for me to be able to introduce you to this next extraordinary baker and cook. 
He's a Dad, a husband, a foodie extraordinaire and an all around great guy. 
He is sharing one of his favorite baked treats with us today.
Everyone, please give a warm welcome to Brooks! 

Update: Brooks has decided to go into the baking business! He is no longer blogging in order to focus fully on his bakery. I wish him much success in his new path and I know he will be a major success in no time at all.  

As soon as I get updates on his store, I'll post it here. Stay tuned!


Guinea Pigs
I have a secret.

I’ve been flying under the radar and I kind of like it!

Many of us are either employed, or have significant others who are, and a requirement exists for the gainfully employed to show up at a formal workplace. Some workplaces can be bee hives of personalities and activity, others hardly buzz. But there’s one thing for sure, it almost always includes interaction of sorts with coworkers and sometimes the mingling is not necessarily all business.
Such is the case at my wife’s place of employment. There are several multi-story buildings clustered together on a lot where minions of white collar workers are housed in 2 or 3 of the buildings. Most of the floor space is divided up into classic cubicles. I think you get the picture. From my personal experiences, working in a space like this can be taxing on the staff at times. No wonder then, the “office party” was born to preserve camaraderie and a positive work environment. With the regularity of these events at my wife’s office, does it mean the environment there is less than cordial? Not necessarily.
Sometimes there are building-wide events, and other times there a smaller, more intimate group functions. Regardless of the number of attendees, I’ll bet you can figure what the common denominator is between all the occasions—food. And lots of it!

This is where I come in.
Mrs. W is so good about giving me opportunity to try a recipe or develop a new one as her food contribution to the get-together. She’s every bit the foodie I am, is a terrific cook in her own right, and she closely identifies with Ina Garten, but still, she gives me first crack at a dessert. Her reputation of signing up for desserts precedes her to the point it’s a quiet expectation by staff... She’ll take the dish in and she’s greeted with enthusiastic “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from her counterparts, all the while clearly stating who the maker is. 
Some colleagues know I bake.
I relish that the credit is mostly hers. You see, my reward is the unbiased feedback she reports—mainly from the unsuspecting. How wonderful to have a random audience at your fingertips to sample your new recipe or baked good, to get to the nitty gritty truth of how it’s received! These co-workers are, in effect, my guinea pigs. Thus far, there have not been any major issues, and if an adjustment or two was needed it’s usually been an easy fix!

I think I’ll keep flying under the radar for a while.
Only thing is, it’s no longer a secret!
Summer is upon us and soon the bright sunny flavors of citrus will take center stage! These delicious cupcakes did just that recently at Mrs. W’s company function. You guessed it, she wanted me to try this recipe she found online and I was only happy to grant her wish. My “guinea pigs” squealed with joy and the consensus says, “They’re a hit!” Spring these on your colleagues at the next office party or wherever you entertain…just don’t tell them they’re being test subjects.
Recipe: Makes 12 to 14 standard size cupcakes. Adapted from Jamie Nondorf courtesy of Food Network

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 rounded teaspoon fresh grated Key lime zest
1 ½ tablespoons fresh Key lime juice (bottled may be substituted)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups loosely packed sweetened, flaked coconut
5 ounces good quality white chocolate chips (or chopped from a bar)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice (may use bottled)
¼ cup sour cream
Green sanding sugar and lime jelly beans, for garnish  

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Turn to low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl down. Add the vanilla, zest and juice mixing well on low speed. 

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the creamed butter/sugar mixture—beginning and ending with the flour mixture; mixing on low speed until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bowl down. Fold the coconut into the cake batter.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners of your choice. Use a spring loaded ¼ cup ice cream scoop to fill each liner—this ensures uniformity (otherwise fill cups to slightly less than 2/3rds full). Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops just start to brown and the toothpick test comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a small heat proof bowl seated on a pot of simmering water, slowly melt the white chocolate until smooth and chunk-free. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla, lime juice, salt and sour cream; mix until very smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until incorporated.

Frost the cupcakes and garnish.

Notes: To help maximize the juicing process, roll the limes on a hard surface to help break up its flesh. Remember to zest the limes before cutting them for juicing. Fork tines stuck into the cut lime half, then twisted also helps to release the juice. Have a strainer ready the catch the seeds. In portioning the batter, draw your ¼ cup scoop up firmly against the side of the bowl to push out any excess measure. Swiping the sides of the scoop with a clean finger to clear it off helps to keep a neat “drop” into the cup. Start checking for doneness around the 21 minute mark. 

It has been an absolute  pleasure to visit with you here at Brandie’s place, where the company is fine and the hostess is warm and gracious. I adore Brandie and I have been a fan of hers  from the moment I first read The Country Cook. When she extended an invitation to guest post, I knew right away the RSVP would be a resounding YES! Thank you Brandie, for the kind hospitality and for making me feel right at home!

Are we all trying to lick our screens right now?

Yes, yes we are.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Brooks for sharing this incredible recipe today.
All I'm saying is I would love to be one of his wife's co-workers right now!

Special Mention: Brooks' recipe for his Red, White and Blueberry burger was just voted into the L.A. Times top 20 (his was #2!) Battle of the Burgers!
Such an amazing achievement! Congratulations Brooks!



  1. The cupcakes look incredible, and his Toy Story cake was absolutely unreal! What a talent! I'm sorry to say that while my desserts usually (but not always!) taste good, they NEVER look very presentable. Something to work on, and I'm feeling inspired now after checking out his blog!

    Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

  2. These cupcakes look so delicious. I like that you are the man behind the scenes and let your wife take credit. Haha!

  3. What a great guest post!

    I really love those cupcakes, I have to say that I have never had a lime cupcake. It looks spectacular!

  4. These look FABULOUS!!!! So bright and fresh looking:)

  5. I knew I'd be drooling at whatever Brooks prepared...and I'm certainly not disappointed with these amazing key lime cupcakes. Especially since white chocolate is involved...brilliant!

    Brandie, I'm following this???? LOL.

  6. What a wonderful post and visually beautiful. Enjoyed it.

  7. I would love to try these! Such pretty colorful pics!

  8. Wonderful choice for a guest post Brandie! I have been following Brooks' blog for a little while now and love reading the stories that accompany his recipes.

  9. Love getting to know all of these bloggers! These cupcakes look absolutely delicious! Great job :)

  10. These look wonderful! I was thinking of making Key Lime Pie this weekend for Father's Day, but now I am rethinking if I should do these cupcakes instead!

  11. Love all your sweet comments! Be sure to come back and let us know if you try them. I know they are guaranteed to be delicious.
    Lizzy-you are so funny, Mrs. Queen of all things Chocolate!

  12. Hi everybody! Brandie, you keep such fine company I just knew I was in for a wonderful time here...thank you all for the sweet messages. @Lizzy, a nice perk to this recipe is there may be leftover white chocolate...like the chef who adds wine to the pot and pours him/herself a glass, have at it! @Erin, do consider the cupcakes over the pie - they're a refreshingly delicious twist (if I don't mind saying so myself) and you can eat 'em with your hands! Who wouldn't like that?

  13. what a great guest post Brooks! Thanks Brandie for having Brooks over, he is such an amazing baker!
    I absolutely love lime and that frosting with the white chocolate was the perfect finish to those little beauties!
    Thanks for another winning recipe Brooks!

  14. I always love Cakewalker's recipes! These cupcakes look amazing and love the key lime and white chocolate combo. Great guest post!

  15. I am drooling on my computer screen as we speak.

  16. Oh Yummy i am stumbling and pinning this recipe!

  17. Wow! Lime and white chocolate, these would be delicious. Need to put limes on the shopping list.....

  18. Oh my Gosh! This is my first time here and I am loving my stay!!! Delicious recipes with gorgeous photos!

  19. A great guest post from Brooks Brandie and I absolutely love those cupcakes.
    :-) Mandy

  20. I just found your blog and I'm so glad I did. Your recipes look so delicious - and these cupcakes are the prettiest things.
    Mary - Im signing up to follow you!

  21. Those cupcakes are so beautiful!

  22. Brooks,
    Your story is too funny, flying under the radar. Those cupcakes look so divine. They have to be, because you made them. Great guest post.

    Another great guest blogger!

  23. Awww, thanks a bunch Becky and to everyone for the wonderful notes! The white chocolate with the lime in the frosting sings a beautiful two-part harmony. Even my 5-year-old who has a finicky palate in terms of things citrus (we'll be working on that) gobbled them right up! Thanks again for stopping by folks, and happy baking!

  24. Wow, first of all, what a delicious recipe, and what a great post. Love your idea of sharing other peoples blogs and recipes. Kudos to you for doing so and Kudos to a man in the kitchen! These cupcakes look incredible! What a great summer dessert. Thanks to both of you!

  25. I have key lime tree, thanks for the recipe!
    Great post!

  26. I have a bunch of leomons sitting in the kitchen. I might try using those instead of limes...i am sure cupcakes with those would also taste delightful.

    Like i said over at brook's blog... Great guest post! And thanks for having him over brandie :)

  27. those cupcakes look yummy! So does pretty much everything in your side bar! lol!

  28. I love the look of these cupcakes...I have been having a few disasters in the kitchen when it comes to baking...but I am inspired to try again, and this will be the perfect recipe to start wth. Thanks for a great post!

  29. This looks so good! Would you come over to my link party tomorrow and share your recipes with us at Cast Party Wednesday? http://www.ladybehindthecurtain.com
    I hope to see you there!

  30. Well Brooks, this is a zingy little number! I love them, my mouth is watering now. Plus beautiful picture of you and your son, what a treasure, glad I kept this post.

  31. These are just adorable...love the color :)

  32. What delicious looking cupcakes! Wow!!! I often send treats to my husband's work and now that he's away, I send them to my mother's work. Thanks for sharing this post and recipe. And thanks for introducing me to a great new site. Scrolling through this post, my eyes were often drawn to the pictures on the sidebar and must I say...YUM! I'm hungry and will be visiting The Country Cook often!

  33. I just made these cupcakes this morning and was wondering if you had the problem of the cake being a little too crumbly? Mine fell apart a bit when I cut into them, but the taste was amazing! I thought maybe it was a little too much shredded coconut that contributed? May try cream of coconut next time!


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