Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Tart lime cake soaked with lime syrup topped with cherry buttercream and garnished with a lime wedge and cherry make these cupcakes a sweet summer treat!

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes  | JavaCupcake.comAs soon as I saw the recipe for Cherry Limeade cupcakes on Annie’s Eats I was certain it would make it into the rotation sometime this summer.  I put the call out to my friends that I’d be making them this week and got a couple orders for these little summer goodies.

The recipe from Annie’s Eats was a pretty basic recipe, but I wanted to kick things up a bit and really bring out the lime flavor.  In the original recipe, they noted that most of the lime flavor came from the lime syrup that was drizzed on top, but I really wanted a punch of lime to come through in the cake itself.

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes  |

I zested two limes and pressed that into the sugar, bringing out the natural oils and flavors creating a lime sugar.  I also added the juice of the two limes into the batter.   I also added a bit more lime juice concentrate than the original recipe called for too.  🙂  And a few other tricks.

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes  | JavaCupcake.comI’m really happy with the intense lime flavor of these cupcakes.  Paired with the sweet cherry frosting, it’s a perfect summer treat!


Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Serves: 4 dozen cupcakes
  • 5¼ cups flour*
  • ¾ cup corn starch*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 10 oz can of limeade concentrate or lime margarita concentrate, thawed and at room temperature
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅓ cup hot water
*NOTE: This combo of corn starch and flour is to make cake flour. If you have cake flour on hand, use 6 cups of it.
    Cherry Buttercream
    • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 2 lbs powdered sugar, sifted
    • ¾ cup Maraschino cherry juice
    • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
    • ¼ tsp Wilton Christmas Red food color gel
    • Maraschino cherries, for garnish
    • Lime wedges, for garnish
    1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
    2. In a medium bowl, prepare the sugar by working the lime zest into sugar by pressing the back of a spatula down into sugar, thus releasing the oils from the zest into the sugar. This process should take about five minutes, and the sugar will become very fragrant. Set aside.
    3. In another large bowl, sift together the flour, corn starch, salt, baking powder and soda three times. You really want to make sure the corn starch is very incorporated into the flour. Set aside.
    4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the lime sugar and mix on high until light and fluffy.
    5. Add the entire can of limeade concentrate and lime juice. Mix until combined. Don't worry if it appears curdled... it's normal at this point!
    6. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
    7. In three parts, add the flour mixture. Between each addition of flour, add half the milk. Mix only until the flour is just combined.
    8. Add the hot water and mix by hand until incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX!
    9. Fill liners ⅔ full, or use an ice cream scoop to distribute one full scoop into each liner.
    10. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    11. Cool in pans for 5-10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
    12. Lime Syrup
    13. 1 10 oz can of lime juice concentrate or lime margarita concentrate, thawed
    14. 1 cup powdered sugar
    15. Whisk together the powdered sugar and thawed concentrate until all the sugar has dissolved into the concentrate.
    16. Once the cupcakes are cool cool, poke 7-10 holes in each cupcake with a toothpick. Drizzle a tablespoon of syrup over each cupcake, allowing it to soak into the cake.
    Cherry Buttercream
    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth.
    2. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, to the butter. Cream after each addition.
    3. After half the sugar has been added, add the cherry juice and mix until combined.
    4. Add enough whipping cream until you get your desired consistency, you may not need all of it, or you might want to add more.
    5. Mix in the coloring.
    6. After everything has been combined, mix on high for 30 seconds.
    7. Pipe onto cupcakes and top with a cherry and lime for garnish.
    Tips & Tricks - Lemon & Lime Sugar
    1. When using lemon or lime in a recipe, to really add a punch of flavor, zest the fruit into your sugar before creaming with the butter. By working the zest into the sugar, you'll create a fragrant sugar full of the oils and acids from the fruit creating an extra dimension of flavor to your cupcakes that will really make them stand out! I do this almost every time I use lemon or lime and it really creates an exceptional product! Good luck!

    39 thoughts on “Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

    1. What is the measurement for the corn starch? It just says 3/4 but not what that 3/4 is of. 3/4 of a cup would seem like a lot so I am unsure…3/4 tsp?

    2. I think these would be good with a batter that included Sprite or 7 Up. I think there would be a bit of tangyness and lightness as well as making the cupcake closer to the inspiration–Cherry Limeade.

    3. Where did you get your papers from? I love the pop from the green foil. Making them today anyhow, just curious for next time. Thanks 🙂

      1. I’m not sure where I got these ones…. but I usually just look on ETSY and find the best deal for the quantity. There are lots of people who sell liners on there!

        Let me know how they turn out for you!!


    4. I made these a couple of weeks ago for my husband to take to his new office. They were a HUGE hit!!! Super tasty and my daughter greatly appreciated the pink frosting 🙂

    5. I baked these cupcakes last night and am frosting them now. They taste wonderful but the end result is not what I expected. After they were baked, the cupcakes all pulled away from the cupcake papers. When I discovered this with the first batch (gorgeous designer papers from the UK) I thought possibly they were glassine coated and grease resistant but the box did not indicate that) so I switched to plain white Wilton cupcake papers and got the same awful results. This morning I am peeling away the papers and placing them in a fresh one. I used 2 TBSP of the cherry juice and 1/8 of a tsp of Washington cherry flavor, the color pink frosting is gorgeous, tastes delicious, and topped with a stemmed cherry and my Beatrix Potter cupcake piks I saved the day and they are very much presentable for my afternoon tea tomorrow. The only other problem I now have is that a hurricane is headed our way! Any suggestions on why the cupcakes separated from the papers? Thanks!

      1. The first thing I think of is how long did you leave them in the pan to cool before you removed them to a wire rack to cool? I often keep mine in the pan at least 5-10 minutes to set up. That really helps keep the liners in place and prevent them from pulling away.

        I’d also try reducing the amount of liquid you use or baking a little bit longer. They might be too moist.

        Sorry your liners weren’t working out for you!! 🙁

        Best of luck the next time you try them!!

        <3 Betsy

        1. Thanks for your suggestions. I did keep them in the pan until the next morning. The liners were pulling away the minute I took them out of the oven. The cupcakes were done in 15 minutes after checking with a toothpick. I appreciate your reply. The women loved them.

    6. I was browsing your blog for a recipe I could use next time I bake something, and this is ideal for a dessert for my next family reunion. I hope it’s really good but I’m sure they will be!! I made mint chocolate chip cupcakes this morning and they were great!! But I used milk instead of sour cream so that was my fault!!

    7. I made these today, soooo cute and delicious. I added a few drops of green food color to the cake batter because I didn’t have the green muffin liners and I think the contrast of the green and pink icing is key to the cuteness. Thanks for the recipe.

    8. I’m a little confused. Do you put the whole can of concentrate in the CAKE or in the Syrup? You say to use the whole can in the cake and then in the syrup. Do we have 2 cans of concentrate?

      1. Talia – Thanks for the question. Yes, two cans of concentrate! You will use the second can to make the lime syrup to drench the cupcakes in. We want a VERY VERY LIME cupcake!! 🙂

    9. These look so good! im planing on making these today, to give to my teachers and family. Hope the enjoy. Thanks for sharing the recipe

      1. You take a very fine grater (small holes) and run it along the outside of the lime. The outter green part is what you’re trying to get off… not the white pithy stuff under it.

      1. I’m not sure I would know how. I don’t usually make cakes. Possibly bake it in cake pans, drench in lime syrup and frost with the frosting? Let me know if you try it, I’d love to see how it’d turn out.

        1. I attempted the cake tonight and I am not sure what went wrong. I AM a total newbie to baking. The flavor was great but it was gooey, like a dough in the middle. I baked them a little longer and all that did was burn the edges. Too little flour? What do you think?

    10. Just want to double check the counter stability of the frosting…will it have to be refrigerated, or can it be left out on the counter?

    11. Hello!

      I am looking at trying your frosting recipe, and I was wondering how many you think you were able to frost with one batch of frosting. Thank you, they look great!

    12. I have never heard of using cornstarch , this much, am going to totally try this…so curious now just because of that…thank you, your recipes are always spot on:)

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