Key Lime Blackberry Swirl Cupcakes

As the rest of the food world in the northern hemisphere is beginning to notice the gold and amber in leaves, refreshing dampness in the air, and hope to soon realize their desires for large pots of savory delicacies or comforting treats made of apples and cinnamon, I’ve decided that a bit of lime and blackberries are in order.  After all, the southern hemisphere is just now packing away flannels and sweaters, perhaps wanting bright flavors that conjure a dreamy afternoon spent in a place perfect to accomplish not much of anything.  I wouldn’t mind that about now, sitting here with slippers and a sweater wrapped about myself, our windows snapped shut earlier than I can remember in years. October will be here in a couple of weeks, and still the warm fall days I expected to make up for a summer that never really was, have still not arrived.  The air here is damp as well, and the salt-tinged breezes blowing in from the ocean tend to be brisk, making my evening walks a good time to breathe deeply, taking it all in.  It’s good weather for taking stock, and thinking about what might be if one can put her mind to it — always a good thing.

Some would say cupcakes are always a good thing as well, but I’m not sure I agree, not completely understanding the semi-maniacal swoon inducing craze  over what amounts to a bite or two of cake.  A sometimes too precious thing that, if you’re not careful, will land frosting side down when you least want it to, spoiling the perfect swirl of creaminess that, when the first big bite is taken, often ends up in your nose.

Not exactly precious, but definitely hilarious.  A redeeming quality.

Key Lime Blackberry Swirl Cupcakes


2 c. all-purpose flour

1-1/4 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 c. butter

1-1/4 c. sugar

2 lg. eggs

2-1/2 T key lime juice

1 T lime zest

3/4 c. buttermilk

seedless blackberry jam*

For the frosting…

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1-1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 T lime zest

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard 12-cup muffin pan
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating each until well-blended.  Add the zest and mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, the final third of flour being added last.  Mix well.
  3. Fill each paper cup with about 1/3 cup of batter.  Spoon about 1 T of blackberry jam in the center of each, and with a wooden skewer, swirl it into the batter.
  4. Bake until tops are golden and centers set, about 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool briefly in the pan before removing cups to cool completely on a baking rack.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by adding all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and beating on medium speed until light and fluffy.  When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost and decorate if desired.


  • This recipe was adapted from one published in the September 2008 issue of Bon Appetit that was very popular, appearing on the cover and sporting a very green color.  I decided blackberry jam wouldn’t look especially appetizing with a day-glo green happing around it, so no green.
  • Fresh blackberries were pretty pricey when I made these back in April, so I used a high quality jam instead.  We’re getting blackberries from Oregon right now and they’re fairly inexpensive.  If you want to make a quick jam to fill these cupcakes, you can use your microwave and a Beatrice Ojakangas recipe I’ve tried quite a few times and used to fill one of my Danish Braids (which are perfect for fall weather, by the way).  Take 2 cups of berries and mash them in a large bowl or pyrex measuring cup safe for microwave use.  The mixture will bubble up quite a bit when it cooks, so the large bowl is important.  Stir in 1 cup of sugar and microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Remove it, stir well, then microwave again for about 5 minutes, or until nearly all the liquid is gone, and the mixture is glossy.  Add 1-2 T fresh lemon juice and stir well. Cool to room temperature before sealing and chilling.  Use it as you would any jam.  Quick and easy!
  • Yummy cupcakes.  The flavor combo is fabulous, and it’s a nice spin on an already good cupcake.
  • Goodness knows everybody else has their own spin on them, so if you haven’t tried them, what are you waiting for?
  • Wait.  Is that a bit of frosting you have in your nostril?