A trio of citrus zests brightens simple cupcakes. The ones pictured are finished with lime-flavored glaze and finely grated lime zest, but lemons or oranges could replace the lime. Or, for a particularly pretty display, divide the glaze into thirds and flavor each portion with a different citrus, with garnishes to match.


Recipe Summary

Makes 36


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour and salt.

  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Add citrus zests. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla. Add eggs, three at a time, beating until until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in four batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.

  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full; tap pans on countertop once to distribute batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

  • To finish, dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, then turn over quickly and garnish with zest. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Reviews (14)

139 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 28
  • 4 star values: 38
  • 3 star values: 47
  • 2 star values: 16
  • 1 star values: 10
Rating: Unrated
Delicious cupcakes - made 84 minis from the recipe. Eggs are the only leavening, so you must cream your butter properly - used 65 degree temp butter, and they rose best ever, nice dome on each. These are popular and delicious. They are a pound cake base, so the cake will be like a pound cake. Zest was great in giving the perfect flavor.
Rating: Unrated
I was pretty disappointed with this recipe. I found these were really dense cupcakes, which is ok, but I feel like a rising agent is needed - I only got 26 cupcakes (instead of the 36 claimed in the recipe) and my cups were so underfilled, I couldn't dip them into the glaze properly. Also, the grease from the butter pooled at the bottoms, leaving very greasy undersides. They still taste fine, but I probably wouldn't make these again.
Rating: Unrated
Made these for the first time yesterday. They are a dense heavy cupcake, but mine were not dry or greasy at all. I'm wondering if the other reviewers over cooked them and/or used fake butter? I cooked them for the minimal amount of time and they were perfect. The flavor was awesome! I will be making them again. Infact, my son in law wanted more today!! The glaze is amazing! YUMMY!!
Rating: 1 stars
This recipe was a colossal failure - dense, bready cupcakes that were so greasy they oozed butter. Completely inedible. Looking back at the recipe the portions are strange, the lack of leveling odd, and way too much citrus peel. Definitely would NOT recommend making these - waste of ingredients and time.
Rating: Unrated
I tried this recipe out of Martha Stewart's cupcake book. They were extremely dense and dry. So I added 1 Tablespoon of baking powder to the recipe the next time I made them and they came out perfect! I also added one more step: when they had just come out of the oven, I brushed some sweetened lime juice (1/2 cup juice to 3 Tablespoons sugar) over the tops of all the cupcakes and frosted them with a cream cheese frosting (the glaze was too messy for me). Hope this helps!
Rating: 1 stars
Too dry and too dense. I do not recommend making this cupcakes.
Rating: Unrated
Thanks to all the negative comments, we took the cupcakes out when tested clean, instead of when brown. They turned out great. Minicupcakes were in 13 minutes in dark pan, slightly more for aluminum. They turned out beautifully. Can't wait to set them out after church. The kids (and adults) almost stampede over for our cupcakes (We have Martha Stewart's CUPCAKES book).
Rating: 2 stars
Not crazy about cupcake itself- tasted more like a corn bread probably due to the enormous amount of butter and eggs? I did like the glaze but it wasn't enough "sweet" to make the cupcake work for me. A lot of zesting for not much punch!
Rating: Unrated
Recipe is deficient. No mention of how or when to add sugar. No baking soda or powder. Cupcakes turned out dry and much too dense. So sorry I made them. Someone in M Stewart's operation needs to check recipe.
Rating: Unrated
I think these cupcakes have a lot of butter and eggs!, I'd try with only 3 sticks of butter and 6 eggs.And they definitely need a raising agent like baking powder and some liquid, like buttermilk. Does anyone think that 9 tablespoons of zest is way to much zest?
Rating: Unrated
Oh my! I just made these this evening. I spent so much time and $ and they turned out very greasy and chewy. I am a pretty good baker and I wonder if there is an ingredient missing. I am going to research it. I would love to know if anyone's turned out good.
Rating: Unrated
Are these supposed to have a raising agent at all, or does the creamed butter and sugar mixture have enough air to do the job? I watched these made on the show and thought they looked gorgeous (I LOVE citrus!) but thought I should check. I think most pound cake recipes have a bit of baking powder don't they??
Rating: Unrated
I think sometimes cupcakes turn out dry because they don't look done and we leave them in the oven just a tad too long. Perhaps take them out sooner. My oven cooks baked goods (more so than any others) a few mins faster for any recipe than the recipe actually rec'ds. ???
Rating: Unrated
Was excited to try this recipe for a party (last night). I followed the recipe exactly and the cupcakes came out dry - good flavor, but dry. I wonder why?