Some foods are so southern that they seem to have a drawl to them, and sound funny when said with any other accent. Can you imagine a Yankee saying “chitlins” without it sounding silly? Though I can’t imagine why they would be saying it, and frankly, its the first time I’ve even thought about it in a very long time, but regardless. Okra, red eye gravy, and of course, one of my favorites, key lime pie.

No hooked on phonics courses could begin to explain why we in the South tend to pronounce it as “Key Lahme Pah,” but I think I might have an explanation.

You see, we Southerners really like key lime pie. We like it a whole lot. We don’t want to wait until we’re finished saying the name of this tart and creamy treat before we can enjoy it and so all the way through pronouncing it, we open our mouths wide, as if ready to shove in another bite of “pah” at any moment. Think about it, and say the way pie the way anyone else would say it. Who could possibly eat pie while your mouth is shaped in a smile? Rather pronounce it like the southerners, and open up wide for some more pah.

I do love key lime pie, but sometimes I’m really just not in the mood to make a crust. Making crust is still one of my least favorite kitchen tasks because I have yet to find a recipe for it that I can’t mess up. It tears, or its too greasy, or its just not right. So I skipped the crust all together and combined all the flavors of a pie into a very tasty cupcake instead!

A quick note about key limes: they really are different from your normal limes and have a unique flavor. Key limes are to limes what I’ve heard Meyer lemons are to lemons. And they’re tiny, which makes them infinitely cuter. If you’re unable to find them (and really, I’m rather shocked that I found them in Shanghai), you can substitute normal limes, but realize you might need to add a little more sugar to compensate for the flavors.

Key Lime Cupcakes
From Bon Appetit

Ingredients

for the cupcakes:

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring
3/4 cup buttermilk

for the icing:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

2. Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (at this point the batter may look curdled – don’t worry, it beats right out and tastes great).

3. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each liner.

4. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool all the way before icing.

5. While the cupcakes are baking, beat all ingredients for the icing in a medium bowl until smooth. Spread over cooled cupcakes.

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