Cherry Limeade Cupcakes


The third birthday celebrated on our 4-parties-in-1 night was mine!  Most of my regular readers are well aware of my deep love for cupcakes.  I thought it very fitting to make my personal dessert be some sort of cupcakes.  Not as well known is my serious love for fun fruity drinks (or actually almost any sort of juice.)  My favorite kind of cupcakes are those that can be decorated in a fun way, so when I saw this recipe combining a fruity drink with cute cupcakes, I was sold.

I have heard many times how fabulous the drinks from Sonic are, the cherry limeade in particular, but I had actually never even been to a Sonic before (gasp!)  A new one was just built near my grocery store a couple of months ago, so I decided to go try the cherry limeade for myself before I tried a cupcake so I would have something to compare them to.  The drink was good, although I’m not quite sure it lived up to the hype – I didn’t notice enough lime flavor.  Regardless, fruity sugary drink = happy Annie!  The cupcakes tasted surprisingly similar to the drink.  I think the lime syrup drizzled on top of the cakes is key in keeping them moist, and contributes the bulk of the lime flavor, so don’t skip this step.

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. limeade concentrate
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

For the lime syrup:
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the frosting:
3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 tbsp. (or more) maraschino cherry juice
red food coloring (optional)

For decorating (optional):
fresh lime slices
maraschino cherries

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed.  Add in the limeade concentrate and mix to incorporate.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions.  Add in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix ingredients just long enough to incorporate but no longer.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack over wax paper to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the limeade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lime syrup.  Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in.

To make the frosting, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter and maraschino cherry juice in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated, then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth.  Add more maraschino cherry juice as needed to achieve desired texture.  Add red food coloring if desired.

Frost cooled cupcakes.  Garnish with lime slices and maraschino cherries, if desired.

Source: adapted from Baking Up Chaos

43 Responses

  1. Oh my gosh. Remember this date: August 25. I’ll expect a batch of these in the mail. 🙂

    These are amazing!

  2. What a great and colorful cupcake! I think your inspiration for them is prettty cleaver! 🙂

  3. Holy cow – these look amazing! When you say imeade concentrate, are you referring to those minute maid frozen cans?

  4. I LOVE cherry limeade!!!! I think I’m going to have to make these. : ) These look amazing!

  5. I can’t wait to try these. You have just invented my Valentine’s Day surprise to my husband. The cherry-limade is the reason he goes to Sonic.


  6. those look so great! I love Sonic cherry limeades…i will have to try these!

  7. So festive!! 😀

  8. Those cupcakes look great! I recommend the lemonberry slush at Sonic – they squeeze fresh lemon juice for the drink.

  9. These look so cute! I love Sonic drinks- I’m thinking that a Blue Coconut cupcake would be a fun experiment 🙂

  10. Cutest. Cupcakes. Ever. I like cherry limeades at Sonic but I always ask for extra lime. I think that they taste so much better with more lime.

  11. What an inventive idea!! I LOVE cherry limeades! Putting these on my list to bake for sure!!

  12. These look dangerous – I could eat four! Super cute!!

  13. These are so cute and they sound so delicious. I love *anything* lime.

  14. Those are wonderful looking!

  15. These look so cute with the cherry on top. Love the idea of poking the holes and spreading with the glaze-Yum!

  16. The green liners were the absolute perfect choice for those. Love the idea!

  17. Love how you decorated them!

  18. How colorful and adorable are those!

  19. This cupcakes are gorgeous! I must give it a try soon. I can feel how they are yummy in my mouth right now thanks to this wonderful picture

  20. These are adorable. I love how they look and I bet they taste great!

  21. OMG I’ve wanted to visit Sonic for SO long, but they are pretty far away from my house, but maybe I can try these instead… so cute!

  22. Those look great!

  23. LOVE cherry limeade! These cupcakes would be a favorite for me!

  24. My whole family loves Sonic, especially for their cherry limeades. We’re actually from the town in Oklahoma where the first Sonic opened. I have several pictures of me as little girl holding a tiny little six oz. kids cup of cherry limeade. I MUST make these for my sister’s upcoming birthday!

  25. The cherry limeades from Sonic have gone downhill over the years. For a really good limeade, go into a small town drugstore with a soda/ice cream counter. My years behind the counter gave me the chance to really perfect my cherry limeades.

    That said, I’m so making these since I left Oklahoma and can’t find a good limeade anywhere. (The Sonic cherry limeades here are particularly bad since none of the staff are from an area of the country that ever served them. They don’t know what one should taste like – and it’s made with Sprite. Yuck!)

  26. I’m making these right now and it seems like a LOT of syrup… did you use it all?

  27. […] found the recipe over at Annie’s Eats and knew I had to give it a shot. The love my sister and I have for cherry limeades at Sonic is […]

  28. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was well received. People loved how cute they looked. One person actually took a picture! As to the person’s question about using all the syrup, I certainly did not. I probably put too much in, but next time I will do the same, but refrigerate them. The syrup definitely gives it that limeade kick! Thanks again, I had to give many people the recipe.

  29. Oneparticularkitchen,
    I think I used most of it – after all, the majority runs off the cupcakes. You certainly don’t have to use it all though. Do whatever you like!
    🙂 Annie

  30. I made these tonight. They were amazing! I wish I could frost as good as you but oh well. 🙂 I took them to my husband’s work and they were gone in 5 seconds. Thanks for the fabulous recipe. I linked you on my blog so everyone could come see how great your recipes are.

  31. […] from here and here – click for original recipes – the below incorporates my […]

  32. I saw these with a straw stuck in (cut to size, of course!). They were precious!

  33. I love Sonic’s Cherry Limeade – I agree with you about the lime flavor though. These look great! (By the way, just recently discovered your blog and I love it!)

  34. The key to a great cherry limeade experience from Sonic is to take off the lid as soon as you receive it, fish out the lime wedges, and squeeze the heck out of them to get all the juice you can. Stir with your straw, and make sure to hook the stem of your maraschino cherry over the side before you put the lid back on so you don’t have to fish it out to eat later.

  35. […] *Want a third flavor? Change up the recipe by substituting 1/3 cup mint leaves for the cherry syrup for a fresh Mint Limeade! Can’t get enough of that cherry-lime flavor? Check out these scrumptious cupcakes from Annie’s Eats: […]

  36. I made these for my book club and everyone RAVED about them. I had a few left over and took those to work (so I wouldn’t eat them all myself) and they all RAVED about them, too. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Annie!

  37. Thanks Annie- these look so cute. I love the added addition of sliced limes. Well done.

  38. I made this on Friday.. I couldn’t find limeaid concentrate so I used Sunkist Cherry Limeaide.. Man were these cupcakes the best!! Thank you!! I loved them and they will be a part of our summer baking forever..

  39. So I was soo excited to try these but I was a little let down by how they turned out. The cake was yummy and the finished product looked beautiful but the icing was just too sweet for me. I might try again with a sour cherry for more of a tart icing.

  40. I just tried this recipe. The cupcakes themselves were amazing! I used all the syrup, but the trick to getting it all to soak in is using the big end of a chopstick to poke the holes instead of a toothpick. The icing was too sweet for me and not enough of a cherry taste. I love how cute they turned out! I am sure they will be a hit!

  41. I just made these cupcakes. They are really delicious, everyone loved them! I took someone else’s advice and added little straws as garnish, they were SUPER cute! I added them to my blog. PS I love this blog! I’ve made a couple cupcake recipes and they are all SO delicious!! 🙂

  42. I am a HUGE FAN of cherry limeaid! When I found is recipe my heart skipped a beat! I made them right away…they are so fantastically! This site has totally inspired me more than you could know! Thanks Again. ❤

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