Margarita Cupcakes

Okay, okay I know this is some sort of cruel torture to be posting summertime themed treats right as the autumn chill starts to roll in, but in my mind, there is no one season for margaritas. Taco night is a weekly occurrence in our home (as I made tribute to here), so that means margs are ever-present, regardless of the temperature outside. Similar to my feelings about ice cream in the winter time — as long as the heat is on, I’m gonna be eating ice cream! So today I bring you margarita cupcakes, no sunshine required.

It’s somewhat difficult to flavor a cupcake so that it tastes like a margarita but yet doesn’t burn your throat like you’ve just taken a shot of tequila. Personally, I love tequila, but I know it’s a sensitive liquor for a lot of people. Any tequila added to the batter probably wouldn’t stand a chance to being tasted after baking, so instead I brushed a mixture of tequila and triple sec onto the cupcake tops after they came out of the oven. The tequila taste was certainly not overwhelming in either the cupcake or frosting, and I probably would have preferred a somewhat stronger flavor. But since I was bringing these cupcakes to a large party, I didn’t want to overdo it and offend those tequila-sensitive people. Taste your frosting as you go, and don’t be afraid to add a little more tequila!

The cake is very light and fluffy and the frosting is extremely smooth. This was my first time making a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and I was really happy with the resulting texture. As everyone always says, don’t worry if your buttercream looks curdled at one point during the process, just keep beating and it should come together! I garnished the cupcakes with chunky sugar crystals to look like salt as well as lime slices, zest, and straws. Reminiscent of my pink lemonade cupcakes, but with a little more pizazz! (And by pizazz I mean tequila of course)

Margarita Cupcakes
Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

For the cupcakes:
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1tsp lemon juice)
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup Triple Sec

– Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners
– In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
– In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes)
– Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in lime zest and juice
– With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk — starting and ending with flour. Mix until just incorporated, do not over-beat.
– Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean
– In a small bowl, combine tequila and Triple Sec
– When cupcakes are finished baking, brush the liquor mixture onto the top of each cupcake. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the tequila-lime buttercream:
2 cups granulated sugar
8 egg whites
3 sticks butter, softened
2-1/2 tbsp lime juice
1-2 tbsp tequila

– Place the electric mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the sugar and egg whites together until the sugar is dissolved (rub some between your fingers to feel if there are any sugar granules left, or until candy thermometer reaches 160 degrees)
– Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (about 10 minutes)
– Change to the paddle attachment, reduce speed to medium, and beat in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating and it will come together
– Add lime juice and tequila and increase speed to high until frosting is smooth and fluffy
– Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish as desired

Recipe yields 24 cupcakes


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14 Responses to “Margarita Cupcakes”

  1. #
    hannah {thepastrykook} — September 18, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    these are TOO CUTE! i love a margarita any time of the day

  2. #
    Audrey @ Sweet Cheeks — September 20, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    These look great! I used the same recipe you referred to above as a starting point for the Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes I made a couple of weeks ago…margs are always in season in my book ;)

  3. #
    claire — September 20, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

    these are precious!

    love your blog!

  4. #
    Natalie — September 30, 2010 @ 2:10 am

    could you have taken cuter pictures? LOVE IT!

  5. #
    Chase — July 22, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    I was wondering, where do you buy the chunky sugar crystals? Is it just glass-rimming sugar or is it something you can get in a baking aisle?

  6. #
    Anonymous — September 14, 2011 @ 2:40 am

    I am sorry to say, but these cupcakes were awful. Yours look adorable, but seriously the cake was thick and tasted shortbready and the tequila was way to much for my guests to handle. The frosting was okay after MUch whipping, but it was so light and tasted like whipped cream more than icing.

    I made it for a 21st birthday. This is nothing against you, I just wanted to tell anyone making these cupcakes it isn’t as good as it looks. :( Please keep coming up with ideas!! I love how cute they are and I am a long time reader.

  7. #
    Marie — October 10, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

    I made these cupcakes for a 21st birthday as well, but they turned out great! It’s been 2 weeks and I’m still getting compliments! Thanks for the great recipe! Your blog is one of my most favorite to read- you have the cutest and most delicious ideas!

  8. #
    Anonymous — April 19, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    I made these cupcakes a week ago. The cake came out great! I ended up trying the frosting twice, both batches ended up in the garbage disposal. Not sure what I was doing wrong? When I added the butter to the whipped sugar and egg whites the whole thing turned to liquid. Both times! Was super bummed so I used store bought frosting and mixed in the lime juice and tequila. They were a big hit!

    • Erica — April 19th, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

      Sometimes swiss meringue buttercream will seize and become clumpy, but the trick is to just keep beating it – it will eventually come together! I’m so sorry you had to go through that twice, but glad it worked out in the end :)

  9. #
    Lorelai — July 18, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

    Love these cupcakes! I’m going to make a gluten free version tonight and post it here:

    Hope you don’t mind the reuse of your recipe with credit of course!

    xoxo Lorelai


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