Margarita Fans Will Lose It Over These Cocktail-Inspired Cupcakes

The following post was originally featured on Erica’s Sweet Tooth.

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 pizzazz! (And by pizzazz I mean tequila, of course.)

Margarita Cupcakes


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

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


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in lime zest and juice.
  5. 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 overbeat.
  6. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
  7. In a small bowl, combine tequila and triple sec.
  8. When cupcakes are finished baking, brush the liquor mixture onto the top of each cupcake. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  9. For the tequila-lime buttercream:

  10. 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).
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. Add lime juice and tequila and increase speed to high until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  14. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish as desired.


The Back Fence