Margarita Cupcakes

After posting several recipes with the Cinco de Mayo celebration in mind, what better way to finish off than with a margarita cupcake?  If you like margaritas and if you like cupcakes, then get out your mixer because you’re going to love these moist flavorful cupcakes!

This vanilla cupcake is infused and enhanced with all the flavors that make a margarita so tasty.  Tequila—check!  Cointreau—double check!  Lime—triple check!  Salt—quadruple check!

Topping off this cupcake, which is delicious on its own, is my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting which has been modified to include lime, tequila and salt.  I could eat the frosting (and have done so) straight out of the bowl.

Thank goodness there is no leftover tres leches cake.  It would be impossible to choose between the cake and these margarita cupcakes which means I’d eat some of both for sure.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

One year ago:  Steak Tacos

Two years ago:  Downsizing Time

Margarita Cupcakes

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Ingredients for the Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • Zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 2 tbl. tequila
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes

  • 2 tbl.  Cointreau or triple sec

Ingredients for the Tequila-Lime Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbl. lime juice
  • 2 tbl. tequila (I used 4 tsp. and thought it was just right)
  • Pinch of coarse or sea salt


Preheat the oven to 325o F.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined.  (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together.)

Reduce the mixer speed low.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches.  Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack.  Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 2 tablespoons of Cointreau or triple sec. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated.  Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Add the lime juice, tequila and salt; mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy.  If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of sea salt and a lime wedge.

The recipe makes 12 cupcakes but easily doubles to make 24.

Fran’s Notes

If you would prefer to not use liquor in these cupcakes, you can omit it from both the cupcakes and the frosting with no problem.  If you do omit it, increase the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon for the cake and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the frosting.

Source:  Adapted from a recipe from the Brown-eyed Baker

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