Margarita cupcakes are lightly flavored with lime and tequila both in the cake batter and the frosting. It’s the perfect dessert for Cinco de Mayo!
This recipe was originally published May 2014. It was last updated March 2020.
Happy Cinco de Mayo mis amigos! It is becoming a trend for me to bake boozy cupcakes whenever a holiday rolls around so you can guess what I made for this fiesta… Margarita Cupcakes! Sprinkled with lime zest and brushed with tequila, these little shots of margarita deliciousness make for a fitting dessert on Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo is an inexcusable opportunity to enjoy some authentic Mexican food—enchiladas, chili relleno, guacamole—you name it! Of course the first drink people think of when they hear Cinco de Mayo is a margarita. Tangy and salty, margaritas are a classic Mexican cocktail—perfect inspiration for a boozy cupcake.
How to make margarita cupcakes
To make margarita cupcakes, you will need the following ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, fresh lime juice, lime zest, tequila vanilla extract and buttermilk. Once you have your ingredients, follow these instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer. Mix until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
- Add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter. Begin and end with flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes until light golden. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes, and then move to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
How to make tequila lime frosting
Tequila lime frosting calls for butter, confectioners’ sugar, fresh lime juice and tequila. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and slowly add confectioners’ sugar. Once combined, add lime juice, tequila and salt. Mix just until incorporated. Frost cupcakes using a piping bag and frosting tip.
How to store margarita cupcakes
Margarita cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. However, they taste best the day they are baked. If you are baking the cupcakes ahead of time, I suggest waiting to brush the cupcakes with tequila and frost them. Do this the day you plan to serve the cupcakes.
Cinco de Mayo desserts
Feeling festive? Here are some desserts that will surely put you in the mood for a fiesta on Cinco de Mayo…
- No bake margarita cheesecake bites are quick and easy to make!
- Homemade churros – Happy Foods Tube blog
- Tres leches cake – Lil Luna blog
- Flan (creme caramel) – Bigger Boulder Baking blog
Tips for making margarita cupcakes
Here are some tips to make your margarita cupcakes a success! As with most cupcakes, bring ingredients to room temperature. This will allow your ingredients to come together quickly and smoothly. Weigh your ingredients instead of measuring them. This is much more accurate when it comes to a delicate dessert like cupcakes. I use this kitchen scale and love it.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl regularly so all the ingredients get mixed in. Add fresh lime juice and lime zest. This makes all the difference in the world when it comes to flavor. This juicer and zester make the job easy. Use decent tequila such as Altos or Espolòn. The tequila you brush on the cupcakes and mix in the frosting will be the flavor you taste so pick your favorite!
I hope you have a very happy Cinco de Mayo here is an added bonus when baking these cupcakes—you have all the ingredients for a homemade margarita. So whip up a marg, turn up some music and get baking!
- 1 1/2 cups (186 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (118 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
Brush the Cupcakes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons tequila
- 1 cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice to taste
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- Pinch of coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula as necessary.
- Add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix just until combined and scrape down the bowl. (The batter may look curdled and that's okay).
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Alternate adding the dry flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (add flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk). Mix just incorporated (avoid over mixing).
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full (I like to use an ice cream scoop for this step). Bake for approximately 25 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point. Cupcakes are done when they are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs.
- Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
Tequila Lime Frosting
- To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer for 5 minutes. I suggest using the whisk attachment if you have it. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape for the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the lime juice, tequila and salt. Mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy, about 20 seconds.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with desired tip. Frost cupcakes and garnish with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge if desired.
- Stand mixer makes mixing ingredients quick and easy.
- Kitchen scale allows you to weigh ingredients, which is more accurate than measuring.
- Citrus juicer gets the most juice out of the lime.
- Citrus zester for getting lime peel off the lime.
- Standard sized muffin tin is best for this recipe.
- Ice cream scoop for yielding the perfect amount of batter per cupcake.
- Frosting bag and tip for decorating the cupcakes.
Recipe inspired by Brown Eyed Baker.
Photos by Our Salty Kitchen.