These margarita cupcakes are full of lime flavor... and a little bit of tequila, too! They're easy to make as full-size or mini cupcakes and perfect for summer parties!
(This recipe for Margarita Cupcakes was originally published in August 2010, but has been updated with new photos in 2019).
Hello! Coming at you from my new apartment 🙂 The move actually went quite smoothly... Yes, it took 6.5 hours, but our movers were fabulous and we got it all done.
The apartment is still a bit of a mess (boxes everywhere!), so I'm not going to show you much yet. But I do have to say, I LOVE my new kitchen.
Let's be honest- the kitchens in Boston apartments are often not much to look at (or cook in). Sometimes I look at food bloggers' kitchens in other parts of the country and swoon. But for the price and from what else I've seen in the city, I have to say my new kitchen is quite nice and a definite upgrade for me.
The best part about it? Space! When I'm low on space, I tend to freak out. And when I'm in a rush and low on space? Disaster.
So, what's the first thing I made in my new kitchen? Cupcakes, obviously! My sister invited Chris and me over for dinner and the Bachelorette finale, so I offered to bring dessert, knowing I'd want to make some cupcakes. After checking out some recipes, I settled on a version of these margarita cupcakes. Perfect for summer, right?
I cut the original recipe I followed in half, since I didn't really need 24 cupcakes ( I KNOW, but really). So, I'm giving you the recipe for 12 below. But I've made these several times now and in my updated photos, I decided to make mini margarita cupcakes.
You don't have to change anything with the recipe aside from using a mini cupcake tin and baking for less time. Instead of getting 12 cupcakes, you'll get 36. The minis are great for bringing to parties!
If you're craving margarita cupcakes, but don't want any alcohol involved (for instance, if kids will be indulging), you can simply skip the step of brushing the cupcakes with tequila and replace the tequila with lime juice in the frosting. You'll still get a great lime flavor; just without the alcohol.
Margarita Cupcakes Recipe
This is a pretty typical easy cupcake recipe, though the frosting is a bit unique. Of course, you're welcome to use your own frosting recipe and could even make a simple buttercream (with just butter and confectioners' sugar) with some lime juice and tequila added in.
However, this light and fluffy frosting really does go fabulously with the cupcakes!
Start by combining the dry ingredients together and then creaming the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend eggs in one at a time and beat in lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla.
With mixer on low speed, mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat each addition until just incorporated taking care not to over-mix.
Divide batter into cupcake papers, filling about ¾ full. For full-sized cupcakes, bake at 375 degrees for 20-24 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). For mini margarita cupcakes, bake 11-13 minutes.
While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the margarita frosting. This recipe is a little bit different than your typical frosting recipe, but so, so good! Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler if you have one). Whisk frequently until sugar has dissolved and mixture reaches about 160 degree F.
Put mixture in bowl of stand mixture with whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and mixture is cooled. This should take about 8 minutes.
Now, reduce the mixer speed to medium and add butter, 2 Tbsp at a time, waiting to add another until the previous piece has been incorporated. If the frosting gets soupy or curdled, beat on medium-high again until it thickens up.
Stir in lime juice and tequila. If you prefer an alcohol-free cupcake, you can replace the tequila with more lime juice.
When the cupcakes are done, let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before moving to a baking rack to cool completely.
Brush those cupcakes with a little bit of tequila! If you want a margarita flavored cupcake, but don't want any alcohol in involved, you can simply skip this step!
Since the frosting isn't quite as stable as a regular old buttercream would be, I recommend just spooning it onto the cupcakes instead of bothering with a pastry bag.
After frosting the cupcakes, I sprinkled some lime zest on all of them and added a little tiny lime wedge. I also cut straws into thirds to give these cupcakes a true margarita look!
I absolutely love how these margarita cupcakes turned out! The cupcakes are super light and moist and the frosting nice and fluffy. Everything about them is summery, from their lightness in both cake and frosting to their citrus taste. To the, uh, tequila?
I don't know, but tequila just makes me think of summer and beaches.
These cupcakes would be lovely at a summer pool party. Or perhaps a Cinco de Mayo party. Of course, you can drink margaritas any time of the year (and should!), so let's not relegate these to summer.
I almost always make full-size cupcakes, but there was something so fun about having these margarita cupcakes in mini form. Mini desserts at parties just work so much better; especially if there are a bunch of other desserts on the table. I like to try a little bit of everything so don't usually want an entire cupcake.
It also makes cupcakes a little bit safer to keep around the house. Though, to be honest, it probably just means I'll eat more of them. Maybe even alongside an actual margarita.
Have you ever had an alcoholic beverage in cupcake form?
If you want more tequila and margaritas in your life, check out my Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas and my Tequila Jalapeño Shrimp. I'm also loving this Strawberry Margarita Pie from Grandbaby Cakes.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ Tbsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Zest from 2 limes, plus more for topping cupcakes
- 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
- Tequila, for brushing
- Lime wedges, for topping cupcakes if desired
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- Pinch coarse salt
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbsp tequila
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a full-sized or mini cupcake tin with cupcake papers.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Blend eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla.
- With mixer on low speed, mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat each addition until just incorporated, taking care not to over-mix.
- Divide batter into cupcake papers, filling about ¾ full. For full-sized cupcakes, bake 20-24 minutes and for mini cupcakes, bake 11-13 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool in tin for a few minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.
- Once cupcakes are completely cooled, lightly brush them with tequila. Spoon frosting onto cupcakes and top with lime zest, lime edges, and straws, if desired.
- Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (can use a double boiler). Whisk frequently until sugar has dissolved and mixture reaches about 160 degree F on a thermometer.
- Put mixture in bowl of stand mixture with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and mixture is cooled. This should take about 8 minutes.
- Reduce mixer speed to medium and add butter, 2 Tbsp at a time, waiting to add another until the previous piece has been incorporated. If mixture seems to be getting soupy or curdled, beat on medium-high again until it thickens up. Stir in lime juice and tequila.
- Recipe adapted from Everyday Annie
SO glad to hear the move went well! The cupcakes are a perfect little celebration. I have never really gotten into the Bachelor/bachelorette but glad to hear the finale went well.
Fun and Fearless in Beantown says
Congrats on the move! I think maybe some photos of the new kitchen are in order once you're all settled in!
Those cupcakes are precious - so impressed. Yum! Congrats on your new apartment! We're thinking of moving to a nicer place, and I just can't get up the energy to do the actual move. Hopefully soon though!
Glad the move went well. These cupcakes sound fabulous. I think they'd be perfect for a girly night in... hopefully Chris enjoyed them too 😉
Guess what I am eating right now!?!? (sorry Sues, I couldn't wait until lunch) 🙁
Corey - The Runner's Cookie says
Glad your move went well!! And those cupcakes look delicious.
I was rooting for Chris too, but there is something so genuine and sweet about Ali, so it's hard to go against anything she wants and she does seem happy!
love your blog! and those cupcakes look amazing!
Love the housewarming gifts. I agree with you on kitchens in Boston, although I think that is also the reality of apartment kitchens in general (vs. places you own). Places in Chicago definitely are bigger but I still struggled to find a kitchen that meets my standards even though I am paying a lot in rent, by Chicago standards. I finally settled for one that had potential to customize (I bought an ikea kitchen island (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00116996) to make better use of the space). No glam appliances and an oven that definitely runs hot, but tons of cabinet space and natural light.
Now that is my kind of cupcake! I have a feeling my husband would love it too.
The cupcakes look scrumptious.. I always say I should do a bachelor finale party but I never follow thru.. maybe a bachelor pad finale party... I wanted Chris to end up with Ali but now I am hoping he is the next bachelor. What a cutie!
I truly love Chelsee's housewarming gifts, practical and cute!
I will be making these, for sure! My roommate is going to swoon.
Sarah @ Aubergine says
These cupcakes look delicious! I love the idea of cocktail cupcakes (cosmopolitan cupcakes, etc.)
I was really rooting for Chris because he seems so sweet, genuine and committed, but I think Roberto is ultimately better suited to her personality. And hey, if he can't find a good girl in his area...he can always hop on a plane to Toronto! 😉
What a great idea for a house-warming gift! These cupcakes also look amazing, I think I'll make them for a trip to an outdoor concert next week. Also, I totally wanted Ali to choose Chris. I can't believe she didn't. I don't think she and Roberto will last
Wow I want one of those now!
The cupcakes look fabulous and the beet soup in squash bowls looks quite interesting...I will definitely be trying that recipe soon... Chels is such a dear friend and so thoughtful...her apartment-warming gifts are very sweet...you are lucky to have each other as such good friends!
PS Your new kitchen looks like a place you will enjoy cooking in...so much space and storage room...ENJOY!!
Chef Dennis says
moves can be quite traumatic, I'm happy to hear yours went well! those margarita cupcakes look delicious!! the frosting so inviting with that zest and lime, my girls would love these, I would just have to leave off the brush of tequila!
I love that you made these to eat while watching The Bachelorette! I was hoping she'd pick Chris too, but I guess if you really think about it, she and Roberto were really pretty much in love the whole time. I wonder if Chris will be the next bachelor... guessing we have to get through Bachelor Pad first. I'm not so sure I'm going to watch that... I'll probably get sucked into the drama though. Anyways, I really stopped here to tell you how fabulous those cupcakes look and sound, especially with that extra tequila brushed on!
Congratulations on your new kitchen! I can't think of anything more perfect to make in it than these cupcakes to celebrate. Beautiful with the frosting and slice of lime. My 20-something daughters watch Bachelorette, me,,,not so much 😉
These are very original Sues. I've never heard of a margarita cupcake!
Julie Q says
Those cupcakes look amazing... congrats on the move! Living with the boy is AWESOME and you'll never have to worry about hanging up a picture frame by yourself ever again! (but don't let him teach you how to do it. its a trick!!!)
I love the idea of limes on or in cupcakes. Nice work!
So delicious looking!!! Love the idea 🙂
The frosting alone looks amazing. 🙂 Have fun unpacking and organizing!
My frosting was a bit soupy as well, even though I had beaten it for about 20 minutes. So, I put my mixing bowl (with the egg white mixture in it) into another bowl with some ice water. After just a few minutes more of mixing, the frosting really came together nicely. Thanks for the recipe again -- I'm taking them to a Mexican-themed party tonight, and I think they will be a hit!
These were AWE-SOME. Loved 'em. Definite keeper of a recipe. Thanks!
We had the hardest time with the frosting. It never peaked! But we let it cool in the fridge until it was a bit thicker and then frosted the cupcakes. Still yummy!
I recently made some margarita cupcakes too!
I made mine with chocolate cake and straws for decoration.