In the Kitchen

Margarita Cupcakes

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve had an actual post on here.  Between two senior Capstone courses, a full-time job, and papers left and right to write, I found it very difficult to find time to post during the school year. However, now that my time as an undergrad came to an end in May, perhaps now I’ll have more freedom to write and post here!

For those of you who didn’t know, today is apparently National Tequila Day. When I found that out this morning, I knew I had to try my hand at “Margarita Cupcakes.” I’ve seen plenty of photos floating around Pinterest before and have always wanted to make them. After reading a few posts, I decided to implement bits and pieces into my own version.

Essentially, you take a basic vanilla cupcake/buttercream frosting recipe and add in lime juice, lime zest, and – of course – tequila. I actually made vanilla cupcakes for a friend’s birthday yesterday, so I decided I’d use the same recipe for these margarita treats.

Past posts have had step-by-step pictures, but for today, I’ll stick with “less is more.”

Using recipes from one of my favorite blogs as a starting point, let’s begin, shall we?

Margarita Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes (modified from Glorious Treats)

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola, or extra light olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice – add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using)


  • 1-2 Tablespoons tequila
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lime juice (Note: I used lemon since that’s what I had on hand, but I’m sure lime would have made this even better!)
  • 1 Tablespoon lime zest

Preheat oven to 350*F.

In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.

Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined.

Gently blend in the tequila, lime juice, and zest. You can always adjust how much lime or tequila you wish to put in – less or more. Scrape down the side of the bowl.

The batter will be thin.  Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners. Fill liners about 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.

Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack. Frost as desired when fully cool.

While the cupcakes cool, whip up your favorite vanilla buttercream recipe or use the recipe below (also modified from Glorious Treats) and add in lime juice, zest, and tequila!

Tequila Lime Frosting

  • 1 ½ cup (12 Tablespoons) butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (directly from fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of your favorite tequila
  • 2-3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime zest

Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.

Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.

Slowly add in the lime juice, tequila, and zest. If the frosting seems too stiff, add in more juice, tequila, or milk a teaspoon at a time. Too much liquid will have the frosting become runny and won’t hold up well if you’re piping it onto the cupcakes.

Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)


I used lemon juice instead of lime this time since I didn’t have limes and I wanted these bad boys sooner! If you don’t have limes on hand, lemons (or even lemon juice concentrate – many of us have that in our fridge!), should work just fine.

Also, feel free to add more (or use less) tequila in the frosting or cupcakes. Again, it’s all to suit your personal taste. So, by all means, stick your finger in the bowl and give it a lick! Then you decide which way to go. Sprinkle a little sugar on top or around the sides of the frosted cupcakes to emulate a salt-rimmed glass ;)

Overall, I’ve fallen in love with this frosting. I love the light citrus flavor from the lime and the tequila added a little kick without an overbearing taste of alcohol.

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as I do!


2 thoughts on “Margarita Cupcakes

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