Margarita Cupcakes

When I was looking for a recipe for a margarita cupcake, I asked the ladies of a message board I frequent for their recommendation, and I got multiple replies pointing me to Confections of a Foodie Bride’s recipe for Margarita Cupcakes. I didn’t change anything about the cupcakes themselves, but I did brush them with margarita simple syrup to up the margarita flavor, and keep them moist. Also, the flavor in the original buttercream was a little too subtle for me, so I increased the quantities of lime juice and tequila, and added some triple sec as well, for a truer margarita essence. Finally, what’s a margarita without salt? I wanted a slight saltiness to the final cupcake, just like when you’re sipping an ice cold margarita, so I sprinkled the tops with a combination of sanding sugar and salt, and topped with a lime slice.


Lime Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • Zest of 3 Limes
  • 3 oz Lime Juice, about 3 to 4 Limes or bottled juice
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Margarita Simple Syrup*:

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Tequila
  • ¼ cup Triple Sec
  • ½ cup Lime Juice, fresh or bottled

Margarita Buttercream:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 3 ½ Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Tequila
  • 1 Tbsp Triple Sec


  • Green Sanding Sugar
  • Coarse Margarita Salt
  • Limes, sliced thinly and then into halves


Lime Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Turn mixer to the low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated.
  3. Fill each muffin cup ~3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.

Margarita Simple Syrup:

  1. While cupcakes are baking, bring sugar, tequila, triple sec, and lime juice to a simmer and allow to cool.
  2. When syrup and cupcakes have cooled, brush tops with margarita syrup.

Margarita Buttercream:

  1. Place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer, or you cannot feel any grains of sugar when you rub the mixture in-between you thumb and forefinger.
  2. 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, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep going, it will pull back together.
  4. Add lime juice, tequila, and triple sec. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy.


  1. Mix 2 parts sanding sugar with 1 part coarse salt.
  2. After frosting cupcakes, sprinkle with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the sugar/salt mixture, and press in a lime slice.

*Extra margarita simple can be used to make a delicious and refreshing “Mock-arita”: Fill a glass with ice, pour in 3 oz of margarita simple syrup, top with Sprite and a slice of lime.


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