Finally, it's time for dessert! After filling up on everything from restaurant-style salsa to homemade fresh chorizo tacos, I'm ready for some sweet indulgence. While tres leches cake would have been the perfect Mexican dessert, the lush in me wanted to make these margarita cupcakes. They are moist and fluffy with a hint of lime and tequila. Brushing on extra tequila and adding more tequila and lime juice into the fluffy American-style buttercream helps round out these cupcakes as the perfect treat for any fiesta.
For the record, I'm not a huge fan of tequila. I find its prominent flavor off-putting. I thought the amount of tequila in these cupcakes was mild and the brightness of the lime definitely helped make them taste even lighter. The frosting was absolutely delicious and I sampled plenty of it while piping my cupcakes. I figure if it's not on the cupcakes yet, it's zero calories. Right?
The original recipe states that it makes a dozen, but let me assure you, there is no way on Earth that this recipe will make only a dozen cupcakes. I filled 12 liners and still had plenty of batter left. Aiming for 16 cupcakes is a lot safer if you don't want a cupcake explosion in your oven. They do rise pretty high so don't fill the cups too much, about ⅔ full is a good start.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- Zest and juice of 1 ½ limes
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
To Brush the Cupcakes:
- 1 to 2 tablespoons tequila
- 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- Pinch of coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with 16 paper liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed 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.
- 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, filling about ⅔ of the way. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
- Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove 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.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt. Mix until incorporated and fluffy (it will increase in volume as air is whipped into it). If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar or refrigerate briefly to firm up. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and/or a lime wedge.