Happy Cinco de Mayo!
The one day a year when we can stuff ourselves full of chips, salsa, guacamole and margaritas. It’s a little bit of a foodie nirvana. Of course there is historical significance to the day, which I shared in my homemade restaurant style salsa post. But like most holidays that celebrate a heritage, people enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo with authentic food and drink. I for one love Mexican food and am looking forward to chowing down on chips and salsa for at least one meal and then washing it down with one (or two) of these cupcakes. Since margaritas are a classic Mexican cocktail, I found it only fitting to make margarita cupcakes for dessert on Cinco de Mayo!
How to Make Margarita Cupcakes:
Tequila and lime? Check!
They say you should only cook with wine that is good enough to drink, and I hold the same belief when it comes to liquor and baking, so I decided that these cupcakes called for Patrón Silver tequila. And since you can definitely taste the tequila in the cupcake as well as the frosting, I think this was a good call. Yum.
I did some web surfing to see what I could find in the way of margarita cupcakes, and unfortunately came across a ton of recipes that used a box cake mix. Not exactly what I was going for. And then I turned to the ever-faithful Food Blog Search and found a recipe from Shawnda for margarita cupcakes from scratch. Bingo!
Except for two things: there wasn’t any tequila actually in the cupcakes, and the frosting was a Swiss meringue buttercream (I don’t like fussy, complicated frostings – butter, sugar and added flavors do me just fine).
I adapted the cupcake recipe to amp up the liquor quotient by adding tequila into the cupcakes as well as brushing tequila onto the cupcakes after they were done baking. Mucho tequila = muy bueno. (I took 7 years of Spanish, I should put it to a little use!) Then I adapted my absolute favorite basic vanilla frosting to include lime juice and tequila, and voilà! Verrrrrrry boozy cupcakes!
Yet they look so innocent, don’t they? Sitting there all pretty with green garland laying like a feather on the buttery pillows of frosting.
They are definitely not innocent. They are all things tequila and lime. The cupcakes are buttery and moist. The frosting is velvety and buttery (more butter!). And there is a prevalent lime/tequila taste throughout. They are a Cinco de Mayo dream. If you like margaritas (or just boozy cupcakes), you will fall in love with these babies. And they’re perfect for toting along to picnics and cook-outs all summer long!
What are your eating and drinking plans for Cinco de Mayo??
For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila
For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
5. 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, power on!)
6. Reduce the mixer speed low. 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.
7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.
8. 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.
9. To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.
*Note #1: If you would prefer to not use liquor in these cupcakes, you can absolutely omit it from both the cupcakes and the frosting with no problem. If you do omit it, I would add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the frosting.
*Note #2: I used a Wilton 1M tip to frost the cupcakes.