Margarita cupcakes – warning contains tequila!

These margarita cupcakes are my attempt at ramping up the flavour in the key lime cupcakes I tried a little while ago. While the key lime version lacked the punch that I was looking for from a citrus cupcake, these margarita cupcakes seem to slap you across the face – but that could just be the amount of tequila I put in them!

I decided to use our housewarming party as an opportunity to try these out on an open-minded audience. Unfortunately, this meant that I started making them at 10am on a Saturday morning and by midday, I’d been sampling both the cakes, the icing and the odd sip of tequila to ensure quality control! It also became apparent very quickly that I have a different idea of how much alcohol is acceptable in a sweet treat to my other half but this may also have been due to my regular quality control tests!

I took the decision not to put tequila into the cakes themselves and instead made a tequila sugar syrup to drizzle over them.  Convinced that this wouldn’t flavour the cakes enough, I also brushed them with tequila and put a couple of teaspoons of tequila into the icing.  I know it sounds like a lot of tequila but all in all it was probably only 3 teaspoons – honest!

They definitely has the ideal hint of tequila and lime with just a tiny bit of warmth from the tequila to remind you that there is just a wee bit of alcohol in the cakes.  The fact that they disappeared quite quickly also indicates that I’m not the only fan of cocktail cupcakes.

Margarita cupcakes
Makes 12

For the cakes
85g butter
100g sugar
1 egg
100g self raising flour
zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes

Sugar syrup
1 tbsp tequila
30g caster sugar
juice if 1/2 lime

500g icing sugar
juice 1 lime
140g butter
2 tbsp tequila

(optional) extra tbsp tequila to brush cakes


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (170 degrees fan) and line a muffin tin with small cupcake cases.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix to combine.
  3. Mix in the flour, lime zest and juice and fill each cupcake case until half full. I was a little overenthusiastic with my measures so actually only managed to make 11 out of this recipe!
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.  Leave the cakes to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the sugar, tequila and lime juice in a pan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  The syrup may boil but it doesn’t necessarily have to.
  6. Pierce the cupcakes in several places (I used a fork) and pour a teaspoon of syrup onto each cake. For an extra kick, brush the top of each cake with tequila once the syrup has sunk in.
  7. Put the cakes to one side to leave the tequila to soak in.  In a large bowl, beat together the butter and icing sugar.  Add the lime juice and tequila and mix. You may want to taste the icing at this stage! Go on! You know you want to!!
  8. Pipe the icing onto the top of the cakes and top with the grated zest of a lime.
  9. Serve and watch people’s eyes light up!


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