Spiked Margarita Cupcakes Recipe

Bright, citrusy, and refreshing, margaritas are the perfect drink for the warmer months. While the origins of the margarita cocktail are a bit unclear, the origins of this recipe are not: Recipe developer Jessica Morone created this tantalizing twist on traditional cupcakes and margaritas. These delightful treats capture the essence of the classic cocktail in a moist and flavorful dessert. Imagine zesty lime mingling with a hint of tequila, all wrapped up in a soft, tender cupcake crumb. These cupcakes offer a burst of citrusy goodness with a subtle kick, making them a perfect choice for special occasions, parties, or simply when you're craving something a little out of the ordinary. 

Whether you're a fan of margaritas or simply looking to add a touch of excitement to your dessert repertoire, these margarita cupcakes are sure to impress. Paired with a dollop of creamy tequila-lime frosting and a sprinkle of salt for that perfect balance of sweet and savory, these cupcakes are as visually stunning as they are delicious. Get ready to elevate your baking game and indulge in a little slice of cocktail-inspired heaven with this irresistible margarita cupcake recipe.

Gather the ingredients for spiked margarita cupcakes

This recipe starts with the cupcakes, which are made with flour, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract, tequila, and plain Greek yogurt. The cupcakes are brushed with a tequila-lime syrup made with sugar, water, tequila, and lime juice. Then, you will frost the cupcakes — you'll need cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, tequila, and lime juice. As for what tequila to use, recipe developer Morone notes that "you can use any kind you prefer, but I used Blanco because it keeps the frosting really white, and the sharp, spicy, and fruity flavor goes perfectly with the lime flavor."

You can garnish or decorate the cupcake any way you desire, but we recommend using flaky sea salt (which makes it even more like a margarita), additional lime zest, and some lime slices. You can also add some cut-up, festive straws to evoke the idea of a margarita. 

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Line a cupcake pan

Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Step 3: Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Step 4: Combine the sugar and oil

In a separate, large bowl, beat together the oil and sugar until combined.

Step 5: Mix in the remaining wet ingredients

Add the eggs, lime juice, lime zest, vanilla extract, tequila, and yogurt, and beat until smooth.

Step 6: Mix the wet and dry ingredients together

Add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Step 7: Fill cupcake liners with the batter

Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each about ⅔ full.

Step 8: Bake

Bake in the preheated oven for 20–23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Step 9: Heat water and sugar

While the cupcakes are baking, place the water and sugar for the syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil.

Step 10: Add tequila and lime juice

Remove from heat and stir in the tequila and lime juice. Let cool completely.

Step 11: Brush the syrup on the cupcakes

Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the baked cupcakes with the syrup.

Step 12: Beat the butter and cream cheese

Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a large bowl and use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat until completely smooth.

Step 13: Add powdered sugar

Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and beat until combined.

Step 14: Finish the frosting

Add in the tequila and lime juice, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Step 15: Frost the cupcakes

Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Step 16: Garnish and serve

Garnish with lime slices, lime zest, and flaky sea salt, as desired, to serve.

Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time, and how can I store leftovers?

For the freshest cupcakes, it is best to make and assemble them on the day you are going to serve them, but sometimes this isn't possible. And, with there being three components in this recipe, you might want to split up the construction over a couple of days. You can bake the cupcakes up to two days in advance and keep them unfrosted in an airtight container until you are ready to frost them. The syrup for the cupcakes can be made up to a week in advance and kept in a glass container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. The frosting can last for up to a week stored covered in the fridge — just bring it back to room temperature and whip it up again if necessary before frosting the cupcakes. Assemble the cupcakes completely and garnish them the day you plan to serve them. If you're using lime slices for garnish, Morone states that you should "add them on right before you want to serve these cupcakes. Otherwise, the sliced fruit can end up dripping all over the cupcake and making a mess if they sit out too long."

Is it possible to make these margarita cupcakes alcohol-free?

Obviously, the boozy version of these cupcakes is for adults only. If you are looking to make this recipe alcohol-free, either for children or just because you don't drink alcohol, it is very easy to change up the recipe to accommodate this. There are several brands of non-alcoholic tequila on the market now, which makes it really easy to get the flavor of tequila without the alcohol. You can swap any of those in at a 1:1 ratio in this recipe. You can also try to use agave syrup in place of the tequila, as both are made from the agave plant and therefore have a similar flavor. You could also use some smoked sea salt flakes on top of the cupcakes to mimic the subtle smokiness in tequila. Alternatively, you can omit the tequila completely and these will simply be delicious lime cupcakes!

On the other hand, if what you want are boozier cupcakes, Morone advises that "you swap the amounts of tequila and lime in the frosting, adding 2 tablespoons of tequila and 1 tablespoon of lime juice."

Spiked Margarita Cupcakes Recipe
4.9 from 13 ratings
Tequila infuses these cupcakes in three different ways (batter, syrup, and frosting) for a delightful, boozy treat that mirrors the flavors of a margarita.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
12
cupcakes
spiked margarita cupcakes on a wooden table
Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the cupcakes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • ½ cup plain full-fat greek yogurt
  • For the tequila-lime syrup
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • For the frosting
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
Optional Ingredients
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Lime slices
  • Lime zest
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate, large bowl, beat together the oil and sugar until combined.
  5. Add the eggs, lime juice, lime zest, vanilla extract, tequila, and yogurt, and beat until smooth.
  6. Add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  7. Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each about ⅔ full.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  9. While the cupcakes are baking, place the water and sugar for the syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the tequila and lime juice. Let cool completely.
  11. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the baked cupcakes with the syrup.
  12. Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a large bowl and use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat until completely smooth.
  13. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and beat until combined.
  14. Add in the tequila and lime juice, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  15. Frost the cooled cupcakes.
  16. Garnish with lime slices, lime zest, and flaky sea salt, as desired, to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 609
Total Fat 32.3 g
Saturated Fat 13.2 g
Trans Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 82.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 75.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 62.2 g
Sodium 312.8 mg
Protein 4.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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