There are few things better than a cold drink on a hot day. A few years ago, I discovered the perfect hammock spot between two trees in our backyard. The hammock is perfectly shaded by the trees’ canopy, it sits beside our neighborhood pond, and it is just on the edge of our WiFi router’s boundary. After a hot summer afternoon of mowing, I love to indulge in an ice-cold margarita while sitting in that happy place, immersed in a good book.Jump to Recipe
Even though these cupcakes aren’t ice-cold, they do offer the same light and refreshing flavors found in the classic cocktail. Made with fresh lime juice – and brushed with tequila and triple sec – these cupcakes are aromatic with a subtle bite, ideal for a bachelorette party or your next girls night in. Each cupcake only contains a trace amount of alcohol (only one shot brushed over a batch of 12 cupcakes) so you don’t need to worry about impaired driving after eating one (or two, or more). Plus, since the amount of alcohol in these cupcakes is so small, you could very easily substitute some non-alcoholic juices (elaborated below) without a significant change to the overall cupcake flavor.
For this recipe, you’ll need all of the standard cupcake ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, butter, egg, and vanilla bean paste. We’re also making a cream cheese frosting, so you’ll also need more butter, plus cream cheese, powdered sugar, and more vanilla bean paste.
A couple of items unique to this recipe are lime juice and lime zest, which will give flavor to both the cake and the icing. And – to top it all off – as soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, we’ll give them a true margarita flavor by brushing them with a mixture of tequila and triple sec. This is admittedly optional – many people don’t drink, and even those who do might not make their margaritas at home. While these liquors definitely add a “zing” to the cupcakes, it is a subtle flavor, and it can be replicated with lime juice and/or orange juice.
Once you have assembled your ingredients, it’s time to bake! Start by filling a cupcake tin with brightly-colored liners and preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar before mixing in the vanilla bean paste. Stir in eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition, before adding in your lime juice and milk. (Pro tip: don’t pour the lime juice directly into your milk. Pour them into your batter separately – unless you want your milk to curdle.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Slowly mix this into your primary batter.
Once your batter is homogenous, fill each of your cupcake liners approximately 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake these cupcakes for 12-17 minutes, until a toothpick placed in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Whilst the cupcakes are baking, combine 1 oz of each tequila and triple sec in a small bowl. As soon as your cupcakes come out of the oven, carefully move them to a wire rack and brush them with the alcohol mixture.
While your cupcakes cool, prepare the icing. Cream together butter and sugar using and electric mixer. Mix in the vanilla bean paste and lime zest before slowly stirring in the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is completely combined, you have the option of adding food coloring – I mixed in just a hint of green gel food coloring to give the icing a pastel green hue.
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, plop your icing into a piping bag and use it to frost your cupcakes. If you like, garnish with some lime zest, a cocktail umbrella, or a gummy lime for extra ambiance.
Enjoy these fresh, cocktail-inspired cupcakes! If you make them at home, please tag your social media photos with @WhiskAverseBaking, or leave a message in the comments below
- Cupcake pan
- Cupcake liners
- Pastry brush
- Electric hand or stand mixer
- ½ cup butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 oz tequila optional
- 1 oz triple sec or orange liqueur optional
- ½ cup butter room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest for garnish
- Fill a cupcake tin with brightly-colored liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition, before mixing in lime juice and milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Slowly mix into main batter.
- Once all ingredients are completely combined, fill cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake for 12-17 minutes, until a toothpick placed in the center of each cupcake comes out clean.
- While cupcakes are baking, combine tequila and triple sec in a small bowl. While cupcakes are cooling but still warm, use a pastry brush to sweep the alcohol mixture over the surface of the cupcakes. Repeat over cupcakes until you have used all of the alcohol mixture.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare your icing. Beat together butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer. Once thoroughly combined, mix in vanilla bean paste. Slowly add powdered sugar until the mixture is creamy. Mix in lime juice and zest.
- Place icing in a piping bag and frost cupcakes as desired.