Margarita cupcakes are perfect for summer! A moist & fluffy lime cupcake with a sprinkle of tequila, lime buttercream, coarse salt, and a lime slice. These cupcakes are a perfect addition to parties, picnics, and all summer gatherings!
Ingredients for Margarita Cupcakes
- All-purpose flour: Regular, all-purpose flour works great for this recipe.
- Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar helps add sweetness to the cupcakes.
- Baking powder: Baking powder serves as the leavening agent to help the cupcakes rise.
- Salt: Salt serves as a flavor enhancer for the cupcakes.
- Milk: Use whatever milk you have, just make sure it is at room temperature.
- Lime juice: Fresh squeezed is best. Depending on the size of your limes, it may require between 4 to 6 limes total. You can use bottled lime juice, but the flavor is best with fresh.
- Lime zest: To pump up the lime flavor, use lime zest. Be sure to zest the limes prior to juicing!
- Egg: A room temperature egg helps provide structure to the cupcakes.
- Vegetable oil: You can also use canola oil or any neutral oil.
Lime buttercream frosting
- Unsalted butter: Be sure your butter is at room temperature.
- Powdered sugar: No need to sift!
- Salt: To enhance the flavor of the buttercream.
- Heavy cream: Heavy cream helps dissolve the powdered sugar and makes the buttercream light and fluffy.
- Lime juice: Again, freshly squeezed is best!
- Lime zest: Also again, be sure to zest before you juice! You can also omit the lime zest if you wish.
- Tequila: Silver or gold – up to you!
- Lime slices
- Coarse salt
How to Make Margarita Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F & line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add in milk, egg, vegetable oil, lime juice, and lime zest.
- Whisk the dry and wet ingredients together until combined and smooth. Do not overmix.
- Portion into cupcake liners using a cookie scoop, 3/4 full.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the cupcakes bounce back when gently touched.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Lime buttercream frosting
- Whip the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on low. Then add the remaining half and continue to mix on low speed.
- Add in the salt. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.
- On low speed, slowly drizzle in the heavy cream followed by lime juice and lime zest.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high and whip for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Switch to a paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 2-3 minutes to remove air bubbles for a smooth buttercream.
Assembling the margarita cupcakes
- Once the cupcake have cooled, poke the top of the cupcake with a fork and sprinkle a small amount of tequila over the top of the cupcake.
- Using your favorite piping tip and piping bag, swirl on the lime buttercream.
- If desired, sprinkle the top of the cupcake with coarse salt and add a slice of lime.
Margarita Cupcakes Recipe Tips
Fresh lime zest and juice
Use fresh limes for the best result. Limes can vary in size and juicy-ness. Be sure to zest the limes before you juice them! A zester is a great tool to have in your kitchen that is helpful for cooking and baking! To get the most juice out of your limes, roll them on your countertop and press down firmly to get the juices flowing.
Adding the tequila
Be sure to gently poke the top of the lime cupcake with a fork before drizzling on the tequila. This helps creates “pores” for the tequila to soak into the cupcake. The easiest way to add the tequila is to use a teaspoon.
If you want to add some salt to your cupcakes for a little texture and additional margarita flavor, use a coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Do not use table salt, as the grains are too small and it will just make your cupcakes taste salty as opposed to having a great contrast of flavor. ALSO! Add the salt right before serving the cupcakes so it does not melt into the buttercream!
If you want to decorate your cupcakes with lime slices, add them right before serving, along with the coarse salt to prevent the lime slices from drying out! Be sure to remove the seeds so no one gets an extra surprise!
Storing and serving
Store the margarita cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If making ahead, I recommend adding the lime slice and coarse salt to the cupcakes immediately before serving. Be sure to bring the cupcakes to room temperature to soften the buttercream before adding the lime and salt.
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk room temperature
- ¼ cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 egg room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- zest of 1-2 limes
Lime Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
- zest of 1-2 limes optional
- ¼ cup tequila
- ½ tsp coarse salt optional
- 12 small slices of lime
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Add in milk, egg, vegetable oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk until the wet and dry ingredients are fully combined and the batter is smooth. Do not overmix the batter.
- Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back slightly when touched.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely.
Lime Buttercream Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add in room temperature unsalted butter. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides occasionally. The butter will be light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Add one half of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed setting until fully combined. Add remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low until incorporated.
- Increase the speed to medium and add the salt. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream and lime juice. Add lime zest if desired.
- Once the liquids are added, turn the speed on the mixer to high and whip for an additional 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure the frosting is well mixed.
- If desired, switch to a paddle attachment on the stand mixer and mix buttercream on low speed for 2 additional minutes to remove air bubbles to create smooth frosting.
Assembling Margarita Cupcakes
- Once the cupcakes are cooled, gently poke the top of the cupcakes with a fork. Drizzle tequila over the top of the cupcakes.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with a pastry bag and desired piping tip (my favorite is a Wilton 1M tip).
- If desired, sprinkle a small amount of coarse salt over the frosting and garnish with a slice of lime.