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Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream

Soft buttery cupcakes loaded with lime zest and tequila! Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream are my new favorite way to celebrate. 

Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream

I made you cupcakes! It’s been awhile. I feel like a couple years ago during one particular stretch of family birthday bonanza, I was posting cupcake recipes every 15 minutes. I guess I got burned out on hand held cake.

I will say though that these Spiced Rum Cupcakes with Boozy Buttercream are one of THE MOST popular recipes on this site. So I based this new recipe on that one, just making a few changes here and there and adding all the margarita flavor I could possibly muster.

Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream are like a happy toast with cake!

Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Whipped Margarita Buttercream and lime zest

Toasting is appropriate because yesterday I had like THE COOLEST day ever. I was invited by SheKnows Media to attend a Town Hall Event discussing women’s issues, in particular the wage gap that exists between men and women. Then I got a second email saying that the Town Hall Discussion was with President Obama. Like, the President of the United States.

Um, what.

They invited ME to be part of a conversation with THE PRESIDENT.

I sort of freaked out.

I should probably take this minute to explain that I actually did not speak to the President. I could have submitted a question, but the thought of standing up in front of 200 people, plus all the news cameras they could fit into a room, and asking the leader of the free world a question completely terrifies me. There were some women that had the nerve to ask questions. Extremely eloquent, passionately worded questions. Those women are so much cooler than me.

A plate of tequila cupcakes covered in whipped margarita buttercream and wedges of lime

But I listened intently and came away with what I can only describe as hope.

The discussion was motivating and encouraging, and it was amazing to be in a room full of people that recognize the positive changes the last 8 years have brought about. They were also people that are dedicated to pushing through policies that will effect real change in my life, in your life, in our kids’ lives. The coolest thing about it was that that room full of game-changers were really just regular people.

We were everybody. We were nobody. We were working moms and single parents. We were people that have to accept government aid to get by even though we work full time jobs. We were students with debt and teachers that need a living wage. We were church-goers and staunch atheists and all the in-betweens. We were young and were were old, saving for retirement and collecting social security.

And all of us were on this common community ground, wanting to say our words but also wanting to see the change continue to move in the right direction.

Totally deserving of boozy cupcakes, right?

These cupcakes are AMAZING. They are super soft and loaded with citrus and tequila. If you like margaritas you will totally love these.

Tequila Cupcakes topped with Margarita Buttercream on a table covered in newsprint

Tips to Making the Best Tequila Lime Cupcakes

So listen. I’m not messing around when it comes to boozy desserts. Slow Cooker Boozy Peach Cobbler is loaded up with spiced rum from my favorite local rum distillery. Bourbon Cheesecake with Boozy Chocolate for Two is still one of the most popular recipes on this site and I wrote it back in 2014. You can find all my boozy recipes here in one place, but what I am saying is that I have a lot of practice. The trick is to find a good balance. Just like with a good Long Island Iced Tea (pro tip: try this Blue Hawaiian Long Island – it’s the jam) you want to know it’s boozy but you don’t really want to taste it. 

  • USE GOOD TEQUILA. I can’t emphasize this enough. This recipe calls for 3/4 cup tequila, so if you use the cheap stuff, you will definitely taste it. 
  • Don’t over -mix! This is true for most baked goods, but it really matters with from-scratch cake. In step 2 you want to mix JUST until coarse crumbles form. In step 3 mix until the batter is JUST combined. 
  • The tequila in these tequila lime cupcakes can be strong if you taste one straight out of the oven. That’s because the cake base is based on a rum cake recipe and rum is buttery. Tequila is not. So unless you LOVE the taste of tequila, you’ll do better to let these cool before taste-testing. That lets the sweetness of the cake temper the flavor from the alcohol and the agave in the tequila will really shine through. 

I made the Margarita Buttercream with Patron Citronage Orange Liqueur. It is my favorite thing to add to my margaritas and totally takes this frosting over the top.

More Boozy Cupcakes! 

I told you – it’s my specialty. 

Death by Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Bailey's Irish Banana Cupcakes

Death by Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes are DECADENT. there’s stout beer in the cake, Bailey’s Irish Creme in the frosting, and whiskey in the ganache. YASSS. 

Bailey’s Irish Banana Cupcakes are as good as they sound. The cream cheese frosting is made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and the banana cake is tender and buttery. 

Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream

Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream

Yield: 20 - 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 21 minutes
Total Time: 41 minutes

Soft buttery cupcakes loaded with tequila and lime zest. Topped with a Citron spiked buttercream, these Tequila Lime Cupcakes are perfect for celebrating.

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons + 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup tequila (use good tequila! The flavor will be there!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • zest of 2 limes

For the Margarita Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons Patron Citronage Orange Liqueur
  • juice of 1 lime (more or less to achieve your desired texture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 325F. Line 2 standard muffin pans with paper liners.

  2. Step 2

    In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil. Then add the flour, cornstarch, dry instant pudding mix, baking powder, and salt. Mix until coarse crumbles form.

  3. Step 3

    In a medium bowl lightly beat together the eggs, remaining 1/2 cup oil, tequila, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until combined, scraping down the sides to include all the dry bits. Stir in the lime zest.

  4. Step 4

    Fill the prepared muffin cups **See Note #2** and bake for 19 - 22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

  5. Step 5

    To make the buttercream, beat the butter until whipped and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time up to 2 1/2 cups. Then add the heavy cream and Orange Liqueur. Beat on medium high until combined, stopping a time or two to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining powdered sugar, beat until combined and then squeeze in the lime juice. **See Note #1** Then beat in the vanilla and kosher salt.

  6. Step 6

    Frost the cupcakes once they are cooled and garnish with more lime zest or lime slices and a sprinkle of sea salt if you'd like.

Notes

1. I used the juice of 1 whole lime in my frosting yielding a lighter, fluffier buttercream. I'd say start with half and go from there to achieve your perfect texture.
2. You will get 20 - 24 cupcakes, depending on the size. For this batch I filled my muffin cups to the top with batter and baked for 22 minutes. If you fill the 3/4 full, you'll only need to bake for about 19 or 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 510 Total Fat: 28g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 65mg Sodium: 260mg Carbohydrates: 56g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 44g Protein: 3g

 Oh oh! If you love tequila recipes, these Tequila Shrimp Tostadas are definitely worth checking out. Also Tanya a.k.a. my favorite food blog friend, made you a Tequila Bundt Cake AND Tequila Lime Chicken Pizza!! 

Tequila Shrimp Tostadas
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Marlene

Sunday 12th of November 2017

So the texture of the cupcakes came out really well, which did not surprise me as the batter is pretty similar to the recipe I use for rum cake. However, the cupcakes on their own were not sweet enough and the alcohol flavor was a little too much. Admittedly, I ate one unfrosted, immediately out of the oven, which may have contributed to that. I plan on letting these cupcakes cool down a bit and frosting them and will report back if the overly-alcoholy flavor has dissipated somewhat.

Marlene

Monday 13th of November 2017

Update! I left the cupcake overnight alone and the overly alcohol taste dissipated. All that is left if nice agave-grassiness expected from a nice blanco.

Jenna @ A Savory Feast

Friday 29th of April 2016

Margaritas and cupcakes are two of my favorite things! I love that you combined them into one delicious treat.

Lisa Stone

Monday 20th of April 2015

Heather, I agree, it was fantastic to come together as you beautifully describe:

"The coolest thing about it was that that room full of game-changers were really just regular people.

"We were everybody. We were nobody. We were working moms and single parents. We were people that have to accept government aid to get by even though we work full time jobs. We were students with debt and teachers that need a living wage. We were church-goers and staunch atheists and all the in-betweens. We were young and were were old, saving for retirement and collecting social security. And all of us were on this common community ground, wanting to say our words but also wanting to see the change continue to move in the right direction."

Thank you so much for taking the time to come and listen and validate this conversation. And I am SO making these cupcakes! :) I'm so proud you're a member of our network.

Best, Lisa

tanya

Friday 17th of April 2015

These are nothing short of amazing! There's so much flavor going on in these little guys with the tequila cake and that to-die-for buttercream! Plus you are super cool, you can totally say you met the president (sort of)