The #3 and #4 most popular recipes on this site both came out of a box: Margarita Cupcakes and Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. I’ve been wanting to make both from scratch since those first batches came out of the oven.
The original Margarita Cupcakes used a boxed white cake mix mixed with a homemade margarita and were topped with an American-style buttercream. To make the scratch Margarita Cupcakes fresher, I nixed the box and used Martha Stewart’s lemon cupcake recipe, swapping the lemon with lime. I topped the cupcakes with Martha’s perfectly fluffy Swiss Meringue Buttercream and spiked it with fresh lime juice and tequila.
No preservatives. No anti-caking agents. No artificial coloring. Just cake, frosting, and booze. The way dessert should be 🙂
Cupcake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream FAQs
Is a frosting with raw eggs safe?
The eggs aren’t raw – bringing them to 160 degrees is key. If you’re uncomfortable or concerned about the eggs, use this American-style Tequila Lime Buttercream instead.
Can I make this without tequila?
Sure. Don’t brush the cupcakes with tequila and replace the tequila in the frosting with more lime juice.
Having problems with your swiss meringue buttercream? Read how to fix it here.
A boozy, homemade cupcake and fun frosting inspired by our favorite cocktail.
- For the Lime Cupcakes
- 3 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temp
- 3 limes, zested and juiced
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup tequila, for brushing cupcakes (or half tequila/half orange liqueur, optional)
- For the Tequila-Lime Buttercream
- 2 cups sugar
- 8 egg whites
- 3 sticks butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1-2 Tbsp Tequila
- Preheat oven to 325. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one.
- Add lime zest and lime juice.
- Turn mixer to the low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated.
- Fill each muffin cup ~3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.
- (Optional) While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila or tequila/orange mixture.
- To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer.
- Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes).
- Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back together.
- Add lime juice and 1 Tbsp tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tablespoon of tequila, if desired. Having problems with your swiss meringue buttercream? Read how to fix it here.
Yields: 24 Cupcakes
Estimated time: 1 hour