When I found out that the theme for this weekend’s tailgate was Mexican Fiesta, I realized I had a serious problem. Because of the traveling involved from Chicago to Champaign, I had to make something that didn’t have to be kept hot or cold. Now, you tell me what kind of Mexican Fiesta foods don’t fall in one of those two categories!
But fear not. I found something. Margarita Cupcakes! I was super excited about these little boozy bites of goodness! I don’t make a lot of cupcakes, but I think these ones came out great, if I do say so myself. With a serious burst of lime, the bite of tequila and the zip of salt, there were several distinct flavors that all came together to truly taste like a margarita.
Worth noting … I doubled this recipe in the photos below. However, I only made one batch of frosting and it turned out just perfectly.
1½ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk*
*To make a buttermilk substitue, add 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice into a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Top off with milk. Let set for 5 minutes.
Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined.
Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand. It will end up with a thick, fluffy consistency.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached.
Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then move to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Frost cupcakes and garnish with a sprinkling of salt.
Serve with Illini Football!