Margarita Cupcakes

As the very loyal Mexican I am, I like to cook with Tequila. I’ve made tequila chicken and pasta and usually marinate steaks in a bit of Tequila. However, I had never tried to use tequila on sweet desserts. With the Cinco de Mayo craze I was able to find many different varieties of tequila and margarita cupcakes. (Please note we don’t actually celebrate and go all out for Cinco de Mayo in Mexico but I love to party anyway). Cinco de Mayo went by and I didn’t make them so I was waiting for an excuse to try to make them. What better excuse than the Iberoamerican Association’s Tequila Tasting Party?

I looked at many different recipes and most of them called for Margarita Mix or other ingredients I could just not find in Jakarta or I was not willing to pay four times their price for. So, I finally settled for a recipe, but in my demise it called for buttermilk, almost impossible to find in Jakarta. So after googling a bit more, I was happy to find a recipe for making a buttermilk substitute. Then it came down to trying to figure out how much juice to add to the recipe as the juice  and zest of 1 ½ limes can vary a lot from country to country and even supermarket to supermarket. So after googling even further I found a great guide to juicing and zesting and the quantities different citrus fruits yield.

So here you go, the margarita cupcake recipe, tequila-lime buttercream recipe, buttermilk substitute recipe and juicing guide. Enjoy!

Margarita Cupcakes

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: About 15 cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes


1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (About 4 or 5 small limes)

1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest (From the limes you juiced, it’s ok to add a bit more or less)

2 tablespoons tequila

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (recipe calls for ¼ but I love vanilla so I added a bit more)

½ cup buttermilk substitute (recipe below)

To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)

6. 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.

7. 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, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove 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.


Tequila-Lime Icing


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2¾ cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons tequila

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (original recipe doesn’t call for it)

Pinch of coarse salt


1. Whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes.

2. 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.

3. Mix the lime juice, tequila and salt and then add it on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy.

4. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached.

5. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime or lemon zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.


Buttermilk Substitute

From here


  • Milk (just under one cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice


1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.

2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.

3. Let stand for five minutes. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

This is actually really amazing. I couldn’t believe it worked. I used lime juice instead of vinegar since the recipe already had lime in it so I thought I could do no wrong. The end result is a nice thick creamy buttermilk.


Citrus Juicing Guide

From here

1 medium lemon = approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice = 1 tablespoon of lemon zest (peel)

1 medium lime = approximately 2 tablespoons lime juice = 1 teaspoon lime zest (peel)

1 medium orange = approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice = 2 tablespoons orange zest (peel)

10 thoughts on “Margarita Cupcakes

    • It doesn’t ! THey are really good and you can actually feel the tequila kick! My 2 year old really wanted one but I just had to say no… these are for mommy….

  1. Thanks for the tips on making buttermilk…And your cupcake looks great, I’m sure it taste yummy too…. I wish I knew it earlier so I could beg you to bring me some 🙂

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