With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner I wanted to come up with a treat that captures the spirit (no pun intended) of celebrating this holiday… hot, spicy Mexican food washed down with icy, sweet tart, margaritas. Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated in California continuously since the 1860’s, and began with the victory of Mexico over the French. Growing up in Southern California we had special events in school to commemorate Cinco de Mayo and then as I moved into adulthood it became a reason to have a party which is where I met my husband 20 years ago. A great reason to continue the celebration!
A couple of weeks after I started developing my margarita cupcake (and yes, it can take several attempts to get recipes just right based on input from my taste testers) I came across a margarita cupcake recipe in the book I was reading, Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys by Pamela DuMond. This is a quirky, cute culinary cozy with baker Annie Graceland flying back home to Wisconsin in July…to hot, humid unbearable weather. (I could commiserate since my in-laws live in Illinois and I try to avoid visiting during summer months at all costs!) Annie’s mom has signed her up, without her consent, for what Mom thought was a hot pie contest but in reality was a hot GUY contest. One of the contestants, a guy Annie used to babysit as a kid, is murdered and his ghost begs her to solve the crime, which she does. I typically don’t read paranormal books, but this book had a light touch and such funny characters I could easily enjoy the book. I am happy to say that there are 3 more books in her series! Plus there were many, many delicious sounding recipes to try!
I ended up sticking with my own margarita cupcake recipe since I had already adapted it to be dairy-free for my husband. Pamela DuMond’s delicious sounding version used sour cream and, unfortunately, I haven’t found any good substitutes so far.
So bake up a batch and enjoy your own spirited celebration!
Makes 18 cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter or vegan margarine, room temperature
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk (2%, coconut, almond or rice)
3 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon Boyajian Pure Lime Oil (optional)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons tequila
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
4 cups (18 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter or vegan margarine, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon Boyajian pure lime oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Lime wedges, coarse sea salt or lime zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and lightly spritz with cooking spray.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
Measure out the milk and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and lime oil (if using) together and set aside. (If you mix the alcohol and lime juice with the milk, the mixture will curdle.)
In a large mixing bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter for approximately 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. This should take about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in the lime zest.
Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine using low speed. Add about 1/3 of the milk and mix. Continue alternating the flour mixture and the milk until everything is thoroughly combined.
Stir in the tequila mixture.
Fill the cupcake tins 3/4 of the way full with the batter. I like using a 2-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop for this.
Bake 19 – 21 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking.
Cupcakes will be done when they spring back lightly when touched and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake is mostly clean.
Cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack.
Immediately poke holes in the top of the cupcakes using the tines of a fork.
Brush with the tequila glaze, allowing the syrup to soak in before applying more. Use all the syrup.
Cool completely before frosting.
Place water and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 – 1-1/2 minutes. Remove and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Heat in additional increments of 20 seconds if needed.
When sugar is dissolved, add tequila and Grand Marnier. Set aside until cupcakes are finished baking.
I found that my standing mixer did a better job mixing the frosting into fluffy deliciousness than my electric hand-held mixer, but either will work.
Mix the tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and lime oil (if using). Set aside.
Cream the butter or margarine, then gradually add 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar along with the salt. Beat until the sugar is thorough incorporated.
Add half of the tequila mixture to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Beat until incorporated.
Add the remaining sugar and beat until mixed in.
Add remaining tequila mixture and once incorporated turn mixer to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, approximately 3 – 4 minutes.
Pipe frosting onto cupcakes using a large star tip and garnish.