These margarita cupcakes are perfect for your next party! Made with a fluffy and moist cake and topped with lime cream cheese frosting, they’re sure to be a hit! Plus they are super simple and can be made with tequila or alcohol free. Salud!
These margarita cupcakes are a great treat for any occasion, including Cinco de Mayo and birthday parties!
The cupcake base is made with lime zest, lime juice, and a little bit of tequila in it for that real margarita flavor, and the frosting is made with cream cheese and some more lime zest and juice. (See notes below for how to make these without tequila.)
The tang from the cream cheese pairs great with the lime in the cupcake and it makes the perfect combination of not-too-sweet, not-too-limey and no bitterness from the tequila.
Just a classic margarita in cupcake form!
How to Make Margarita Cupcakes
First, preheat your oven to 350℉ and line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. I like using these parchment paper cupcake liners because they never stick to the actual cake!
Then, mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately in two bowls before mixing them together.
When mixing the wet ingredients, make sure that you soften the butter prior to mixing. It makes the mixing process go a lot faster and also helps fully incorporate the rest of the wet ingredients. If your butter is cold, you’ll end up with lumps and it takes longer to cream it until it’s smooth.
Tip: If you forget to let your butter soften to room temperature ahead of time, here’s a trick from Sally’s Baking Addiction on how to do it quickly!
Evenly pour or spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they’re about ⅔ full. Filling them ⅔ of the way gives them the perfect shape and size. If you fill the liner to the top, it might spill over while baking.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
When the cupcakes are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely before frosting. If you frost your cupcakes warm, the frosting will melt! Experience (and Paul and Prue from The Great British Bake Off) taught me that.
the Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
While the cupcakes are baking, I like making the cream cheese frosting.
Simply mix together the softened butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until completely smooth. Then mix in the the vanilla extract, lime zest, lime juice, and salt before mixing in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Tequila and Alcohol-Free Version
If you’re using tequila, you can use any kind that you prefer. I used an añejo variety that added a subtle smokiness to each cupcake, but blanco or reposado also work.
To make margarita cupcakes without tequila, use milk instead of tequila.
Decorating Margarita Cupcakes
You can smear a dollop of frosting on each cupcake to keep it simple, or use your favorite piping tip if you want to get fancy. I used a large Wilton #12 round tip, but you can use whatever you have.
I also topped each cupcake with small lime slices, fresh lime zest, and white sugar sprinkles.
To store, cover the cupcakes and refrigerate for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend leaving the frosted cupcakes out at room temperature for over 8 hours.
Have leftover frosting? Store it in an airtight container refrigerate it for up to a week.