Margarita Cupcakes | Cupcake Project

Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita cupcakes, like margaritas themselves, go down smooth, leaving you with just a small tickle in your mouth from the salted rim (yes, the rim of the margarita cupcakes has salt, but it’s mostly sugar).  The margarita cupcakes won’t get you drunk, but they are boozey.  There’s tequila in both the margarita cupcake batter and the margarita frosting.

The Margarita Cupcakes Back Story

I was invited to a Memorial Day game of wiffle ball (a game I hadn’t played in years – and as it turns out still haven’t). The last two parties that were hosted by the wiffle ball couple involved margaritas in some way so I felt that this one should, too.

Although we were were sitting on picnic tables in a shady St. Louis park, the cupcakes transported us to a glistening island shoreline.  There was no alcohol allowed in the park, but who would suspect that the margarita cupcakes I brought contained tequila?

Margarita Cupcakes Recipe

I found a recipe for margarita cupcakes on Baking Bites, one of my favorite blogs.  The margarita cupcake recipe originally came from a Vegan cupcake cookbook called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I’m not a vegan, but one nice feature of this cupcake was that the party’s host, who is lactose intolerant, was able to eat them (he put up with the small amount of butter in the frosting).  I may a very slight adaption to the frosting recipe, but the rest has not been changed.

Margarita Cupcake Recipe

Yield: 12 Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcake Recipe


    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest (1 lime)
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla soy milk (Regular 2% milk would also work.)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or soymilk
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • approximately 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • coarse colored sugar and salt for “rims”
  • Umbrella toppers (optional)


    Cupcake Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, soy milk, oil , tequila, vanilla and sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the lime mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Divide evenly among 12 cupcake liners.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 20-24 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed.
  6. Frosting Instructions
  7. Cream together butter/nonhydrogenated shortening (depending on whether you want the frosting vegan or not), heavy whipping cream or soymilk, lime juice, tequila, and confectioners’ sugar.
  8. Add in more sugar as needed to make the frosting smooth and spreadable.
  9. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
  10. Combine colored sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  11. Roll the edge of each cupcake in the sugar/salt mixture.
  12. Top with umbrellas.


Depending on how much frosting you like, you might consider cutting the frosting recipe in half. I ended up with a lot more frosting than I needed.


Other Margarita Cupcake Anecdotes

  1. Margarita cupcakes are not dangerous because of the alcohol. They are dangerous because one of my cupcake tasters cut the roof of his mouth with the coarse salt. We’re talking blood and all. I call that user error.
  2. Margarita is clearly not a winter kind of flavor, so I didn’t expect it to be a wedding contender at all. I just made it because it seemed like a perfect wiffle ball summer thing. However, I’ve been informed that a family member of bride to be said, “I don’t know what a blog is, but I know a great cupcake when I eat it.” Apparently, he tried to convince the couple to adjust their wedding theme so that this cupcake could make an appearance. We’ll have to make sure he gets to taste some of the future flavors. I like fans!


The margarita cupcake was chosen for the wedding! The others that were selected were Soda Fountain Cupcakes and Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes.

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34 Responses to Margarita Cupcakes

  1. Cheryl May 29, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    You’ve definately got some big fans from the families. They had all sorts of winter suggestions, like eggnog and peppermint, but my stepdad is holding out for “a cupcake for every season.”
    And I for one loved the actual cake–I thought it was kind of fluffy and just right, so don’t throw out the vegan recipe just yet.

  2. Stef May 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm #

    I was actually considering making an eggnog cupcake. I’ve even bookmarked a recipe for one. It’s in the cue in my head.

    As for peppermint, I think your stepdad is going to need to review the cupcake rules.

  3. Glen May 30, 2007 at 6:21 am #

    I think the real question on everybody’s mind is, “Can margarita cupcakes cause permanent or life-threatening injury, and what safety precautions should one take before consuming one?”

  4. Cheryl May 30, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    Yeah, we had the peppermint versus mint debate. I think Bryan’s under the impression that candy canes are a separate category, so we might need to clarify the rules.

    On a different subject, I know Penzey’s sells Dutch processed cocoa, if you need a supplier. Can’t wait to try the latest installment.

  5. Stef May 30, 2007 at 12:11 pm #

    You can tell Bryan that Peppermint is just a hybrid variety of mint.
    No further clarification needed.

    I’ve wanted to try Pensey’s , but they seem to always be closed when I am there. I’m going to have to check them out though. Thanks for the tip. Did you know they are a chain? I had no idea.

  6. Bryan May 30, 2007 at 1:28 pm #

    I understand that Stef had final say over some things (this doesn’t shock me).

    However, I would argue that there is a huge difference between peppermint and mint. I think of mint as in mint chip ice cream. A very different and unique flavor to peppermint. I understand that they might be a hybrid, but a different flavor is a different flavor

  7. Bryan May 30, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    Cake: A+ (Best Yet)
    Icing: B+
    Overall Taste: A-
    Appearance: B
    Overall Rating: A-
    Comment: I thought that these were very good. I was skeptical, but the salt/sugar was a nice addition. Also, I am over 5, so I was able to eat it without injuring myself. :-) These are great, but probably not winter cupcakes. Also, I would say no green icing, made it look messy.

  8. Cheryl May 30, 2007 at 2:30 pm #

    Nice rating system. I’ll have to try to remember details of all the cupcakes, but from here on it will be easier.

    And yes, I knew Penzey’s was a chain, but they’re still pretty fun. I love spices…

  9. Anonymous May 30, 2007 at 9:03 pm #

    The specific “cupcake of doom” that I had was hand picked by Stef and handed to me… Maybe she gave that one a rim of glass shards instead of sugar and salt. I recognize this possibility is completely unrealistic. We all know that Stef prefers to use words to cut me. I don’t blame the cupcake. I liked the cake part. Even the icing was good.

  10. Terri July 1, 2007 at 5:11 pm #

    Okay, I’m in love with anything that resembles the flavor of a Margarita, so I thought this one was great! My husband Alan is the family member that is really, really in favor of this one making an appearance at the wedding. However, I don’t think Margaritas really go with the New Years Eve them. But we host an annual Cinco de Mayo party – so what do you think Stef? You can come with Cheryl & Bryan and bring the dessert!
    PS I like the idea of an eggnog cupcake, but can’t imagine enjoying a peppermint cupcake.

  11. peace of cake January 30, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    This is such a fun idea! I once made a Patron cake for a friend’s birthday party and these would have been the perfect accompaniment (especially since no one could bring themself to actually cut the cake).

    Patron cake pic:

    I think these cupcakes would look great with one of those jelly candies that look like a lime on the side or maybe a candied lime zest curl. Can’t wait to make ’em!

  12. C May 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    How did you rim it with salt? Methinks I might be slow and have missed that part.

  13. Stef May 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    After you finish frosting the cupcake, just put a salt and sugar mixture on a small plate. Dip the edge of the cupcake into the plate and slowly turn it.

  14. Heather Campo January 2, 2009 at 5:03 am #

    Tried this recipe and LOVED it! Wrote about it on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Lornsadaisy January 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    gotta try these too – they look fantastic!

  16. Northwest Jane January 26, 2009 at 9:03 pm #

    I love margaritas and cupcakes, but despise soy milk. Can I make the cupcakes with “real” milk?
    I just found your blog and love it! I tried your yellow cake recipe over the weekend. I’d show pictures, but all the cupcakes are gone : )

  17. Stef January 27, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    Northwest – Sure, any kind of milk would work. Glad you are enjoying the blog!

  18. Sylvia February 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    I wonder if these would work in the scoops. (Like you did with the Fiesta cupcakes)

  19. Stef February 10, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Interesting idea. I hadn’t thought of it, but I don’t see why not!

  20. Carly Ann May 7, 2009 at 6:49 am #

    My girlfriend & I made a big batch of these cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday and they were a huge success. Thanks for posting this! :)

  21. Anonymous June 14, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Made these for two friends 21sts and they were successful. My first from scratch cupcakes too. thanks

  22. delicieux September 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    I love the inclusion of the umbrellas in the cupcakes. So cute! They look and sound so delicious too. Perfect for a party.

  23. Kathryn September 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Yum! I wish my baking creations looked that pretty! You should try these banana chocolate chunk cupcakes. They are incredible!

  24. Rebecca March 8, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    I made these cupcakes a few months ago at an office fundraiser bakesale. They were a huge hit! I think the idea of “margaritas” in the workplace helped that along.

    Besides which, they were absolutely delicious and I’ve remade them several times since. Thank you so much for your creative and genius recipe!

    My only alteration was to the icing – at first I couldn’t get it right and it was way too liquidy. So I ended up combining it with store bought pilsbury vanilla icing. it came out amazing and I’ve been doing it that way since!!

  25. Stef March 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Rebecca – Have you tried my vanilla bean buttercream? I think you might like it better than the Pillsbury – at least I hope so!

  26. Tina Marie March 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    They can also be dangerous due to the sharp edges on the metal cap of the tequila bottle which stabbed my hand and gave me a “splinter”. But the cupcakes currently in my oven smell AWESOME!

  27. Becca Leigh July 17, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Stef! so much irony! I hadn’t until now checked your response to my icing/Pillsbury combination post, to which you said “you should try the vanilla bean buttercream.” You may notice i have JUST commented under the VANILLA BUTTERCREAM post about how this is the greatest icing recipe find of my life.

    About to make the margarita cupcakes again for an office shindig. Do you think the Vanilla Bean icing would really go well with the margarita cupcake? I liked the whole Tequilla-icing factor… Just not how runny it turned out..

  28. Anonymous January 27, 2012 at 11:40 am #


  29. Susan E March 8, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Am making these cupcakes for the second time, both times they came out perfectly btw, The first time I made them for a March of Dimes fundraiser. The hospital is having another MoD bake sale and have had many requests for them from co-workers. This time I am going to rim them with the sugar-salt mixture. I bought some coarse sugar(shimmer white sugar), added a little salt, too salty, so I added some regular table sugar…perfect! Then I added some pink glitter gel to it so it would show up against the lime green color I made the icing. I’m sure these will sell out as quickly as the last ones did!
    Thanks for coming up with so many great recipes! I can loose myself for hours reading your blog site!


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