Margarita Cake

This Margarita Cake recipe is the best!  Click below to watch a short video showing you how to make this recipe.  Scroll to the bottom of this post to print out the full recipe.

Although I’m not a huge fan of margaritas, I do happen to love Margarita Cake.

I tested this recipe years ago when I was involved in putting together the Junior League of San Diego Cookbook: California Sol Food. The cake received very high ratings from testers and therefore made it into the cookbook. And it’s a margarita cake recipe that doesn’t use a cake mix for a base.

It’s a light and lemony cake with a lime-tequila glaze. It’s absolutely delicious & if you don’t like tequila, you can definitely leave it out and still have a fantastic dessert.

This cake would be a nice cake for pretty much all occasions… but I recommend:  Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.  It’s a delicious one!

Yield: 16 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Margarita Cake

Here's a delicious Mexican-style cake that doesn't start with a cake mix! It is a nice, light cake with a touch of margarita flavor on top. Don't skip the whipped cream and the cute lime slice garnish.



  • 1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plain or lemon-flavored yogurt


  • 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • whipped cream and lime slices, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan.
  2. Prepare the cake: Combine the sugar, butter, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and beat until blended. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the flour and yogurt alternately, beating well after each addition.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  4. Prepare the glaze: Combine the sugar, lime juice and water in a saucepan and mix well. Cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Stir in the tequila.
  5. Assembly: Invert the warm cake onto a serving platter and brush with the glaze until it is absorbed. Let stand until cool. Slice and garnish each serving with a twisted lime slice and a dollop of whipped cream.


  • If you’re having trouble inverting the cake onto a serving platter, or if you’re afraid that it might fall apart, it’s ok to just spoon the glaze over the top of the cake while it’s in the pan. Then cut neat slices and transfer to a serving platter.
  • If you don't cook with alcohol, it's okay to leave it out & just make a lime glaze to drizzle on top.
  • If you don't not have superfine sugar and don't wish to purchase it at your market, simply place regular granulated white sugar in your blender and give it a few whirs until it turns into superfine sugar!

Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links included within this post.


  1. postedApr 12, 2014 2:01 AM
    Peggy Ong, Singapore

    Baked last night. Added more lemon juice to the cake mixture & more lime juice to the glaze. Mama Mia….! It turned out fantastic n yummy! Will definitely bake again! ????

  2. postedFeb 21, 2014 12:07 PM
    Peggy ichinodr

    I love how considerate you are of your readers; your suggestions at the end of the recipe are so thoughtful.

  3. postedNov 2, 2013 6:21 PM
    Dan B

    This will be a first…..Never had any kind of Margarita that wasn’t in a pitcher

  4. postedMay 20, 2013 2:37 PM
    Natalie S.

    Made the cake.
    Love the cake.
    Making it again!

  5. postedMay 2, 2013 4:20 AM

    Sounds so good!!

  6. postedFeb 22, 2013 8:34 AM

    Instead of tequila, what do you think of the daily’s margarita mix?

    • postedFeb 24, 2013 4:50 PM

      I’m not familiar with that.

  7. postedMay 2, 2012 8:46 AM

    Probably a novice question but I have everything on hand except yogurt. Can I use sour cream instead? If so is it 1:1?

    • postedMay 2, 2012 8:58 AM

      Well, I haven’t tried it with sour cream but cakes are usually okay with either.

  8. postedMay 2, 2012 8:07 AM

    Yummy! Do you suppose it would still taste good as a virgin margarita cake?

    • postedMay 2, 2012 8:59 AM

      Of course! Just make a lime glaze and leave out the tequila!

  9. postedFeb 3, 2012 9:29 AM

    Hello! I wanted to let you know I’ve included this post in my “5 Recipes I would love to make” Friday round-up. I loved the Mamacita Needs a Margarita Cake post. Totally made me LOL for real 😉 Please let me know if you’d like me to remove your picture and link from the round-up. Thanks! 🙂

  10. postedJul 11, 2011 6:14 PM

    This sounds perfect for a friend’s birthday. She loves her some margaritas! Question: How does this do overnight? Does the cake get soggy if baked and glazed the night before? Thanks!

    • postedJul 11, 2011 8:59 PM

      It should be just fine overnight!

  11. postedJun 6, 2011 5:56 AM
    Catherine Catala

    I would probably use LIME zest AND lemon zest in the cake. It would add a nice color to the cake.

  12. postedMay 5, 2011 11:21 AM

    I have a cupcake company and will definitely be giving this recipe a try — thanks for the great idea!

  13. postedAug 27, 2010 7:49 AM

    Made this for bunco with the girls only I made a layer cake. Actually 3: Margarita, Strawberry Daq, and Irish Car Bomb in the shape of dice…yes I’m crazy. ANYWAY, the cake is delicious! I had to “taste test.” Right? I made a butter cream frosting and added tequila and lime juice to it. OMG>>>>SO GOOD! Can’t wait for the girls to try it!

    Loaded up my party cart with wine (from the grill contest), so thanks again! 🙂

  14. postedApr 30, 2010 11:10 AM

    When you consider that 80 Proof liquor has 40% alchol, and vanilla extract is 35% alchol, it’s not much diffence. We even feed children cakes with vanilla, right? Heck yes..I’d take this cake to work!

  15. postedApr 30, 2010 7:06 AM
    Rose in Ohio

    So glad you posted this! It’s exactly what I’m going to take to work on Cinco De Mayo. No need to even mention the tiny little splash of tequila, right? (Not that it would discourage any of MY co-workers!)

  16. postedApr 29, 2010 2:59 PM
    Mary Kuhn

    This recipe will definitely be dessert for my next Mexican dinner party!

  17. postedApr 29, 2010 1:18 PM
    Krystal Obbink

    Hey Lori,
    I have a co-worker with a gluten allergy, but would love to make this cake for her. Any suggestions on substitutions?

    • postedApr 29, 2010 1:49 PM

      @Krystal Obbink, I’m sorry to say that I know absolutely nothing about Gluten Free baking! Sorry I can’t be of help…

  18. postedApr 29, 2010 12:44 PM

    This should work as cupcakes, right? I am competing in a cupcake challenge that has a Mexican theme and am still trying to decide if I should bake a margarita cupcake or a horchata cupcake, but I think I’ll use this recipe if I choose margarita. It looks great!

  19. postedJun 5, 2009 7:56 AM

    Oh, yay!! Finally a margarita cake that doesn’t use a yucky cake mix. I’m going to make this today! May have to sample our tequila and make sure it has not spoiled… 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *