This Margarita Cake recipe is the best! It’s a super light and refreshing snack cake with great lemon-lime flavor. Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, and then scroll to the bottom of this post to print out the full recipe so you can make it at home.
Although I’m not always a huge fan of margaritas, I do happen to love this 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 recipe 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. I’ve made it for so many years now, and it’s always a huge hit with guests.
This cake would be a nice cake for pretty much all occasions… but I recommend: Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day. I’ve also served it at adult neighborhood parties, and everyone enjoys it. It’s a delicious one!
Can I leave out the tequila?
Yes! There is a small amount of tequila in the glaze- just one tablespoon. The tequila is added in to a hot lime simple syrup mixture, so it’s not exactly cooked out… but if you’re not a fan of tequila then it’s totally okay to leave it out. If you have guests who will be eating your cake who do not drink alcohol, it’s best to leave it out of the glaze. The cake will still be awesome without it.
Garnishes for Margarita Cake:
Make some lightly sweetened whipped cream. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a large bowl, add a heaping teaspoon of powdered sugar, and use and electric mixer to blend until thickened. Slice thin slices from fresh limes. Place a dollop of whipped cream on individual slices, and garnish with a lime slice (or cut into the slice and twist it for a fancier look).
Here are a few more margarita themed recipes you might enjoy:
- Margarita Cupcakes
- Strawberry Margarita Pie
- Margarita Fruit Dip
- Grilled Margarita Shrimp Kebabs
- Margarita Shrimp Bites
- Strawberry Margaritas
- 1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup plain or lemon flavored yogurt
LIME GLAZE & ASSEMBLY:
- 1/2 cup superfine granulated white sugar (see Recipe Notes below)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon tequila
- whipped cream and lime slices, for garnish (optional)
PREPARE THE CAKE:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the sugar, butter, baking soda and salt; 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.
- 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.
PREPARE THE GLAZE:
- Combine the sugar, lime juice and water in a saucepan and mix well. Cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the tequila.
- 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 dollop of whipped cream and a twisted lime slice.
- 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!
Can this recipe be made simply in a bundt pan?
I have not tried that!
I just made this for a work potluck. It turned out great! Everyone loved it.
Thanks for the great recipe!
I want to make this for a work potluck! Is this cake best served the same day? Or is it still good if I make it a day ahead? If I make it a day ahead, should I refrigerate? Should I wait to add the syrup til the day of? Any help would be appreciated as I plan to make this asap!
I think it would be fine made the day before. Maybe make sure it’s wrapped well (no need to refrigerate), and then do the syrup the day of. Or if you wanted… you could make a recipe and a half of the syrup and do some the day it’s made and a little more the day of!
This looks great. Thanks for a great recipe.
Can I just say that this recipe is amazing and super easy! I cant wait to whip it up again!
This cake is so delicious! Love the margarita flavors! Making this for Cinco de Mayo for sure!
Holy smokes, YUM!! Awesome idea!
Oh now this cake is my kinda cake!!! Yum
What a great FUN way to enjoy those margarita flavors! A perfect ending to a taco party.
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! ????
This will be a first…..Never had any kind of Margarita that wasn’t in a pitcher
Made the cake.
Love the cake.
Making it again!
Sounds so good!!
Probably a novice question but I have everything on hand except yogurt. Can I use sour cream instead? If so is it 1:1?
Well, I haven’t tried it with sour cream but cakes are usually okay with either.
Yummy! Do you suppose it would still taste good as a virgin margarita cake?
Of course! Just make a lime glaze and leave out the tequila!
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! 🙂
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!
It should be just fine overnight!
I would probably use LIME zest AND lemon zest in the cake. It would add a nice color to the cake.
I have a cupcake company and will definitely be giving this recipe a try — thanks for the great idea!
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! 🙂
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!
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!)
This recipe will definitely be dessert for my next Mexican dinner party!
I have a co-worker with a gluten allergy, but would love to make this cake for her. Any suggestions on substitutions?
@Krystal Obbink, I’m sorry to say that I know absolutely nothing about Gluten Free baking! Sorry I can’t be of help…
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!
@Kim B, I haven’t tried this particular recipe as cupcakes. I made a margarita cupcake once but it had a cake mix as a base https://www.recipegirl.com/2009/05/02/margarita-cupcakes-2/
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… 😉