Margarita Cupcakes

These Margarita Cupcakes are a fun dessert to serve at an adult party.  These are lime infused cupcakes with a bit of tequila and Grand Marnier in them.  They’re frosted with a lime buttercream frosting.

Margarita Cupcakes garnished with a lime wedge

Cinco de Mayo will soon be here. Though it’s a Mexican holiday, here in the USA, Cinco de Mayo celebrations are pretty widespread… mostly an excuse to eat Mexican food and partake in downing a few margaritas. We had a party last year for that very reason. These Margarita Cupcakes are fun for a Cinco de Mayo party, but they surely can be made for any festive, adult occasion…emphasis on adult. They do have a bit of tequila in them, so it’s probably best to keep them away from the little ones.

There is also some Grand Marnier in these cupcakes.  Grand Marnier can be pricey, so you can always pick up a tiny bottle at a liquor store, or you can substitute Cointreau or Triple Sec (which is a bit cheaper).  Those who don’t drink might ask if you can omit the alcohol in this recipe… you might try making them using only the margarita mixer, but I can’t vouch for the flavor since I haven’t tried it that way.

Margarita Cupcakes Batter

These Margarita Cupcakes are simple cupcakes that begin with a box of white cake mix. The margarita ingredients. above are mixed in along with egg whites, vegetable oil and lime zest. The margarita flavor takes over, so you don’t even notice that it’s made with a box mix.

Margarita Cupcakes garnished with lime slices and tequila shots

The icing is a Lime Buttercream. I added the lime juice slowly until I got the flavor I wanted. Just a very mellow lime flavor is best to go with the tangy flavor of the cupcake (the tequila flavor doesn’t really come through so much).  Garnish with little lime slices, and add some shots of tequila on your dessert tray too!

Margarita Cupcakes garnished with a Tequila Shot

I thought this might be a fun way to serve them too, but then things might get kind of, um, interesting when you have your guests licking the bottoms of the shot glasses.  In the photo pictured above, I made larger-sized cupcakes in the large muffins pans to accommodate the size of a shot glass on top.

 Have fun with these… they were a big hit with my taste testers!

If you’re looking for more delicious recipes to serve at your Mexican-themed party, you might enjoy serving my Slow Cooker Mexican Street Corn Dip or these Pineapple Margaritas.  This Cinco de Mayo Mexican Charcuterie Board would be an awesome display too.

4.5 from 2 votes
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Margarita Cupcakes

These are fun for a Cinco de Mayo party, but they surely can be made for any festive, adult occasion…emphasis on adult. They do have a bit of tequila in them, so it’s probably best to keep them away from the little ones.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 269 kcal

Ingredients

CAKE:

  • 9 ounces margarita mix
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

LIME BUTTERCREAM ICING:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • green food coloring, if desired
  • small lime slices for garnish, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.

PREPARE THE CUPCAKES:

  1. Whisk together margarita mix, tequila and Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Measure out 1 1/4 cups for the recipe; pour the rest on some ice and drink it while making the cupcakes.

  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the cake mix, egg whites, oil, lime zest and 1 1/4 cups of the margarita mix from step 1. Blend on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and blend for two additional minutes. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

  3. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (about 3/4 full). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

PREPARE THE ICING:

  1. Place the butter in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until the butter is fluffy. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar, lime juice, zest and salt. Mix until thick and creamy. Add more powdered sugar until the frosting is of a good spreading (or piping) consistency. Mix in a tiny amount of green food coloring or gel paste if you'd like the frosting to have a green tint. Ice the cupcakes in whatever manner you prefer... spreading or piping the frosting. Use small lime slices as garnish.

Recipe Notes

TIPS:

  • *Conversions: 9 ounces = a little over a cup, 3 ounces = a little less than 1/3 cup, 3/4 ounce = 1 1/2 Tablespoons
  • *Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur- sub another kind if you'd like or add in some orange juice.
  • *Don't worry too much about exact measuring for the margarita mix/tequila/Grand Marnier. Just eyeball it and measure out the 1 1/4 cups that you'll need for the recipe.
  • *If you just spread frosting on the cupcakes (rather than piping), you'll probably have a bit of frosting leftover.
  • *If you prepare these a day before, it's best to place them into a covered container and refrigerate them. Remove them to room temperature a couple of hours before serving. Of course, they're best if eaten the day they're made.
Nutrition Facts
Margarita Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving (1 cupcake)
Calories 269 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 161mg 7%
Potassium 20mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Sugars 35g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 4.7%
Vitamin C 0.5%
Calcium 4.4%
Iron 2.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Comments

  • Mick wrote:

    Great looking recipe. I look forward to making it and tasting the results. I think it’s weird and crappy that you put a huge smiley face in the printer version of the recipe. It wastes ink and paper. We’re trying to save the planet, remember?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Oh my, I had NO IDEA that typing in a little smiley face in the instructions would result in a giant smiley face when printed. I have deleted it! Thank you for pointing that out- definitely not my intention!

  • Natalie wrote:

    I love margarita! These cupcakes look amazing!

  • Kathleen wrote:

    I shook lime slices in a mix of course salt and green sugar. A little saltiness on the frosting was PERFECT!

  • Tori wrote:

    Not knowing how sweet the frosting is…could you sprinkle margarita salt over the frosting?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’ve never tried it!

  • Lunye wrote:

    I made these this past weekend for a girls movie night at my aunts house.  They were a hit.  I piped a ring of icing around the outside and added some salt before filling in the top with the buttercream.  Thanks for this recipe.

  • Sophie wrote:

    Made these for my boyfriends birthday yesterday and they were a huge hit! I was skeptical about how they might turn out, but it was a fun touch to have something so unique. The cake is super fluffy and the frosting is to die for. I served each with a required shot of tequila to get the party going 😉

  • Lindsey wrote:

    Hello,

    Has anyone tried this recipe without using the Tequila or Grand Marnier? I would like to make these for a Fiesta themed party but don’t want to put any alcohol into it. Any other suggestions on alternative recipes that are non-alcohol? 

    These look delicious! 

    Thanks so much, 
    Lindsey

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You could probably just use the margarita mix (non alcoholic) in place of the amount of alcohol that is called for.

  • Jacquie wrote:

    These were yummy! I used the leftover margarita to brush the tops of the cupcake before frosting them. The frosting was soo good- a touch of lime and salt!

  • Cheryl wrote:

    Made these today!! I had Margaritas, (not the mix) and triple sec. Didn’t drink the extra mix of tequila, triple sec and margarita… added it to the frosting!! Then topped the cupcakes with a tiny bit of line zest! Super yummy!!

  • Whitney wrote:

    Yummy! I love your kind of cooking – enjoying an adult beverage to help with the recipe, The cupcakes are fantastic. If I don’t get them out of the house, I will eat them all.

  • Jaroslaw wrote:

    These look absolutely delicious, but I had to laugh at the “alcohol remaining after cooking” post. There are three ounces total booze in 24 cupcakes. So if 35% remains after 25 minutes, that means barely more than an ounce divided among 24 cupcakes, that is about one ml per cupcake. a ml is a very tiny amount.

  • Yvonne wrote:

    So I have been wanting to make these for so long and am holding back for fear of messing this up so a question just to ease my mind before i make them. When adding ingredients is it replace the water in the cake mix or make the cake mix as is and then add the margarita mix also?

  • Michelle P. wrote:

    How would I make these non alcoholic?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I suppose you could use all margarita mix instead of adding any actual alcohol. But you may prefer to just find a lime cupcake recipe instead!

  • Lisa Smith wrote:

    Truly inspired! A huge hit! Everyone loved them and raved at what a great idea it was. Definitely adding them to my regular cupcake rotation. Thanks!

  • Marcy wrote:

    I found this info from an author who has a book on cakes/cupcakes that use alcohol.
    She states, “when booze is mixed into the batter and baked 40 % is retained for cupcakes baked for 15 minutes and 25% for a cake baked an hour. But when soaked into the cake after baking 70% of the alcohol is retained. Heat and exposure to air is what makes alcohol dissipate a little. Most of our frostings and creams are not heated, so 100% is retained.”

    Everyone always thinks alcohol is totally baked off, and that’s not true. You would have to cook something for hours and even then, there would be trace amounts. Not a big deal for most people, but for some, it is still a concern.

    Here is the site I got the info from: http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/2010/07/booze-cakes-alcohol-cupcake-interview.html

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Great info- thanks for sharing!

  • Joni wrote:

    Can these be frozen for future use?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I guess the cupcakes themselves can be if they are sealed well… but I wouldn’t frost until serving.

  • Michelle Maybury wrote:

    Margarita Cupcakes,,,,,,,wonderful, made them for an adult Halloween Party.
    Just made another batch with same ingredients, except for the Grand Marnier and Tequila. They also came out great..I called these Key Lime Cupcakes.Thanks for the great ideas. Michelle

  • Jessee wrote:

    Hm. I was also actually wondering if, since it would be a strawberry margarita, perhaps a strawberry cake mix might work out.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Sounds like a great idea!

  • Jessee wrote:

    Hello, there! I was actually thinking about making these tomorrow for a friend of mine and I was wondering: If I changed the recipe and used strawberry mix instead of classic lime, would it turn out the same? Also, if I did substitute in the strawberry mix, is there anything you’d recommend using instead of lime zest?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I think it would probably turn out fine, except I’m not sure how much of the strawberry flavor would come out with just that substitution. You might try adding a strawberry frosting instead. I’d keep the lime zest in there.