Happy Birthday to me! Since I can’t have alcohol at the moment, the next best thing is cupcakes. And cupcakes that mimic margaritas? I’ll take 5, thank you.
Margarita cupcakes are the perfect sweet thing to go with a Mexican fiesta or a warm (humid) summer day. They are cool and refreshing, bright and happy. I’ve never met a cupcake that wasn’t happy.
If you are thinking the margarita flavor and cupcakes do not go together, just try this recipe. I was skeptical, but they are so delicious. You have the option of adding tequila, and either way, they are just a great cupcake.
for the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 1/2 limes, juiced
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
for the frosting:
- 1 cups sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- Pinch fleur de sel (coarse salt, you don’t have to use specific fleur de sel)
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (or you can use tequila here)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 mini cupcake pans or 1 regular size cupcake pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla; scrape down sides of bowl and mix. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in 2 additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until just incorporated.
Pour batter into cupcake pans, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in a the bowl of a stand mixer (or a glass heatproof bowl) set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking pretty much constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer bowl to the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. Stir in the lime juice and heavy whipping cream (or tequila) and mix thoroughly. The frosting will look curdled, but continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes more (it will come together!!).
Frost cooled cupcakes with piping bag and large round tip, and garnish with candied lime or lemon slices or fresh lime (and perhaps a sprinkle of fleur de sel). Refrigerate cupcakes, taking out 1 hour before you plan to eat them. Buttercream can stay at room temperature, but I prefer to keep mine cold until I want to put them out.