You don't have to choose between drinks and dessert.

Pam Lolley
Liv Dansky

Gallery

Credit: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe Summary

active:
35 mins
bake:
20 mins
cool:
30 mins
total:
1 hr 25 mins
Yield:
24 cupcakes
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If you're in need of a fun dessert for a margarita lover, these Margarita Cupcakes will be the hit of the party. A doctored-up white cake mix and tequila-spiked frosting (yes, really!) make these the easiest and most memorable cupcakes you've ever made. Lime-flavored gelatin mix makes our Margarita Cupcakes the perfect shade of light green, and adds a hint of tanginess. When making a homemade cake batter, it's important to not overbeat after adding the dry ingredients because it can make the texture of the cake tough. Cake mixes, on the other hand, actually have to be mixed for two to three minutes to ensure that they bake and rise properly. The margarita frosting—which is the real showstopper here—balances out the tanginess of the cupcake with creamy sweetness and a bit of heat from the blanco tequila. And just like the cocktail, our Test Kitchen finished these treats with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. (Obviously, leave off if you prefer your margaritas sans salt.) It's the next best thing to a cocktail—or maybe it's even better?

Ingredients

CUPCAKES
MARGARITA FROSTING

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, gelatin, milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes.

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  • Place 24 paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) standard muffin pans; spoon batter into cups, filling each about three-fourths full (about 1/4 cup batter in each). Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool completely in pans on wire racks, about 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans. 

  • Prepare the Frosting: Beat softened butter and lime zest with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in powdered sugar, tequila, and 4 tablespoons of the lime juice until frosting is well combined and smooth. Beat in remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Add food coloring; beat on high speed until food coloring is evenly dispersed throughout and frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Spoon frosting into a 1-gallon ziplock plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small (about 1/2-inch-wide) hole. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, and garnish with flaky sea salt, lime wedges, and lime zest.

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