Ahh, summertime! As of this weekend, it finally has started to feel like summer to me. My summer classes are over and my only responsibilities this summer are my part-time job and my internship. Freeeeeedom!
And what better way to celebrate freedom than a baked version of a classic cocktail? I actually made these Margarita Cupcakes for a Cinco de Mayo party but am just now getting around to sharing the recipe here. These cupcakes were a hit in both taste and appearance. It’s a fun treat to bite into the “salted” rim and experience an explosion of lime flavor, thanks to real lime juice and margarita mix.
My version was non-alcoholic but you could easily make an adult version if you are so inclined. I’ve actually never [!] tried a real margarita–I’ve only had the virgin version, but after this tasty treat, I think that is going to have to change ASAP.
I must admit, before making these Margarita Cupcakes I was a tiny bit skeptical about all the lime flavoring and considered subbing lemon juice for the lime juice and using strawberry margarita mix instead of lime. But I am so glad that I didn’t, because of the use of lime is what really makes these cupcakes stand out. It has been my observation that limes seem to be one of the most under-rated and negleted citrus fruits, at least for baking purposes. Why is that? Perhaps they are just seen as the smaller, tarted cousin of the lemon, best used for garnish or a hint of flavor in Mexican cuisine. But no! Do not buy into the propaganda! I won’t anymore. Rest assured, these cupcakes have moved limes front and center in my radar and I’m sure you will be seeing their presence again soon. Enjoy!
for the cake:
- 1 – 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons super fine sugar [can be purchased or you can just pulse regular sugar in the food processor/blender to achieve the same result]
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1 can of frozen lime margarita mix [thawed for about 15 minutes before using]
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
for the icing:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 4- 1/2 to 5- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- green food coloring
- white or green sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pan with 18-20 liners or grease with Crisco/butter, as desired.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together egg whites, margarita mix, canola oil, and lime juice. Then, fold in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Batter will be quite thin and runny.
Spoon mixture into prepared pans, filling liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before icing.
When cupcakes are cooled, make icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter on medium until well blended. Add powdered sugar in 1/3-1/2 cup increments, blending fully in between additions. Ways to decide how much powdered sugar to add depends on the desired level of sweetness as well as level of thickness. Add a little bit of green food coloring to dye the icing pale green. [Note: my food coloring was more of a yellow-green, not green-green.]
Then, pipe icing around the outer edge of the cupcake and sprinkle the sprinkles [ha!] over the icing. Then fill in the center. I used a Wilton 32 tip to ice these cupcakes but feel free to use whatever tip you like. Serve and enjoy!