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margarita cupcakes

It’s almost the end of Dry July and those of you that have given up booze to raise money have helped raise much needed funds to help adults living with cancer. It’s no easy feat, I’ve realised, especially not in Australian culture – it’s not that we’re not supportive, it’s just that we have a very casual drinking culture in which beer and wine almost form part of meals. In acknowledgement of all that you’ve given up, I bring you margarita cupcakes. Call it a technicality, but I think if you eat your alcohol, it’s probably within the rules.

These smell like margaritas, and taste like grown up lemon/lime butter cupcake with a bit of warmth from the alcohol. When I lamented that they didn’t taste as tequila-y as I’d have liked, a friend pointed out that for many, that might be a good thing. I disagree, but you can make these as boozy as you like by drizzling tequila over the top.

Unlike other cupcakes that don’t include tequila in the batter, these have tequila in the batter, the icing and drizzled on top again for good measure. Y’know cos we want them to actually taste like margaritas in cupcake form and you need quite a bit to make them taste like the real deal. In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say they’re a cool idea, but not a flavour I’d whip up all the time. 

Margarita Cupcakes
makes 12

For the cupcakes:
113 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup yoghurt or buttermilk
pinch salt
finely grated zest of 2 limes/lemons
juice of ½ lime/lemon
3 tbsp tequila
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tbsp. baking powder
extra tequila for drizzling

For the tequila buttercream:
¼ cup boiling water
 cup sugar
⅛ cup meringue powder (or 2 egg whites)
4 tbsp tequila
finely grated zest of 1 lime/lemon
130g soft butter, cut into 2cm cubes
finely sliced lime/lemon wedges, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  2. To make the cupcakes – cream butter and sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the yoghurt (or buttermilk), salt, zest, juice and tequila. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, then mix on low speed until just incorporated – do not over mix. Divide between 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20  minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean – don’t worry if they crack a bit on top. While warm, drizzle with a good amount of tequila – anything from 2.5ml up to 15ml for each cupcake. At 2.5ml you can just taste a hint of warmth, and at 15ml there’s a good hint of tequila that’s not too overpowering. 
  3. To make the frosting
    1. With meringue powder – mix the sugar with boiling water and stir to dissolve, then set aside to cool. In a clean bowl, add the sugar water mixture to the meringue powder and whip on high speed to stiff peaks. Add the tequila and zest and mix to combine. Switch to the paddle attachment and gradually add the soft butter cubes, mixing on high speed until fluffy. Taste and adjust the flavour as desired.
    2. With egg whites (no boiling water used) – whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar and whisk to stiff peaks. Add the tequila and zest and mix to combine. Switch to the paddle attachment and gradually add the soft butter cubes, mixing on high speed until fluffy. Taste and adjust the flavour as desired. 
  4. Pipe buttercream onto cupcakes and garnish with a lime/lemon wedge.
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