Shortcut Margarita Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Lime Frosting are an easy box mix hack to create a delicious margarita-flavored dessert!
There are a few topics about which I receive regular email requests from Boulder Locavore readers:
- great school lunch box ideas for kids usually when school starts up,
- quick dinner entrees, and
- shortcut ideas for desserts when there is not time to bake from scratch.
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite cake mix hacks for a great, fun dessert for parties and Cinco de Mayo: Shortcut Margarita Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Lime Frosting.
My tip will work with any mix and those shown in the photos are even gluten-free!
Shortcut Margarita Cupcakes
Everyone has times when last minute treats are needed for fun or a gathering, and baking from scratch isn’t possible.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t whip up something fun!
Shortcut Margarita Cupcakes are doctored from a regular vanilla cake mix and will work for regular and gluten-free mixes.
The cupcake flavor is transformed from plain-Jane vanilla to that of a margarita cocktail in cake form by swapping out part of the water requirement in the mix and replacing it with some white or silver tequila (milder flavor than reposado tequila), lime juice and adding a bit of orange extract.
How to Make Margarita Cupcakes with ANY Vanilla Cake Mix
The trick with these cupcakes is the correct amount of liquid. Any cake mix can be adjusted to include the amount of liquid required for the given mix.
The water amount in the mix will be replaced by a mixture of water, tequila and lime juice combined.
NOTE: to make Margarita Cupcakes WITHOUT tequila, see the next section below.
Figuring Out the Amount of Liquid for Your Cake Mix
To figure out the amount of each liquid required for the vanilla cake mix you select, some simple math is required:
- Identify the amount of water called for by the mix
- Subtract 1/4 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons (which is the amount of the tequila plus lime juice)
- The amount leftover is the amount of water you will add to the mix; in addition to the specified tequila and lime juice.
TIP: there are four tablespoons in a 1/4 cup, which should help with the math.
The orange extract is added directly with no accounting required.
Here’s an example:
In the case of the cupcakes I made, I used a gluten-free mix from Pamela’s Products calling for 2/3 cup water.
Two-thirds cup is a bit over 10 tablespoons, so after adding the ¼ cup of tequila and 2 tablespoons lime juice (6 tablespoons total), I added ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) water to ensure the total liquid added was equivalent to what the mix called for. Make sense?
Tequila Substitute Suggestion for Margarita Cupcakes
There is not a large amount of tequila in the cupcakes however should you wish to leave the alcohol out, replacing the tequila and lime juice combination with premade margarita mix, the type that calls for adding tequila, is also an option.
Cream Cheese Lime Frosting
When making these festive cupcakes I do prefer to make frosting from scratch.
It takes less than 10 minutes to make this luscious Cream Cheese Lime Frosting. The tangy, sweet, lime-y frosting perfectly compliments the cupcakes.
The Cream Cheese Lime Frosting is very easy to spread. If you decide to pipe it onto the cupcakes as shown in the photos, it performs well.
To Make the Frosting Stiffer for Piping:
If you wish to make the frosting stiffer put it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before piping should it be made in a warmer kitchen or in the summer.
Garnish Margarita Cupcakes for a Festive Feel
Wanting the cupcakes to feel like a party, they are topped with jellied citrus wedges (shown here are lemon-lime).
They don’t affect the frosting with extra citrus juice as an actual lime wedge would, as well as add a fun touch with the sparkly look and citrus flavor.
Cutting a colorful paper drinking straws in thirds and inserting them into the cupcakes are the finishing touch. These cupcakes are a hit every time!