Margarita Azul Cupcakes Recipe

Margarita Azul Cupcakes


For the cakes:
  • box lemon cake mix (and necessary oil, eggs, water, etc.)
  • zest from 2 limes
  • blue food dye (I used Wilton Sky Blue paste)
For the icing:
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 16 oz (1 box) powdered sugar
  • splash of milk or cream as necessary
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp tequila
  • 1/2 Tbsp orange liqueur
  • same blue dye as in the cakes
For the garnish:
  • 3 Tbsp sanding (coarse) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp margarita salt (or other coarse salt)
  • jelly fruit slices (I cut mine thinner, but you don't have to)

How to make Margarita Azul Cupcakes

For my daughter's second birthday, we decided to have a Cinco de Mayo party.  Since we affectionately nicknamed her "Margarita" before she was born, and since getting totally housed on margaritas is the traditional way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I decided to whip up a margarita cupcake.  The "azul" is a nod to our favorite blue margaritas (made with curacao instead of triple sec or other orange liqueur).

  1. Mix up the cake according to the instructions on the box.  Before you beat it for the longer period (yes, you really have to beat it that long!  take the time and have better cupcakes!), add in the lime zest and the blue coloring.  I wanted my cakes really blue, so I used a lot, probably somewhere between a quarter- and a half-teaspoon.  This is where I recommend using the paste color -- if you're using liquid dye, it never achieves the color you want unless you use enough that it throws off the water in your baked goods.  Portion into cupcake papers in two muffin tins (unless you like prying 24 cakes out of individual, inseparable ramekins) and bake according to the box instructions.  Allow to cool fully before icing.
  2. To make the icing:  Beat the butter in a mixing bowl until it lightens a little bit and coats the beaters.  Sift in the powdered sugar a little at a time and keep beating until it's all incorporated.  Add the lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur all at once and beat on high speed until that's incorporated too.  If the icing still feels too stiff, add little splashes of milk or cream and beat them in until you get a workable consistency.  I wanted a lighter icing color than cake color, so I stuck with the usual method of using a toothpick to mete out dye into the icing.
  3. Ice the cupcakes however you like.  I wanted to pipe them up high and swirly with a big fat star tip like you see in bakeries, but I discovered at assembly time that said tip (along with the screw-on assembly to keep it on the bag) did not exist in my drawer.  So I used a butter knife and mounded it up as best I could.
  4. Mix the sanding sugar and margarita salt together in a shallow bowl.  (You could use all sugar, but the salt gives it more of a margarita vibe.)  Roll your iced cupcake on its side in the sugar mixture to get the salted-edge look.  Top with a jelly fruit slice.

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