What I couldn’t tell you in my last post is that I had a surprise party planned for Reese on the night of his birthday. His favorite food is Mexican, so I conspired with his mom & BFF and succeeded in throwing a fabulous fiesta in his behalf. Best part? He had NO FREAKING CLUE!
Along with a diverse menu of Mexican inspired appetizers, I decide to create a margarita-flavored cupcake for dessert. And yes, I used tequila. PLENTYYYY of tequila!
I’m not the hugest tequila fan, and because of that I rarely drink margaritas. Several hours were spent on the internet looking at not only cupcake recipes, but reading about the history of margaritas and the elements that this classic drink was composed of. I learned quite a few new things, and came to the conclusion that a “original lime” flavor would work best for my needs.
Baking with alcohol can be very tricky as much of the flavor bakes off in the oven. To add more flavor, many bakers will actually brush their baked (and cooled!) cupcakes with the liquor of their choice… I’ve done this before, and honestly, haven’t been a fan. I decided the best way to infuse more margarita flavor into each cupcake would be to fill each of them with a lime filling that had a heavy dose of tequila. I was envisioning a lime curd that had the texture and density of that of a lemon meringue pie filling, but tasted fresh and tangy – exactly like a margarita should!
Food Networks’s site lead me to a recipe for a lime curd tart by celebrity chef Ina Garten. I used Ina’s lime curd recipe as a starting point, and kind of experimented from there. She calls for about 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice (about 4 fresh limes), and I juiced 3 limes and used tequila for the 4th. Oops. 🙂
For the cake I used a basic vanilla buttermilk cake recipe and added the zest & juice of 3 limes and a couple of tablespoons of tequila. This recipe is similar to what I came up with. Most of the tequila baked out of the cupcakes, but when I paired them with the lime curd I found the fresh, tangy taste I’d been dreaming of!
Most of the margarita cupcake recipes that I’d seen all used a rich swiss meringue buttercream to finish the treat. I was hesitant to use this kind of frosting because it is so incredibly buttery and rich – I wasn’t sure how that would pair up with the tequila and lime. It actually ended up tasting pretty good! Again, I used a heavy hand when flavoring the frosting, but I think the richness of the frosting balanced well with the citrus flavors. The buttercream was piped with a large french star tip, and then topped with a slice of fresh lime.
All in all, the party was a huge success! Great friends, lots of food, and a very surprised birthday boy. 🙂