Strawberry cupcakes get a grown-up twist with the addition of tequila and coarse sea salt in these Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes!
Many of you know that I am from Minnesota. And here in the North country, we talk bout the weather…A LOT. That’s because it changes SO often. The saying goes, “Don’t like the weather? Just wait a few minutes and it will change.” So why am I talking about the weather on this blog that’s suppose to be about baking? Because it’s only May and it’s going to be 90 degrees this Memorial Day weekend! Ninety! That means we need a festive “summer weather” treat. Enter, STRAWBERRY MARGARITA CUPCAKES!
When I was growing up, we always had a family picnic on all the summer holidays. That meant Grandma’s fried chicken, potato and jello salads, baked beans, biscuits or cornbread and something sweet to end the meal. One of the desserts I fondly remember was a pretty pink strawberry cake, that was topped with billowy fresh whipped cream. Grandma would top each slice with a fresh strawberry and I always took the piece with the biggest one.
As I was thinking about what to bake for the holiday, I decided I wanted to make Grandma’s tried and true recipe strawberry cake. Then, the recipe developer in me started thinking about giving it a little update. And what’s the first thing that came to mind you ask? Strawberry Margaritas!
Strawberry margaritas just feel like summer, don’t you think? So next came the question, how do I take Grandma’s vintage recipe that uses a boxed mix, frozen strawberries and jello and add tequila to turn it into a festive cocktail-inspired treat? In order to give it this alcoholic-update, I researched a number of “adult cake” recipes to determine how much tequila might be needed. The key was to keep the strawberry flavor, but add enough tequila so it really had the margarita flavor. After all, if it’s called “Margarita” you want it to taste like a margarita, right? Otherwise it’s just a strawberry cupcake. (Nothing wrong with that either, but today, it’s all about the summer cocktail).
During the testing, I tried sprinkling some of the finished cupcakes with coarse sea salt and some with coarse sugar. The sea salt version was the favorite with my taste testers, but you can use either one. I piped the frosting on, using a large round tip, just to give them more of a bakery-style look, but you can frost them with a spatula. Do you really want the piped-on look, but don’t have a piping bag or tips? No worries….you can use a freezer bag! Simply fill the bag with the frosting, pushing the frosting down to one corner of the bag. Twist the bag a bit to give it a pastry bag shape, then cut about 1/4-inch off the filled corner of the bag. Squeeze the bag and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. That’s it! SO easy!
Be sure to add the fruit garnish just before serving, otherwise the juice from the fruit will leak into the frosting and they won’t look as pretty. Take these pretty-in-pink little gems to your any of your summer gatherings or family picnics for a special “adult” dessert! And an extra bonus…No ice needed when serving Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes! Happy Baking!
Yields 20 cupcakes
40 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 1 (16.25 oz) package white cake mix
- 1 (3 oz.) package strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 (10 oz.) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup tequila
- -coarse sea salt or coarse sugar
- -lime slices and strawberry slices for garnish
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 20 muffin cups with cupcake liners; set aside.
- In large bowl, combine cake mix, strawberry gelatin, eggs, oil, pureed thawed strawberries, water and 1/4 cup tequila. Blend on low speed, 1 minute, scraping bowl often.
- Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Divide batter evenly among paper-lined muffin cups.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove cupcakes from pan and place on cooling rack to cool completely.
- When cupcakes are completely cooled, make frosting.
- In food processor, puree fresh strawberry slices until smooth. Place strawberry puree in small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until puree is reduced to 1/3 cup. This will take 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour thickened puree into a small bowl. Refrigerate puree 15-25 minutes, until puree is completely cooled.
- In large bowl, combine 3 cups powdered sugar cooled puree, butter and 1/4 cup tequila. Blend on low speed, scraping bowl often. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar and continue mixing on low speed until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar. If frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon or two of water. Frosting should be a fluffy, spreading consistency.
- Frost or pipe frosting onto cupcakes; sprinkle with sea salt or coarse sugar if desired. Just before serving, garnish with lime or strawberry slices.