As Cinco de Mayo approaches, there’s only one cocktail on imbibers’ minds: the Margarita. The cocktail’s simple combination of blanco tequila, lime juice, and triple sec has captured the hearts of consumers, securing its place as the most popular tequila cocktail in the world, and consistently ranking as America’s favorite cocktail.
Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Mexico’s surprise victory over France in the Battle of Puebla, is actually a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. In the U.S. however, imbibers use May 5 as the perfect excuse to consume their favorite cocktails and snack on their preferred Mexican foods.
If you’re looking for a pairing that’s sweeter and more unexpected than chips and guac, the Margarita cake is a superb Cinco de Mayo treat. The batter of this cake uses an entire half cup of tequila — about four shots — plus a whole lot of lime juice and zest, making for a light, moist, and fluffy cake that truly mirrors the flavor of the Margarita.
To resemble the appearance of its eponymous cocktail, top your Margarita cake with a few slices of lime and coarse sugar sprinkles to mimic a salted rim. This zesty and boozy dessert truly encompasses the flavors of the classic cocktail. With each bite, you’ll feel like you’re munching on a Margarita in dessert form.
TEQUILA LIME MARGARITA CAKE
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lime juice (plus more if needed)
1/2 cup tequila
2 tablespoons lime zest
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups shortening
12 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Lime slices, for decor
Sugar sprinkles, for decor
MAKE THE CAKE
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed about two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined.
5. Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
6. Add the milk and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
7. Add another third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
8. Add the lime juice, tequila, and lime zest and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
9. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth.
10. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and spread evenly.
11. Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
10. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for one to two minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE FROSTING
1. Add the butter and shortening to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
2. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar, mixing until well combined and smooth.
3. Add the lime zest and lime juice and mix until well combined and smooth.
4. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
5. Add additional lime juice, if needed, to thin out the frosting.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1. To put the cake together, trim the tops of the cakes so they are flat.
2. Place the first layer of cake on a serving platter, then top it with about one cup of frosting and spread into an even layer.
3. Add the second layer of cake and another layer of frosting.
4. Top the cake with the remaining cake layer and frost the outside of the cake.
5. Finish off the cake with some swirls of the remaining frosting and lime slices.
6. Optional: Sprinkle some coarse sugar sprinkles around the top of the cake.