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It’s happy hour: margarita cake!

May 19, 2010

Hello all!

A friend is having a birthday this week, and she is a real party girl, so we decided to make her a cake to suit.  Her favorite drink is a martini but despite the hundreds of possible flavors of martinis that we could have made into cake, when we stumbled across a highly recommended recipe for a margarita cake, we simply couldn’t resist!

Here is the result, along with the recipe for the cake and lime buttercream we used for it, too.  Enjoy!

This cake is a fiesta, inside and out! It is a margarita cake (complete with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice) with lime buttercream. The "salt" is actually sanding sugar! Made for a woman who likes a good fiesta!


For the cake:

1 package (18.25 ounces) lemon cake mix (or if you prefer, plain yellow or vanilla)

Half of a package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix (4 tablespoons)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup fresh lime juice or key lime juice

1/4 cup tequila

2 tablespoons triple sec or pre-made (liquid) margarita mix

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

4 large eggs

For the glaze:

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon tequila

1 tablespoon triple sec or margarita mix

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or key lime juice

1.  Make the cake: place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly mist two 8″ round cake pans or a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray that contains flour (like Baker’s Joy).  Set pans aside.

2.  Place the cake ingredients  in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are combined, 30 seconds.  Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed.  The batter should look smooth and thick.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s), smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place in the oven.

3.  Bake the cake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 25 minutes for 8″ pans or 42-47 minutes for a Bundt pan.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack.  Let the cake cool completely, about 25 minutes longer.

4.  Meanwhile, make the glaze:  Place the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

5.  Slide the cake onto a serving plate.  Using a wooden skewer, poke 12 to 16 holes in the top of the cake.  Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it either absorb into the cake or, if it is a Bundt pan, drip down the sides.  Let the glaze set for ten minutes before serving.  If you feel festive, garnish the cake with thin lime slices and a sprinkling of coarse sugar*.

*Course sugar is this cake’s version of the coarse salt that sticks to the rim of a glass filled with a margarita.  It is often called sanding sugar and you can buy it in stores that sell cake and cookie decorating supplies.  To make sure the sugar sticks to the cake, sprinkle it on while the glaze is still wet.

(recipe courtesy of “The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!”, Workman Publishing, 2009)

Lime Buttercream

3 cups + 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)
green food color (optional)

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and lime juice to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy.

(An original recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride on

Happy baking!

Christina & Meghan

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2010 7:42 AM

    Now THAT’S…. a CAKE! 😉

    • May 20, 2010 1:48 PM

      Amen! It was a huge hit with the birthday girl and the lucky colleagues who got to share it with her! 🙂

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