In a perfect world I’d drink margaritas served up with a salted rim every night of the week. Besides the usual cocktail, I love to indulge in sweets as well. There’s nothing better than combining the two and making boozy baked goods. The margarita is by far one of my favorite classic cocktails and I’ve reimagined it as a seasonal cupcake. So we’re eating our margs today, ok? These Cranberry Margarita Cupcakes are sure to be a hit during the holidays!

Cranberry Margarita Cupcakes
Makes 12

• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs, room temperature
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• juice + zest of 3 limes
• 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
• 1/2 tablespoon cointreau

Cranberry Tequila Lime Buttercream:
• 2 cups fresh cranberries
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 stick unsalted butter, soft
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 5 cups confectioners sugar
• 1 tablespoon tequila
• lime slices, salt and cranberries, for decoration

First thing, make your cranberry puree for the buttercream. This needs to cool and can do so while you bake. Add 2 cups of cranberries and lemon juice to a sauté pan and cook the mixture until the cranberries are soft and easily mash-able.

Run the mixture through a fine strainer and be sure to scrape the strainer periodically. Strain it into a clean bowl until all the seeds and skins are left behind. It will look like thick cranberry jam. Let it cool and get to baking!

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract, tequila and cointreau. Beat on medium high until combined. With the mixer on low speed add some of the dry ingredients alternating with some of the milk until all is mixed. Increase to high speed and beat in lime juice and zest.

Spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 1/2 – 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you’d rather do mini cupcakes, this recipe will yield 30 minis; bake them for 11-13 minutes at the same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, place butter in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat butter on medium-high until completely smooth; about 1 minute. Add in the cranberry puree and beat until combined. Add in confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, on low speed. Once all the sugar has been added, add in tequila and salt, then beat on high-speed for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Ice cupcakes as desired and decorate with cranberries, lime wedges and salt.

I am completely in love with these Cranberry Margarita Cupcakes. They’re not as boozy as pop-tails but you can definitely taste the tequila and lime in these. The cupcakes are reminiscent of the margarita cocktail and adding fresh cranberry was a perfect seasonal spin. I love the color the cranberry puree added to the tequila buttercream too. If you make a little extra cranberry puree, reserve some to make a margarita. What’s better than eating your margarita in a cupcake? Having another margarita on the side to wash it down with! Cheers everyone and happy holidays!


Author and Photography by Natalie Jacob

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