Saturday, May 1, 2010

Margarita Cupcakes

So, I know Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that has been blown way out of proportion here in America, but as always, I embrace any holiday that brings with it tasty treats and special foods just for the occasion. Not that you need much of an excuse to enjoy a good margarita.

My cupcake of the month is inspired by the quintessential Mexican beverage. Using a recipe that is a spin off of what I've done with my lemon meringue cupcakes, but I adjusted the filling and toppings a bit to bring out the best of a good margarita. Sadly, it is not best when served on the rocks.

First I made a lime yogurt cupcake, then filled it with a special lime curd that was made with a lot of fresh squeezed lime juice and good Don Julio tequila (thanks Heather for grabbing me a bottle while you were in Mexico!). I was missing the triple sec, but I don't think the flavor failed for it. I then piped the curd into the cupcakes and topped with a buttercream that was flavored only with lime juice. I then rolled the edges of the cupcakes in a special mix of lime zest, coarsely ground sea salt and a little bit of sugar.

I have had the pleasure of showcasing this cupcake at 2 large events and have had nothing but awesome reviews. It is a little more time consuming that your usual cupcake, but the pay off is so sweet. A great balance of zesty, tangy, sweet, and saltiness all in a moist cupcake that pretty much melts in your mouth.


I recommend making the filling a little bit ahead since it will take a couple hours for it to chill completely. You can make it a day ahead. I believe the curd lasts in the fridge for about 2 weeks, but let's not take my word for it. Maybe 1 week max to be safe.

Margarita Curd:
2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
1/3 cup lime juice and tequila (you can choose what ratio, but I did 1 part tequila: 3 parts lime)
1 tbs lime zest (2-3 limes)
3/4 cup sugar

Whisk eggs and sugar together until creamy. Place over a double boiler and whisk constantly for about 20-25 minutes (tedious, yes, but don't quit too soon or else it will all be runny). The mix should be kind of thick. Add the liquid and zest and mix until pudding consistency, probably another 10-15 minutes. Cool completely with a layer of saran wrap touching the top of the curd so a crust doesn't form.

Lime Yogurt Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest (2-3 limes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prep 12-18 cupcake liners in tins.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and zest. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool, and cut out dime sized holes in the tops of each cupcake. An apple corer works pretty well for that; otherwise a melon baller.

While cupcakes cool, make the buttercream frosting:

3/4 cups butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar

Whip on high until either crumbly or they start incorporating into a paste. Add a couple teaspons of lime juice at a time until the consistency gets fluffier.

You can also prep the zest rim by taking about 1/2 - 1 tbs of lime zest and mixing it with coarse sea salt (I dunno, maybe 2 teaspoons worth) and a tablespoon or so of regular sugar.

Then fill the cupcakes with the lime curd. I use a pastry bag, but if you just have a ziplock, go ahead and fill that and cut a small hole in the bottom corner and pipe it that way. You will probably have leftover curd. You can cut the recipe down by 1/3 and probably have enough for this recipe. Or just make more cupcakes. :)

Once the cupcakes are filled, frost with buttercream. This can be a smidgen tricky because any pressure on the filling will make it ooze out in directions you don't want it to. I used my pastry bag for this as well, and just made unpretty swirls on the top, then took my spatula and flattened the frosting. Then I rolled the edges of the cupcakes in the salt rim.

Buen Provecho and happy Cinco de Mayo!