May has been a whirlwind and here we are already at Memorial Day weekend! Between Cinco de Mayo, Gold Cup, softball and bocce leagues, a fabulous wedding in Marco Island, FL, my birthday celebration dinner and an O’s game, and my sister’s graduation in Connecticut after a 3-hour power nap… I’ve been on the go non-stop when I’m not at work. This weekend has many social plans booked on the calendar, but I’m at least glad to be spending it at home and not out of a suitcase for the third weekend in a row.
I made these cupcakes at the beginning of the month for Cinco de Mayo – now you understand why it’s taken me until now to post the recipe. I pinned my inspiration on Pinterest last summer and have been waiting all year to make them. I’ve made many homemade buttercream frostings before, but this Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is probably my most favorite – it has the buttery sweetness of buttercream, but the light, fluffy texture of meringue. How can you go wrong?
Well, a lot can go wrong when you’re trying to make meringue. And it did when I was making this frosting – it just wouldn’t fluff! But after reading these tips on how to fix Swiss meringue buttercream and popping it in the fridge for 30 minutes, I was good to go. If you have a stand mixer, I’d highly recommend using it. Don’t be like me and have to stand with a hand mixer on high for 25 minutes if you know what’s good for you.
Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila-Lime Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Candied Key Limes
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Tequila-Lime Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 cups sugar
8 egg whites
3 sticks butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons lime juice
3-4 tablespoons tequila
Candied Key Limes
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins with paper liners or baking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy.
Add eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Turn mixer to the low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Add tequila and orange liqueur. Mix only until just combined. Fill each cupcake cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.
Slice key limes into thin rounds, and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and drain. In the same pot, combine water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and add lime slices. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until white pith of limes looks translucent. Drain and spread limes on a cooling rack to dry for at least 1 hour. Put 2 tablespoons sugar in shallow bowl or saucer. When limes are dry, coat both sides of the lime slices by pressing them into the sugar. Store in an airtight container and layer between parchment paper or plastic wrap until ready to use, and refrigerate.
To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl or a stainless steel bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks, approximately 10 minutes. Beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. Add lime juice and 1 tablespoon of tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tequila as desired.