Margarita Night

In need of a girls night and feeling neglectful that I did not drink a margarita on Cinco de Mayo, I had two of my favorite ladies over for a margarita themed evening.  Despite it looking like a bomb went of in my apartment due to all of the packing going on, I put that all aside for the night to cook and bake with friends.  Susie found this recipe on Annie’s Eats (who was inspired by the Foodie Bride, who was inspired by Martha), which in turn inspired the evening’s theme.  I would make these fluffy bites of deliciousness over and over again…they are hands down my favorite cupcakes, even surpassing Pink Lady goodness.  Now, these cupcakes are just as easy as any to make, but the icing takes it to a new skill level.  So you really have to be willing to put in the time and effort into making the Swiss meringue buttercream icing, but I do promise your efforts will be worth it!

Lime cupcakes with tequila-lime Swiss meringue buttercream:
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

For the buttercream frosting:
2 cups sugar
8 large egg whites
pinch of coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature – keep another 3 or 4 tablespoons on reserve (I’ll tell you why later)
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325° and line your pans with liners (I suggest a colorful option like green and white dots!).  In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking powder and salt and then whisk to blend.  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, which will take around 3 minutes.  Beat in your eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition.  Add the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla and blend.  With the mixer on low-speed, mixing in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.  This is always the rule – 5 separate additions starting and ending with dry ingredients.
* FYI – you can’t really over work your mixture before you add the flour, meaning that you can beat the egg and butter as long as you want but don’t beat too much once you add the flour.  Once the flour is added, beat on low until the ingredient you added it just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly in the prepared cupcake liners (around 30)…my newest trick is using an ice cream scoop like this one.  How I never thought of this before baffles me, but it is way easier and less messy than using a measuring cup and a spoon (or if you are me, your finger).  Back for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for around 10 minutes then remove to let cool completely on racks.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, work on your frosting.  Make sure your standing mixer and bowl are clean and ready to go.  Combine the sugar, egg whites and salt in a heatproof bowl (glass or metal works best) and set over a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler).  It is important that you do not let any part of the bowl touch the water, this process just uses the steam from the water to cook the eggs and create the consistency we want.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reads 160° on a candy thermometer like this one.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your standing mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high speed until the mixture has cooled, soft peaks form and resembles meringue.  This process takes every bit of 8 or 9 minutes.  If it does not fit the description above, then keep whipping it!  This is a very important step, because the frosting will not work if this mixture is not whipped enough.

example: icing-making

Once your cooled mixture resembles meringue and soft peaks form when up lift up the whisk, reduce the speed to medium and add in the butter 2 tablespoons at a time.  Don’t add the butter too fast, make sure each addition is incorporated before you add another.  Once all of the butter is mixed in, the consistency should be light, fluffy and smooth.  Add in your lime juice and tequila and blend well.  This may thin the mixture and the consistency may start to look a bit curdled (mine did at this point), but don’t panic…this is why you have a few extra tablespoons of butter.  If you need to, add in your extra butter one tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together again.  *Remember, it needs to be thick enough to put in a bag and pipe onto the cupcakes!

Pipe the frosting onto your cupcakes using a fun decorative tip, sprinkle with lime zest and garnish with slices of lime.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge if you don’t serve them all the day you bake them. They still taste delicious 5 days after making them, though I doubt they will last that long!

Makes: approximately 30 cupcakes (I made it fit into 24 and they were too big and overflowing)
Adapted from: Annie’s Eats / Foodie Bride / Martha Stewart

Skinny Girl Margaritas:
8 oz. clear premium tequila
2 oz. triple sec
juice of 2 or 3 limes
2-4 oz. club soda (depending on how strong you like your margs)
lots of ice
4 lime wedges for garnish

These margaritas are absolutely delicious, and so much better for you than the 1,000+ calorie frozen options offered at restaurants.  And they knock you flat on your behind much quicker…which could be seen as both a good and a bad thing!  I started drinking mine once the frosting was almost ready, which was probably a good idea…

Makes 4: servings
Inspired by: none other than Bethenny herself and made by the fantastic Susie!

taking the first bite!

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One Comment

  1. Mr. Cheaterbite
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Got to love how you are trying to fit that whole thing in your mouth!!!!

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