Sweet of the Week #8, Margarita Cupcakes with Sheila

February 22nd was National Margarita Day, which found me at the bar of a tiny Mexican restaurant reminiscing with my friend Sheila about good times and margaritas. I wanted to find a way to incorporate margaritas into a sweet treat and cupcakes immediately came to mind. Baking with tequila sounded like fun or at least a good challenge!

Gluten-Free Margarita Cupcakes
(makes 24)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 T. grated lime zest
2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 T. tequila (I used silver Patron)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 2/3 c. Johnna’s Favorite Gluten-Free Flour Blend
2 t. guar gum
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Prep muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Beat together liquid ingredients. Slowly sift in dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Fill muffin tins three-quarters of the way full, a generous 1/2 cup or so. Bake 20 to 22 minutes.

Margarita Frosting
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine (1 stick), room temperature
3 T. unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 cup lime juice
2 T. tequila (I used silver Patron here, too)
a hint of green food color, I used Wilton’s leaf green gel
6 cups sifted powdered sugar

Blend margarine, milk, lime juice, tequila and food coloring in mixer until fluffy. Sift in powdered sugar on low, one cup at a time, until it reaches the consistency you like in frosting. I could have stopped after 5 cups, but went with 6 full cups to make sure it was pretty thick but would still work in the mechanical pastry bag I use to frost cupcakes. I was unsure how stable the frosting would be with so much liquid (and alcohol), but it held up well. This makes a lot of frosting. I like a generously frosted cupcake. If you prefer the traditional knife-frosted cupcake, you could probably cut the frosting recipe in half.

Frost the cupcakes using your desired method. I sprinkled the edges of mine with a mix of green decorating sugar and rimming salt, a wedge of lime and a straw.


This week’s Sweet Friend is Sheila. I met Sheila many years ago. We couldn’t agree on the number, somewhere around 10 years ago, but we could agree that we were both having margaritas when we met.

I rarely see Sheila having a margarita these days, usually she has a Corona instead. And I had not had a margarita for four years before we met last week to celebrate National Margarita Day. But little else has changed–we both still love a good laugh, a cocktail shared with friends, a Jimmy Buffett concert in the heat of Summer, a trip to the islands and any excuse for a Thelma and Louise-style adventure.

I have no idea how we came to refer to each other as Thelma and Louise. Maybe it is because of the trouble we manage to get into everywhere we go. As we were headed out last week, her husband reminded us he was short on bail money. Maybe the nicknames came from road rallies where I drove, Sheila navigated and boys in faster cars got their butts kicked. Maybe it is because we would drive off a cliff together as long it was a good time that got us there. Oh, and there would be a sequel if we were involved. We wouldn’t leave you hanging like that other Thelma and Louise.

Sheila isn’t just a good time friend though, she’s always there even in the rough spots. There have been a few rough spots in my life where her bawdy sense of humor has helped put things in perspective. Well, that and her standing offer to leave a flaming bag of poo on anyone’s doorstep that does me wrong. We all need friends like that.


  1. Grace says

    These cupcakes were fantastic! I did not have time to make the frosting, so I just sprinkled with powdered sugar and everyone loved them. They had no idea they were gluten free. My mother , an avid baker, could
    not believe that there were no eggs in the batter. You have to try these! Another awesome recipe form Chef Johnna!


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