Joshua Tree National Park and Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita cupcakesOn the way to visit friends in the Coachella Valley desert region this weekend, we decided to detour through Joshua Tree National Park. It was a beautiful day – warm and sunny but still fresh and not too hot – ideal for such a drive, and the perfect opportunity to wander about, go for a hike, and explore.

Joshua Tree National ParkIt’s certainly not the most dramatic or spectacular National Park within the U.S. (at least in my opinion), but it’s still a very special place – characterized by what is at times a rather surreal landscape – with striking geological features, as well as those amazing trees.

The road through Joshua Tree National Park

After a relaxed day we arrived at our destination in the late afternoon, in perfect time to enjoy these margarita cupcakes, which were a lot of fun to make. They also proved to be rather popular.

Margarita cupcakeI’ve actually added tequila at every stage of their preparation, but it really doesn’t seem to have been too much – there is a hint of alcohol in each bite rather than an overpowering taste, which I think is appropriate here. The fresh lime juice really adds a beautiful zesty flavour, making the overall result both intense and refreshing.

Recipe: Margarita Cupcakes

For the cupcakes

4 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces caster sugar
2 large (free-range) eggs
4 ½ ounces self-raising flour (sifted)
4 ½ ounces plain flour (sifted)
Pinch of salt
95 ml semi-skimmed milk (at room temperature)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp tequila
1 tsp grated lime zest
Bowl of limesPreheat the oven to 320°F / 160°C / gas mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, about 5 minutes using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each Margarita cupcakeaddition.

Combine the flours in a separate bowl and add the pinch of salt. Combine the milk, lime juice and tequila in a jug. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps Margarita cupcakeuntil all the flour and milk have been added, incorporating the lime zest with the last third of the flour.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until slightly raised and golden-brown. When they’re cooked, a cocktail skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

For the syrup

3 ½ ounces caster sugar
100 ml water
1 tbsp tequila
Margarita cupcakesMeanwhile, combine the ingredients for the syrup in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until the sugar melts completely (about 1 ½ minutes). Stir to combine.

Remove the cakes from the oven and leave in their tins for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack. When they Margarita cupcakesare still warm, use a cocktail stick to make small holes in the top of each cake before dipping into the syrup for a couple of seconds. Return to the wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the buttercream icing

3 ½ ounces unsalted butter
16 ounces icing sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp tequila
Pinch of salt
2 tsp grated lime zest

To decorate (optional)

Grated lime zest
Lime pieces
Pinch of coarse sea salt

Margarita cupcakesTo make the icing, mix the butter, lime juice, tequila, lime zest, salt and half the icing sugar until smooth – this will take several minutes using an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy.

Decorate with some small pieces of lime, some extra lime zest and a small pinch of coarse sea salt.

About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
This entry was posted in California, Food, Recipes, Sweet things, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Joshua Tree National Park and Margarita Cupcakes

  1. pattyabr says:

    When I first saw the cake ingredients I thought “Wow only 1 TBSP of tequila!” But then I saw two additional tablespoons of tequila in the syrup and icing and was relieved. Thank goodness (tee hee). We had a pie demo for our cooking club and a Margarita Key lime pie was mentioned as a variation so I’ll have to give it a try along with your recipe too!

    • Georgina says:

      lol! 1 tbsp would DEFINITELY not be enough! You could add more than I did to these, I think, without it being too overpowering. And the margarita key lime pie sounds fabulous.

  2. Susan says:

    These sound and look great! I love naughty boozy cupcakes.

  3. Oh these cupcakes look so good! I’m right now imagining putting them all in a tupper and driving to that park, put me down by a rock and eat them. Hum.

  4. biccybiscuit says:

    Sound delicious but think I might be on the floor during the sampling/cooking process!

    • Georgina says:

      lol!! Well, I have to admit that I was inspired to actually have a margarita (or two) once they were finished… So, it was a perfect afternoon in the kitchen!

  5. Lesley says:

    These are almost too beautiful to eat and they sound divine!

  6. Pingback: For St. David’s Day: Welsh Cakes | The Fresh Princess of Bel Air

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