This margarita cake was an idea that was brewing in my head for the longest while. It’s based on my lemon semolina cake recipe, a citrusy cake soaked in lemon syrup.
So when my friends decided to celebrate a birthday at a Mexican restaurant, I thought there was no better time to make it.
This cake uses corn flour to hint at tortillas. It’s not be mistaken with the white, powdery corn starch often used to thicken soups and sauces. Instead, this is yellow cornmeal that’s been ground as fine as possible.
The main flavours of this cake are lime, orange, salt, and, of course, tequila. (I would have used tripe sec but I felt it would make the cake too alcoholic, hence fresh orange instead). The cake is soaked in a margarita syrup and topped off with a citrusy, boozy buttercream icing. It also happens to be gluten-free because no flour is used.
For the cake:
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
50g corn flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
Zests of orange and lime
For the syrup:
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp tequila
65g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
For the icing:
2 tbsp tequila
Zests of orange and lime
40g unsalted butter, softened
160g icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and line one 7-inch round cake tin.
Step 2: Zest and juice an orange and a lime. Divide the zests into two portions, one for the cake, one for the icing.
Step 3: Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the corn flour, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the ground almonds, baking powder and citrus zests. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 40 minutes.
Step 4: Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before removing it while it’s still warm from the tin and placing it on cake board or serving plate. In the meantime, add the orange and lime juices, tequila, and icing sugar to a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Grab a toothpick and poke holes all over the cake. Then slowly spoon the hot syrup all over the cake. Leave for about 30 minutes for the syrup to completely soak into the cake.
Step 5: To make the icing, soak the remaining half of the citrus zests in tequila for about 5 minutes. In your mixer, beat the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Then sift in the icing sugar and salt and beat in thoroughly. Finally, add in the alcohol-soaked zests. If the icing is still too thick for decorating, thin it with some milk. Slather the icing over your cake.
And that’s about it, really. Quite a few steps but the result is well worth it if you’re a huge fan of margaritas and Mexican cuisine. I only iced the top of the cake so that you’d still see the warm sunset glow and coarse crumb structure thanks to the cornmeal and almonds. Topped it off with orange and grapefruit gummy candies to complement the citrus notes of the cakes. If you want to, you could even sprinkle some coarse sea salt over top to really mimic a margarita.
This cake is so fresh and boozy, just like how a good margarita should taste like. I also love the margarita icing because you see the orange and lime zests dotted throughout the buttercream like confetti. If alcohol is not an option for you, feel free to leave it out and replace it with water in the soaking syrup and milk in the icing.