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handing pulling a slice of margarita cake out of the cake

Margarita Cake

This margarita cake is perfect for Cinco de Mayo! Moist layers of zesty lime and tequila cake filled with thick and creamy lime curd and topped with margarita gelatin on top!
5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Refrigeration: 1 d
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 964kcal

Ingredients

Margarita Gelatin

  • 10 grams gelatin KNOX
  • 2 ounces (57 g) cool water
  • 4 ounces (113 g) margarita mix
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 ounces (57 g) tequila
  • 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier

Lime Curd

  • 8 ounces (227 g) lime juice
  • 6 ounces (170 g) sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Tequila
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier

Lime Cake

  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter softened but not melted
  • 14 ounces (397 g) sugar
  • 6 ounces (170 g) egg whites room temperature
  • 14 ounces (397 g) all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 5 ounces (142 g) milk slightly warm
  • 2 1/2 ounces (71 g) tequila You can substitute with milk or lime juice
  • 2 1/2 ounces (71 g) lime juice
  • 2 ounces (57 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest

Easy Buttercream

  • 16 ounces (454 g) unsalted butter softened but not melted
  • 16 ounces (454 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (113 g) pastuerized egg whites

Equipment

  • silicone ice cube tray
  • Acetate collar, scissors, and tape
  • Three, 6" x 2" or two, 8" x 2" cake pans
  • 6" Cake board, offset spatula, bench scraper for decorating
  • Chef's knife

Instructions

Margarita Gelatin

  • Sprinkle the gelatin onto the cool water and let it absorb for 5 minutes
  • Add the bloomed gelatin to the margarita mix, sugar, and lime juice.
  • Melt the gelatin mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds or in a saucepan over low heat until the gelatin granules turn clear.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes then scoop off the foam from the surface
  • Stir in the tequila and Grand Marnier.
  • Pour 3/4 of the mixture into ice cube molds. Save the rest to pour it on top of the cake later. Don't worry if it solidifies, you can just re-melt it when you're ready to use it.
    If you don't have an ice cube tray, you can pour the liquid into a shallow, glass pyrex dish, let it set up, and slice them into cubes with a knife.
  • Place the ice cube tray in the fridge to chill for at least a few hours or overnight.

Lime Curd

  • Zest the limes, then slice them in half and juice them into a measuring cup. Use a small colander or a lemon juicer to keep out any seeds.
  • Place the egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside. (You will be adding more to this later, so make sure it's a large enough bowl.)
  • Add your lime juice, granulated sugar, and lime zest to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to prevent burning.
  • When it has reached a simmer, scoop about 1 cup of the lime juice mixture and slowly add it into the egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously.
  • Add the tempered egg mixture back into the lime mixture while whisking constantly. Keep an eye on it and keep whisking until it thickens, if you walk away for even a minute, the eggs can curdle.
  • I cook my curd for about 2 minutes because I like thick lime curd. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the lime curd. Removing the curd at 170 ºF (76 ºC)will yield a thinner consistency while removing it at 180 ºF (82ºC) will be thicker.
  • Add your butter in chunks to the lime curd and whisk it until the butter is melted and combined. Remove the lime curd from the heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Add in your tequila and Grand Marnier (both optional) and stir until smooth.
  • Pour the finished lime curd into a heat-proof jar or bowl. Cover the curd with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd without any air bubbles in between, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the curd. Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours. Store it in the fridge for up to one week or freeze it for up to a year.

Lime Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 335 ºF and prepare three 6"x2" cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release. You can also use two 8"x2" pans, just bake for longer.
  • Combine the lime juice, zest, tequila, lemon extract, and milk and set it aside
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set it aside.
  • Add your softened butter and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached and cream it on medium-high speed until it's light, white, and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes).
  • Add in your egg whites (make sure they are room-temp or even slightly warm) 1/3 at a time while mixing on low, letting them mix in before adding the next part.
  • Add in 1/3 of your dry ingredients to the egg/butter mixture and mix on low until just combined. Then add in 1/2 of your liquids, then dry, then liquids, and the rest of your dry. Mix until just combined.
  • Divide your batter evenly between your prepared cake pans and bake them for or 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from the center clean or the top bounces back when you lightly touch it.
  • Let the cake layers cool for 15 minutes in the pans then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Wrap warm and place into the freezer to flash chill. This locks in the moisture. Once cool but not frozen you can then trim off the brown edges of your cakes and frost as desired.

Easy Buttercream

  • Place egg whites and powdered sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Attach the whisk and combine ingredients on low and then whip on high for 1-2 minutes to dissolve the powdered sugar. 
  • Add in your salt and vanilla extract
  • Add in your softened butter in chunks and whip with the whisk attachment to combine. It will look curdled at first. This is normal. It will also look pretty yellow. Keep whipping on high until it no longer tastes like butter, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low for 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream very smooth and remove air bubbles. This isn't required but if you want really creamy frosting, you don't want to skip it. 

Notes

  1. Weigh your ingredients to avoid cake failure. Using a kitchen scale for baking is super easy and gives you the best results every single time. 
  2. Make sure all your cold ingredients are room temperature or slightly warm (butter, milk, eggs, to create a cohesive batter. Curdled batter causes cakes to collapse.
  3. Make your own pan release (cake goop!) The best pan release ever! 
  4. Need more help with making your first cake? Check out my how to decorate your first cake blog post. 
  5. If you don't want to add alcohol to the cake layers you can replace the tequila and Grand Marnier with more milk or lime juice. 
  6. You can leave the alcohol out of the lime curd.
  7. If you want the gelatin layer to be alcohol-free, replace the tequila and Grand Marnier with more margarita mix. 
  8. A stand mixer works best for this cake recipe, but you can also use a hand mixer. Just go by look and consistency instead of time while mixing, you will have to mix for longer. I use a Bosch Universal Plus mixer!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 964kcal (48%) | Carbohydrates: 122g (41%) | Protein: 11g (22%) | Fat: 46g (71%) | Saturated Fat: 29g (145%) | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 208mg (69%) | Sodium: 288mg (12%) | Potassium: 313mg (9%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 79g (88%) | Vitamin A: 1267IU (25%) | Vitamin C: 13mg (16%) | Calcium: 116mg (12%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)