What Is A Margarita Cake And Does It Contain Tequila?

Margarita Bundt cake with icing and mint
Margarita Bundt cake with icing and mint - Debra Bernal/Shutterstock

When one hears the term "margarita cake," it's pretty easy to get excited. After all, it's not often two words that each represent such joy are put together in sequence. The phrase does beg a few questions though, including what exactly a margarita cake is, and if it actually contains the booze that makes the cocktail famous? The answers to both, however, aren't so cut and dry. Much the way the go-to dessert or iconic drink can each be made a multitude of flavors, styles, and preparations, so too can the margarita cake.

Sometimes, the moniker is applied to layered confections made with lime, and indeed utilizing tequila, while other times, as in a mango margarita cupcake, tequila is totally absent. There are more variations with less-expected ingredients like a Jell-O-based filling and a cake bar that uses crushed salty pretzels as a crust. With all these options, how does one know what qualifies as a margarita cake? Generally speaking, one of the most consistent elements across recipes is some kind of lime component. The tequila is optional, but the important thing is to capture the refreshing spirit of that citrusy sipper. With those loose guidelines in mind, you can get very creative, but perhaps the first order of business is deciding whether to include booze.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

To Tequila Or Not To Tequila

Margarita cupcakes with lime
Margarita cupcakes with lime

Tequila is optional and the spirit is potent, so first make sure your guests are prepared for a kick (and won't be averse to alcohol). If you want a tequila presence, some recipes call for it in the cake and others in a frosting or glaze. There are multiple methods for each, and how you incorporate the booze will determine its punch.

You can poke holes in your cake and simply pour tequila over the top, allowing the crumb to absorb the liquor, making for a deeply boozy bite. On the other hand, sugar can help temper the zing and take some of that edge off if you prefer. So, you can also prepare a tequila simple syrup which you can apply with a pastry brush over the surface of your cake, or mix the liquor into a sweetened buttercream or glaze.

A beginner's guide to tequila will also help you made a decision on the type you choose. Aged versions like reposado have a more woodsy and caramel-like character, while blanco will likely have more citrus and spice. Anejo will be full bodied and more mellow, having aged the longest. You can even get creative and go for mezcal instead of tequila, which will bring a hint of smoke to your cake, and liqueurs like Grand Marnier and Triple Sec can also add flavor with a little less alcoholic heat.

Making Your Margarita Cake Your Own

Margarita pound cake with lime zest on marble
Margarita pound cake with lime zest on marble - A_Lein/Shutterstock

For more tasty twists, look to your list of favorite margaritas. Coconut, mango, pineapple, blood orange, and strawberry are all complementary flavors. A kick could be a welcome element, too, in the vein of a spicy margarita. You can add this punchy flavor in the form of diced jalapeno or habanero peppers. In these cases, a cornbread style or polenta-based cake works well, as the natural sweetness of corn helps balance both heat and booze. Alternate sweeteners like honey or agave are also welcome in the margarita flavor profile, and will help add depth to your cake that standard granulated sugar doesn't.

You can use your recipe for cupcakes, or even convert it into a batch of margarita doughnuts. A pound cake is a great canvas for a margarita flavor, and is delicious when topped with strawberries and fresh mint for a spin on shortcake. Either way, don't forget a little salt to mimic that classic cocktail rim.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.