Margarita Cake with a Kick

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | March 25th, 2020 | Desserts, Recipes

This cake could also be called a double margarita, as it has tequila and triple sec in the batter, as well as drizzled on the cooling cake, giving you full margarita flavors!

This cake could also be called a double margarita, as it has tequila and triple sec in the batter, as well as drizzled on the cooling cake, giving you full margarita flavors!

Moist cake with triple sec and tequila throughout

Margarita Cake with a Kick

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs

Course Dessert

Servings 8



  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 4 ounces tequila divided
  • 2 ounces triple sec divided



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine sugar and lime zest, and mix on speed 2 for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add butter and beat on speed 4 until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Mix in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
  • Gradually add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on speed 2.
  • Add milk, lime juice, 1/4 cup tequila, and 2 tablespoons orange liquor, stirring until batter is smooth, scraping the bottom to make sure all ingredients are combined.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven; using a toothpick, stab many holes into the top of the cake.
  • Combine the remaining 1/4 cup tequila and 2 tablespoons orange liquor and pour it evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to absorb.
  • Cool the cake to room temperature in the pan.
  • When fully cooled, transfer to serving plate.

Yes, it’s tequila week here! I’m sure most of the time when people think about tequila their minds go to (A) margaritas or (B) shots. I’m hoping that between Monday’s cookie recipe and today’s cake people will consider it as a dessert making option. When an ingredient has such a recognizable and enjoyable flavor profile, it needs to be used in a multitude of ways.

To learn more about this recipe, originally published in September 2017, keep reading.

This cake is not for those who approach tequila warily. There is a half cup of tequila involved in making the cake. Of course, the cake serves anywhere from eight to twelve people, depending on slice size, so at most your slice has half an ounce of tequila. It may not be a cake to serve to the kids, but it also isn’t a full-strength margarita. Let’s just call it a special, adults-only dessert.

I made this cake as the finishing touch to a lazy summer Sunday. We had enjoyed a number of snacks with a Mexican-ish theme. (I understand that the food I make isn’t authentic Mexican but more of a riff on some of the flavors.) After a mid-afternoon filled with queso and guacamole, there was no way dinner would be needed. A little nibble of something in the evening would be appreciated nonetheless. What better way to wrap up the weekend than with a sweet treat?

I had been wanting to make a margarita cake for some time. Too often I have tried desserts from restaurants and bakeries that proclaim them to have the flavors of a cocktail and have found myself disappointed. This cake definitely did not. From the taste of tequila to the hint of triple sec and the notes of lime, this cake screamed, “Hello, I’m a margarita!” In fact, it had so much of that flavor I wasn’t sure if I should send a test cake to the office, as I usually do.

I did send the cake, and it received high praise. There’s nothing quite like perking up an office with cake (that tastes like a cocktail) during the mid-week drag. Although I know that the office members are excited for almost any treat that I send, I think there’s an extra thrill in having a dessert that hints on the naughty side.

When you start planning your next girls’ night in, romantic dinner for two, or neighborhood gathering, be sure to put this cake on the menu. And be sure to return to Think Tasty on Wednesday for the Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. It definitely puts the finishing touch on this cake.

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