Cinco de Mayo: Lime Margarita Cake

Cinco de Mayo: Lime Margarita Cake



Try extra hard not to be a jerk about it.

Seriously, it’s really cool that the United States has kind of taken note of another country’s holiday, which hasn’t really happened since we adopted Veteran’s Day alongside the British Commonwealth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cultural fluidity and globalization and all that jazz. But please, for the love of God, do it right.

This means don’t wear sombreros, or play with maracas, or put on fake mustaches. This means don’t ask your Latinx friend why they aren’t celebrating Cinco if you know they’re not Mexican (surprise surprise, Latin America is made up of many many countries and many many cultures, and Mexican culture is not the only one). This means you should probably look up the history of the holiday to begin with, because it’s actually not just a celebration of tequila (I’ve even taken the time to link to the Wikipedia page for you here, so no excuses).

Lime Margarita Cake

But this also means you should take the time to learn a little bit more about Mexican culture and all that it entails! Mexico has a rich cultural history and a beautiful array of sights, smells, sounds, and tastes. If you’re feeling like getting into the celebratory mood, try partaking in the local authentic Mexican community. Go out to a local restaurant, buy from a small Mexican grocery, celebrate responsibly while giving back to the people whose culture you’re actually celebrating.

I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t take a sip of tequila on the 5th of May (in fact, if you make this cake, I’m sure you won’t be able to help yourself). But I am saying that you should definitely appreciate this holiday for what it actually is instead of taking it as an excuse to go get trashed.

Lime Margarita Cake

Now, I promise the soapbox part of the post is over, and we can get down to business: this cake. This is not for the faint of heart! It’s a huge burst of tequila and lime in your mouth, reminiscent of a margarita in cake form. It’s really dense and moist from the syrup that goes over it, giving it a really good texture that carries the flavors well. And the lime curd?

Girl, the lime curd???

Life-changing. I wish I were kidding, but this lime curd has made me a new man. It’s even better than the lemon custard I made for Joanna’s Lemon Pie. I almost ate it all with a spoon before it even made it to the cake. I want this every day. Every single day. I mean, a curd is mostly fruit juice and eggs, so it’s totally normal to have it for breakfast, right? Right?

Lime Margarita Cake

This is probably one of the most indulgent cakes I’ve ever made (the brownie pudding doesn’t count), because of the amount of tequila, butter, and sugar that goes into it. Seriously, we never have to speak of these amounts again. If you meet me in the street and ask “Hey how much butter is in that cake you made?” I will literally turn around and pretend that we’ve never met. So if any of my more industrious readers want to try and make a healthier version of this, hit me up when you do! I’m all about cake with less calories.

So in short, happy Cinco de Mayo, celebrate responsibly, eat boozy cake and be merry!

Lime Margarita Cake

Lime Margarita Cake

Lime Margarita Cake

Lime Margarita Cake

A boozy and dense cake with a shot (or two... or three...) of tequila and a punch of lime.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings 12 slices


For the cake

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp lime zest (about one large lime)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the syrup

  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

For the lime curd

  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons)

For the frosting

  • 4 sticks butter (2 cups)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round cake pans. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add in the milk, vanilla, oil, and lime zest, and mix well. Slowly add in the dry ingredients while mixing until just incorporated. Remove the bowl and make sure no more flour needs mixing before dividing the mixture between the two pans.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. While the cakes are baking, begin making the curd. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the lime juice, sugar, and eggs. Once combined, begin whisking in the butter until incorporated. Continue whisking for about 15 minutes, until it's thickened (trust me, you'll want to stop earlier, but don't - you want a nice thick curd, not an egg syrup). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Make the syrup by whisking together the tequila, lime juice, and sugar, and divide into two equal parts. Once you've taken the cakes out of the oven, poke several holes in them and pour the syrup over them. Let them soak and cool in the pan, then flip them out and finish cooling on wire racks.
  • While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating together the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. When light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes), add in the tablespoons of vanilla, mixing between each addition.
  • Begin assembling the cakes (you can freeze the layers to make them easier to work with). Level the bottom layer and pipe a thick ring of frosting around the outside. Fill the inside of the ring with as much lime curd as you can. Place the second layer on top and spread frosting along the top (and sides, if you wish). Pour the remaining lime curd into a piping bag with a small round tip attachment and drizzle it over the top of the cake. Garnish with lime wedges and zest, and enjoy!


  • This recipe was inspired by HonestlyYum's gorgeous margarita cake here. Mine is a "deconstructed" version of theirs, which - as anyone who watches Food Network competition shows knows - means "I messed up and made do with what I had."
  • The original called for a 4-tiered cake, but mine was way too soggy to cut the layers even after freezing, so I kept it 2-tiered. That's part of why I reduced the amount of tequila in the syrup, with the other reason being that it was just way too much straight alcohol for me to handle. That's also why I flavored the frosting with vanilla instead of triple sec - if you're big into drinking, feel free to use the proportions from the original recipe.
  • Seriously, make this lime curd for everything. Pies, cookies, cakes, I don't care. Just make it and use it because it is honestly magical. Actually, look forward to a recipe in the near future using this same curd, because I'm freaking obsessed.

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