Sunday, May 6, 2012

Julie Hasson's 150 Cupcake Recipe Recipes Review -- Cinco De Mayo Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita, hold the salt.

So, yet again my wonderful friends at the Lisa Ekus Group sent me a lovely cookbook to review via Robert Rose. Aren't they the sweetest? And they certainly sent me the SWEETEST book in their Spring 2012 lineup: Julie Hasson's 150 Best Cupcake Recipes!

Hugging my review copy of the book,
fantasizing about all the cupcakes I will make this summer with it...

I remember back when I was in college and first getting my foodie feet wet: cupcakes had just come onto the scene in a big way. The blogosphere suggested that the hype would be over soon, and another dessert trend would take its place. And through the years donuts have made a vallant effort, as have cakepops (check out this title, also represented by Lisa!), and even bacon has tried to encroach on trendy-dessert territory, but cupcakes have remained stubbornly in the spotlight--and rightly so! As Julie says in her introduction, "Cupcakes are the perfect dessert." and she's right! These perfectly contained little cakes leave much room for creativity, flavor, style, and improvisation. The possibilities are truly endless. "It doesn't matter if you're 4 or 40, cupcakes are delicious." Well said, Julie!

Sub-par lime slices, totally above-par cupcakes

Robert Rose books are wonderful. I remember a few lunch breaks during my internship with Lisa that I spent in the book closet, flipping through various titles. At first glance, these books seem more function than flash--only a handful of pictures are included, and most pages are basic black and white on plain paper. What's great about this though, is that the pages are perfect for penciling in tips and tricks. I know we all have hand-me-down cookbooks where a relative has scribbled in notes of their own after recipes, and I can imagine my tiny collection of Robert Rose books being passed down with my own chicken-scrawl penmanship scattered throughout.

I bought a sombrero for $1 JUST for this picture...

Tips and tricks are on every recipe, as well as suggestions for frosting and technique.These suggestions  are endlessly valuable. For example, this recipe requires lime oil, which is a bit hard to find. A tip off to the side assures the reader that lime zest is a proper substitute. Awesome! Plus there's a whole section in the beginning with suggestions for decorating, garnishes, and various mix-ins before you get to the cleverly categorized selection of recipes (Chocolate, Fruit, "Adults Only" aka COCKTAIL CUPCAKES, Kids Cupcakes, and Vegan to name a few). And with 150 recipes there is seriously every cupcake for every occasion you can think of!

At the cookout, posing with my new favorite shirt

Because of the holiday this past weekend I decided on the Margarita Cupcakes as my contribution to a cookout I was going to. Also, I am obsessed with cocktail-inspired cupcakes, I forsee this being the most well-used section of this book. And, as I am wont to do, I waited to make them until practically last minute. Imagine my surprise when I discovered we were out of flour! I had already gone on a wild goose chase to assemble the margarita liquids and spent far too much money (you gotta get the best when you make cupcakes, hence why I bought tiny bottles of Patron for this endeavor). Thankfully, my friends agreed to let me use their kitchen and flour--so long as I made a double batch to share. This was a fee I was happy to pay.

This is my friend's pet pig. His name is Oliver. He is fantastic.

The cupcakes were a clear hit at my friend's house, the Cinco De Mayo cookout I attended--which included a pet pig, SO COOL--and at play rehearsal today. I contemplated adding a lime curd in the center of the cupcakes, but decided to stick by Julie's recipe for my first attempt. I'm glad I did! The tequila syrup made the cupcakes deliciously moist and no extra stuff was needed. These are a great cupcake to bring to a picnic, the flavors just really scream summer to me.

Margarita Cupcakes
Excerpted from 150 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson © 2012 Robert Rose Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
(Makes 12 cupcakes)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs triple sec
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the syrup

  • 2 tbs light corn syrup
  • 2 tbs superfine sugar*
  • 1 tbs tequila
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice

For the frosting

  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of lime juice
  • 1 tsp of lime zest

-In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt

-In another small bowl, whisk together lime juice and triple sec

-In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and lime zest until smooth. Alternatively whisk in flour mixture, milk, and triple sec/lime mixture. Beat until smooth.

-Scoop batter into prepared pan (extra points for pretty cupcake wrappers!). Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cook on a pan or rack for just 5 minutes.

-Whisk together syrup mixture. Using a skewer or toothpick, poke four to five holes in the top of each warm cupcake. Drizzle syrup over top of each cupcake. Let cool for ten minutes, then move to rack to cool completely.

-Beat together confectioner's sugar, butter, and salt with an electric mixer until creamy. Increase speed and add zest. Using a pastry bag** pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes.

*I didn't have superfine sugar and I didn't feel like pulling out the food processor to grind up regular granulated like the book helpfully suggested. So I warmed up the mixture in the microwave in ten second increments and stirred until sugar was dissolved. It worked fine!

**I forgot my pastry bag at home, so I used a ziplock bag with a hole cut in it. It made for kind of gloopy looking frosting, but it tasted delish so, success.


  1. Oooo... these would have been a great choice for aa Cinco de Mayo dessert. Love the margarita flavors (also the owl shirt).

  2. Margarita cupcakes are perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

  3. That piggy is just too stinkin' cute!!!

  4. Scrumptious cupcakes and I love that book! Did the pig get to eat one?

    1. Haha! I'm not sure if Oliver got any, but their cat was seen licking the frosting off one cupcake later in the day. However, the owners of the house are vegan, so if there were any leftover cupcakes I'm sure the pig got a taste :)

  5. oh those cupcakes look fabulous!

  6. yum! those sound delicious! i love margaritas so these are definitely one for me to try. thanks for posting the recipe. :)

  7. I just can't understand why anyone ever thought cupcakes were just a passing trend. THEY ARE A LIFESTYLE!

    These margarita cupcakes sound amazing! I'd take them over the drink anyday.

    1. I think the absolute best situation would be to eat them AND have the drink.

  8. Oh my gosh love these cupcakes. And I love your shirt. And I love the pig. xx

    1. I like you, new reader. You have a lot of love! hehe