Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Jul 19, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

Libations used: 2 Tbs tequila
Libations left over: Shots! But just one...
Margaritas mean summer to me—well, actually they're lovely anytime of year—but they're best during the summer!  So why not combine that lush deliciousness with a cupcake?  I love this particular recipe from the food blog Tracey's Culinary Adventures because of the oh-so-lightness of the cake (thank god for buttermilk) and the subtle amount of tequila in the buttercream.  Usually, I really like to booze up my cakes and confections, but sometimes I have light lush days.  Plus, I took these to share with my girl friends for Shakespeare in the Park...and there were children around...and I wouldn't want them to get their little hands on something that would knock them out...

Margarita Cupcakes - serves 12-14
Cake ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs tequila 
Frosting ingredients:
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tbs tequila
  • Pinch of salt

To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 and line those muffin tins.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition.
- Mix in the lime zest, juice and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately (in 3 additions) with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat until just incorporated.
- Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes.
- When they're done baking, lightly brush the tops with tequila.
- Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:
- Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar until fully incorporated and frosting is smooth.
- Add the lime juice, 1 Tbs tequila and salt, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- If you want your frosting boozier, add more tequila.  If you need to thicken it up, add more confectioners sugar.
- After frosting the cupcakes, garnish with lime zest or wedges.