If I've ever doubted a Betty Crocker recipe, I take it all back! Betty's Strawberry Margarita Cake recipe made for perfect cupcakes... and the awesome recipe for buttercream frosting I found (I made the limey version) took these babies from good to great in no time! I made these for our Cinco de Mayo party, and can't wait to find a reason to make them again :)
1 white cake mix
oil and egg whites (as called for in cake mix instructions)
3/4 c strawberry margarita drink mix (syrup, non-alcoholic)
1/2 c water
1 c (2 sticks) butter (salted or unsalted)
1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lime juice
2-3 TBSP milk
1 TBSP lime zest
sliced strawberries, rinsed and dried
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Add 1/2 c water to 3/4 c margarita mix (to create 1 1/4 c of liquid).
In large bowl, combine cake mix, strawberry liquid mixture, oil, and egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Bake for 16-20 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until completely smooth (about 1 minute).
Add salt (if using unsalted butter).
One cup at a time, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition.
Add vanilla and lime juice and beat to combine.
Add 1 TBSP milk and continue beating.
Add 2 remaining cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
Add remaining 1 TBSP milk until consistency is reached (1 more TBSP if you prefer thinner frosting). Add a bit of lime zest, if you'd like.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes after they have cooled completely.
Top with a strawberry slice and a sprinkling of lime zest.
(If you chill these, make sure to take them out of the fridge a few minutes before serving...to allow the frosting to soften back up. It hardens in the fridge!)
Comments from the cook: I originally used a strawberry cake mix and added the strawberry syrup (by accident, actually). The taste was phenomenal, though maybe a little on the overpowering side. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), I baked them for a minute or two too long and they were too sponge-like for me. I tried again (this time with a white cake), and had perfect success baking the cupcakes for about 17 minutes.
I will probably add 1/4 cup more powdered sugar to my frosting next time. It was REALLY hot outside (about 90°) the day I took these to a party, and they might've held up just a little better with a bit more p. sugar. And, though I tried to fight it, my strawberries still put off a bit of syrup that ran down the sides and into the frosting. A small sacrifice for the taste we achieved...but enough to drive me a little crazy too! Perhaps next time I'll throw the berries and lime zest on RIGHT before serving. Or perhaps next time I'll just look the other way :)