Margarita Trifle

Cosmopolitan asked me to make a margarita trifle cake, I could not have been more excited.

If you follow me on instagram and watch my instastories, you know that I love to unwind on the weekends with a good frozen marg.

To make this margarita trifle even more festive, I assembled the trifle in a giant cocktail glass. Before the comments start, yes, I know this is not the type of a glass a traditional margarita is served in.

But you know what? For the life of me I couldn’t find a giant margarita glass! I pinky promise I looked everywhere. I would love nothing more than a massive margarita glass!!

Luckily I was able to find this massive cocktail glass. It got the job done, and I think still conveys the whole “caketail” message.

chelsey white with frozen margarita cake

This cake is made with crumbed lime cake layers, doused in a generous splash of a triple sec and tequila simple syrup.

It’s also frosted with layers of lime buttercream, which is made using my classic buttercream recipe as a base. The full video can be seen here.

All About The Details: Sugared Rim

The salt rim of a margarita is so iconic, this cake just wouldn’t be complete without it.

However, no one wants that much salt with their cake! When I was preparing to make this trifle, I chose to use some granulated sugar instead. 

It really takes the whole look of the trifle to the next level.

Creating a sugar rim is quite easy! All you have to do is run a lime slice or a paper towel soaked in some of the triple sec simple syrup around the perimeter of your glass bowl or container.

Then dip the rim of the container onto a plate of granulated sugar.

MVI_8659_Moment (2)

Crumbling Up The Cake Layers

This trifle is made with two cake layers. I know it seems strange to crumble up perfectly good cake layers, but I swear its worth it!

You could also cut the layers into small cubes like a traditional trifle, but I found it easiest to fill the glass using the crumbled bits of cake.

My main tip when doing this is to make sure your cake layers are fully cooled. I recommend starting in the center of the cake layer, and working your way to the sides.

I did not include the sides of the cake. They brown due to caramelization, and I thought this would take away from the colorful cake layers.

MVI_8660_Moment (2)

Assembling This Margarita Trifle

Once you make it to this point, it’s all fun and games. As you add in the bits of cake, you may want to use your hands to press them down.

This will help create an even, uniform layer of cake. It will also allow you to fit more cake into the trifle.

margarita trifle photo

I was quite generous with my drizzle the simple syrup over the cake pieces, and I didn’t regret it one bit. While the cake and buttercream a packed with lime flavor, it’s the simple syrup that really makes this cake taste like a margarita.

So don’t be shy when you are adding it to this trifle. You’ll thank me later!!!

Top with green sprinkles, a straw and a lime to really give this cake a festive finish!

Then it’s time to dive in. Happy hour just got a whole lot sweeter 😛 It would also be fun to make miniature version of these in individual sized containers for a party!

margarita cake - photo of a giant margarita trifle

Yield: 16

Margarita Trifle

margarita cake - photo of a giant margarita trifle

This vanilla layer cake recipe makes the perfect six inch layer cake! It makes three, moist cake layers that are perfect for stacking.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


Lime Cake

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (276 grams)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (150 grams) - 1 and 1/3 sticks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 2/3 cup egg whites (or about 5 egg whites) (185 grams)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (240 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (14 grams)
  • gel food coloring (if desired)
  • zest of 1 small lime
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (12 grams)
  • lime green gel food coloring

Lime Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (907 grams) - or a 2 lb bag
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (30 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)
  • zest of 2 small limes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (12 grams)

Tequila Triple Sec Simple Syrup

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp tequila
  • 2 Tbsp Triple Sec

Additional Decorations

  • colorful sprinkles
  • Lime wedge
  • Straw


Lime Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 8 inch pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  5. Add in vanilla, lime juice, lime zest and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. 
  6. Add in the green gel food coloring. Mix the coloring in by hand, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix until the batter is evenly colored.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  9. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  10. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Lime Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla, lime juice, lime zest, and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  5. Place in a large piping bag, and cut a 1 inch opening.

Triple Sec Simple Syrup:

  1. Place the sugar and water in a heat proof pan, and heat on a medium high heat until boiling.
  2. Reduce the heat to allow the mixture to simmer until all the sugar is dissolved (2-3 minutes).
  3. Add in the tequila and triple sec, and remove from heat.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool, then place in a squirt bottle.

To Assemble The Cake:

  1. Use some of the simple syrup and a paper towel to coat the top rim of your glass container.
  2. Pour some granulated sugar onto a large plate and dip to edge of your glass bowl onto it, to create a sugared rim
  3. Crumble the fully cooled cake layers into a large bowl using a fork.
  4. Add a 1 inch layer of cake crumbs into a large glass bowl or container, and drizzle with a generous amount of the tequila triple sec simple syrup.
  5. Pipe an even layer of buttercream on top of the cake.
  6. Repeat until the glass container is filled to the top.
  7. Add colorful sprinkles to the decorate the top.
  8. Garnish with a lime slice and a straw.


These cake layers can be made in advance!! Learn more about how far in advance they can be made, and how to properly wrap them in my post on how to make cake layers ahead of time.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 669Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 84mgSodium 244mgCarbohydrates 95gFiber 1gSugar 91gProtein 2g

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