Tequila Cake

May really snuck up on me this year, but I had just enough time to make this Tequila Cake! 

Every year I like to make some type of cake to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. In the past I’ve made a giant donkey pinata cake, a taco cake, and even a margarita trifle.

I decided to stick with an easy ruffle decoration this year, to keep things simple. But don’t be fooled, this cake is packed with surprises!!

Piñata-Inspired, Sprinkle-Filled Cake

I wanted this cake to be just as much as a piñata, so I hopped on the trendy, sprinkle-filled cake band wagon!!

Sprinkle-filled cakes are super easy to make. You just need a circle cutter to remove the centers from a couple of your cake layers.

Simply place these cut out cake layers in the middle while assembling the cake. This creates a beautiful little chamber inside the cake.

Adding sprinkles into center of my tequila layer cake

Fill the hole with your favorite sprinkle blend, and top with your final cake layer. Tah-Dah! I think the hardest part is just waiting to cut into the cake!!

Boozy Simple Syrup And Frosting

I did say surprises, and the second surprise of this cake is the boozy simple syrup and frosting this recipe calls for!

Now you may be thinking, why not just add tequila to the cake batter? Is the simple syrup really necessary?

Whenever alcohol is added to cake batter, it bakes out when the layers are placed in the oven. Theres nothing wrong with that, but the whole point of this tequila cake is actually taste the tequila!!

This is why the cake batter in this recipe doesn’t include any tequila.

However, it made a whole lot of sense to add tequila to the simple syrup and frosting used on this cake! It allows you to truly taste the tequila in each bite, but not in an overpowering way.

The tequila is well balanced with the sweetness of the simple syrup, the tang of the lime juice, and the buttermilk in the cake batter.

uncut tequila lime cake decorated with buttercream ruffles

I’m actually not the biggest tequila fan, but I was so pleasantly surprised by how delicious this cake turned out!

It has just enough of a kick to to remind you to it’s Cinco de Mayo 😉

The Finishing Touch: Buttercream Ruffles

Cinco de Mayo is one big party, and I wanted to decorate this cake in a way to said that!

I love decorating cakes with buttercream, and decided that some vertical buttercream ruffles would add the perfect festive touch. 

Piping vertical  buttercream ruffles onto a crumb coated cake

While they may look hard to pipe, I promise they’re a lot easier than you might think.

Start by turning your piping bag, so that the wider side of the frosting tip is lightly touching the crumb coat. Your cake should be chilled, and your crumb coat should be firm to the touch.

Begin at the base of the cake, moving the piping tip upward, and slowly shifting from side to side.

Your frosting tip should lightly graze the crumb coat as you pipe, to ensure the buttercream ruffles anchor onto the cake.

Repeat until you reach the top of the cake, carefully ending each ribbon by dragging the piping bag to the right.

colorful vertical buttercream ruffles, piped on a tequila infused cake

To give your cake a cohesive look, try to keep the width of each ribbon the same while piping. Continue until the entire cake is covered.

Share Your Creations With Me!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing cakes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

If you try this tequila cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!

Yield: 16 servings

Tequila Cake

Tequila Cake

This tequila-infused layer cake is made with lime cake layers, and a tequila lime buttercream! It's the perfect boozy cake for Cinco De Mayo, or for anyone who loves tequila!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Lime Cake Layers:

  • 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
  • 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)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (12 grams)
  • zest of 1 small lime (4 grams)

Tequila Lime Simple Syrup

  • 2/3 cup sugar (132 grams)
  • 1/2 cup water (118 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp tequila (25 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (12 grams)
  • zest of 1 small lime (4 grams)

Tequila Lime Buttercream

  • 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 tequila (25 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (24 grams)
  • bright orange, pink, green, yellow, and blue gel food coloring

Instructions

Lime Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four, six-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 lime juice, lime zest, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (about 300 grams per pan).
  7. Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. 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 45 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.

Tequila Lime Simple Syrup:

  1. Place water and sugar in a pot.
  2. Heat over high heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture just begins to boil.
  3. Remove from heat, and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Add in the tequila, lime zest, and lime juice, and set aside.

Tequila Lime Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the tequila 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 the lime juice and tequila.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in the 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 lime juice (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  5. Divide the frosting into five bowls, adding an extra cup of frosting to the bowl you plan to color green.
  6. Color the frosting bright green, orange, pink, yellow, and blue with gel food coloring
  7. Place each color of frosting into its own piping bag, fitted with a wilton 104 frosting tip.

To Assemble This Tequila Cake:

  1. Once the simple syrup has cooled, dab it on top of each leveled cake layer, using a sterile brush. Be sure to fully cover the surface of each cake layer.
  2. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  3. If desired, use a three-inch circle cutter to remove the center from the two middle cake layer to make a sprinkle filled cake.
  4. Pipe about 1/2 cup of green frosting on top of each cake layer, and spread with an offset spatula.
  5. While assembling the cake, fill the hole in the middle cake layer with a festive sprinkle blend to create a piñata-inspired cake.
  6. Apply a thin coat of green frosting around the the cake, to fully cover the cake layers. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  7. Pipe vertical ruffles of buttercream up the sides of the cake, following the same color pattern.
  8. Use leftover buttercream to pipe small flowers to decorate the top of the cake.

Notes

One batch of cake batter makes about 1200 grams, so when I'm making a cake with four layer, I add 300 grams of batter into each pan.

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife.

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.

Since this frosting will be used to decorate a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.

You can also stir the frosting in a bowl with a rubber spatula, pushing it from side to side, to get rid of any air bubbles.This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 651 Total Fat 32g Saturated Fat 19g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 11g Cholesterol 82mg Sodium 243mg Carbohydrates 92g Fiber 0g Sugar 89g Protein 2g

14 thoughts on “Tequila Cake

  1. Chelsey, can this recipe be doubled to fill 3-7×2 cake pans? I just ordered the pans from Amazon and can’t wait to bake this cake!! Thank you!

    1. you pour it over the layers, once they’re trimmed and cooled! I just updated the recipe, sorry about that!

  2. Is there a way to make this nondairy? Will margarine sticks easily replace the bitter? Can soy milk replace the buttermilk?

    1. My layers have good structure, and can easily keep their shape when stacked (even with the cavity)! I’ve never had an issue with it 🙂

  3. can children eat from this cake? or is it better just for adults? i wasn’t sure if the alcohol part evaporated making it okay.
    Thank you ?

    1. There isn’t enough tequila in a serving of this cake to be detrimental to a child, but I totally understand if you don’t want to give it to kids! The alcohol won’t bake out of the simple syrup or the frosting. You can omit it though, and just make a lime flavored cake <3

Let me know what you think!