Margarita Cake

When someone coined the weather phrase about March – in like a lion and out like a lamb – I think they were envisioning May 2011. Wildfires and drought in Texas, flooding through the Midwest, tornadoes roaring through the South, record-breaking rain up the coast, this May is lion like in its demeanor. And I am ready for it to calm down! Which makes holidays and festivities like Cinco de Mayo (May 5) a welcome relief and diversion from the chaos around us.

You can’t feel anything but happy when eating Mexican food – from tacos to enchiladas, the lively salsa and crunchy chips, and the tangy margaritas. For dessert? Why a Tres Leches Cake, or a chocolate cake flavored with cinnamon, or this festive Margarita Cake recipe from my cookbook, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! It was first shared on the website’s community board, and after so many great reviews I had to give the cake a try.

The three essential ingredients of a margarita are in both the cake batter and the glaze – tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Use either fresh squeezed lime juice or buy the bottled Key lime juice for this easy Bundt cake. It’s perfect for Cinco de Mayo parties, potlucks, and picnics all summer long – anytime your menu and you need a diversion.

This cake is great made with my Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake Mix.

Margarita Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16 servings
For the cake:
  • Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow or lemon cake mix
  • Half a package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix (4 tablespoons)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime or Key lime juice
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons triple sec
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 4 large eggs
For the glaze and garnish:
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or Key lime juice
  • 1 lime, cut into thin slices
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons coarse sugar
  1. Make the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust it with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sugar, water, oil, ⅓ cup lime juice, ¼ cup tequila, 2 tablespoons triple sec, and the lime zest and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look smooth and thick. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan in the oven.
  3. Bake the cake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 42 to 47 minutes. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 25 minutes longer.
  4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Place the confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon tequila, 1 tablespoon triple sec, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Slide the cake onto a serving plate. Using a long wooden skewer poke 12 to 16 holes in the top of the cake. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Garnish the cake with the lime slices and a sprinkling of coarse sugar. Let the glaze set for 10 minutes, then slice and serve the cake.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Rebecca F.

    Made this cake today – AWESOME! The texture and flavor is wonderful.

  • tamra

    I agree with Rebecca, AWESOME!

  • Queen Williams

    Wonderful cake. Very easy, too. What cake pan is that in the Photo and where can I find it?

  • Queen Williams

    Wonderful recipe. Very easy, too. What cake pan is that in the photo, and where can I find it?

    • Anne

      That is a Bundt pan – the classic original design. You can find them most everywhere housewares are sold.

  • Jlynpal

    Need to make this with no alcohol…? substitute?

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