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Strawberry Margarita Cake

Tequila soaked strawberry cake layers with tart lime curd and strawberry buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Buttercream, Cake Decorating, Cake Recipe, Margarita
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling/Decorating Time 3 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 (3 Layer) 6-inch or (2 Layer) 8-inch round cake
Author Katie

Ingredients

Strawberry Cake

  • 1 cup strawberries, cut in half, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups cake flour (or 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour + ¼ cup cornstarch)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest
  • Super red gel food coloring

Lime Curd

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

Tequila Syrup 

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tequila

Strawberry Gel

  • 10 strawberries, cut in half, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest

Strawberry Lime Buttercream

  • 2 cups (or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup strawberry gel (see recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 Tablespoons tequila

Garnish

  • 3-5 whole fresh whole strawberries
  • 3-5 lime wedges
  • Coarse sea salt

Instructions

Strawberry Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Spray three 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.

  2. In a food processor, pulse fresh or frozen strawberries for 1 minute until cut into small pieces, then add strawberry jam and buttermilk, pulse until combined. Set aside.

  3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk and stir together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  4. In the stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on medium-high for 5 minutes.

  5. Add the eggs, one at a time to the stand mixer bowl and beat on medium until well incorporated.

  6. Turn the mixer on low and add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture then add buttermilk. Add in the remaining flour mixture and until fully incorporated.

  7. Pour in the strawberry mixture, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest. Mix on medium for another 30 seconds and add a few drops of super red gel food coloring. Mix until combined, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  8. Evenly distribute the cake batter among the three cake pans and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

  9. Remove cakes from oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely — wrap cakes in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lime Curd

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lime zest, and lime juice. Continue whisking over low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

  2. Add the cold butter cubes pieces at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula until each addition is melted and incorporated.

  3. Continue cooking the mixture for 4-5 minutes until it is thickened and coats the back of a spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to fully cool.

Tequila Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Continue to heat for 5 minutes until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the tequila. Set aside to cool.

Strawberry Lime Gel

  1. In a small saucepot, add the fresh or frozen strawberries. Place pot over medium heat for 5-10 minutes to bring to a boil and break down the berries occasionally stir to prevent from burning on the bottom.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Mix with a spoon until the mixture is lump-free. Add the mixture to the boiling strawberries, stirring constantly.

  3. Add lime zest to the strawberry mixture should be opaque and thick. Once thick, remove from the heat and place into the freezer to cool quickly.

Strawberry Lime Buttercream

  1. In the stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  2. Turn the mixer to low and add the cold strawberry gel, lime juice, salt, and vanilla.

  3. Next, gradually add powdered sugar, followed by the tequila. Mix on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  4. Before using, turn the mixer on low and mix for 2 minutes to push out any air bubbles or use a rubber spatula to push out the air bubbles. (You may need to repeat this step when frosting the outside of the cake).

Assemble

  1. Remove the cake layers from the freezer and unwrap the cake layers. Next, use a serrated knife to cut off the dome of the cakes to make the layers flat and even.

  2. Add a small amount of buttercream onto the center of the cake board.

  3. Layer a chilled strawberry cake, cut side up onto the cake board. Place a thin layer of buttercream on top of the cake then pipe a ring of buttercream. Add 1/4 cup of lime curd inside the circle of buttercream.

  4. Place another cake layer cut side down over the top. Repeat the process for another layer—Crumb coat and freeze for 30 minutes.

  5. Then add a thicker layer of frosting and smooth the sides out using an offset spatula and cake scraper.

  6. While turning the cake, use an offset spatula press and move your offset spatula from the bottom to the top holding the offset spatula perpendicular to the cake.

  7. Finally, add the strawberries, lime wedges, and sprinkle sea salt on top.

Recipe Notes

  • Read through all the ingredients and instructions so you can get a better idea of how much time and what you need to make this cake.
  • A single batch of this cake recipe makes three, 6-inch round cake layers or two 8-inch round cake layers. Double the cake recipe to make enough cake batter for three, 8-inch cake layers.
  • In this cake recipe, you need ½ cup buttermilk; if you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can easily use ½ cup whole milk mixed with 2 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar to make your own. 
  • To make cake flour at home, mix 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour and ¼ cup cornstarch. Sift or whisk together to get rid of any lumps. 
  • Be careful not to overmix this cake batter, or else the cake will come out dense. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • You can bake the cake layers ahead of time. Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze up to one month. 
  • You can make the buttercream, lime curd filling, and tequila syrup a day ahead and refrigerate them overnight. Then take them out to come back to room temperature. Make sure the buttercream is at room temperature before re-whipping.
  • Serve at room temperature and enjoy!