Paloma cupcakes are a citrus-filled and boozy dessert, inspired by the crisp flavors of a Mexican Paloma cocktail – lime, grapefruit, and tequila. These are the perfect unexpected treat to wow guests for Cinco de Mayo or any summer fiesta!

Close-up of a Paloma cupcake with grapefruit and lime slices for garnish.

With Cinco de Mayo around the corner, you might be stocking up on bottled beer and margarita supplies. And if so, just let me know what time to come over. 🙂

But in case you’re over the beer and margarita situation, or just looking to add a little variety, you might be very pleased to check out the Paloma – another classic Mexican cocktail with lime and tequila, plus a splash of grapefruit to lend it more citrus punch and a gorgeous pale pink hue.

And further, if you want to combine drinks and dessert into the best of all possible worlds, you can whip up a batch of these show-stopping Paloma cupcakes.

Flat-lay of Paloma cupcakes with grapefruit and lime wedges scattered around.

Tequila, Grapefruit, and Lime

Inspired by the cocktail and adapted from Brown Eyed Baker‘s equally show-stopping margarita cupcakes, these sweet little treats are sure to turn heads, especially with tequila in the cupcakes, brushed on the cupcakes, and in the frosting for good measure. Go big or go home, right?

[clickToTweet tweet=”Citrus-filled, boozy cupcakes inspired by a Mexican Paloma cocktail?? Don’t mind if I do!” quote=”Citrus-filled, boozy cupcakes inspired by a Mexican Paloma cocktail?? Don’t mind if I do!”]

The cupcakes themselves are light, fluffy, and moist. You’ll add both the zest and juice from both a grapefruit and lime, which gives an unmistakeable bright citrus flavor. The combination just screams spring and summer fun!

You’ll also add a small amount of tequila to the cake batter. Any quality white or silver tequila will work – I like using Silver Patrón.

Paloma cupcake batter in a mixing bowl surrounded by fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lime.

Little Helper

That said, my little still helped with the baking! I was just extra careful about which parts of the counter he had access to. 😉

More and more these days, he’s game to “help” with photography, too. See his little knees in the top left corner above?

And that sweet little toy camera? The “viewfinder” is a little kaleidoscope, which I think is so fun. Since we got it, if I am trying to take pictures while he is awake, I can usually say, “OK, first we’re going to make it pretty,” and he’ll watch/”help” with the set-up, and then, “OK, get your camera!” And he will run and grab it and snap photos while I do the same. I think it’s pretty adorable, but I’m also just a tiny bit biased.

Also he loves to help fill the cupcake liners with batter. See below. Sigh. I did wipe off the edges as best I could before baking. In some ways I think this isn’t half bad for a not-quite-three year old!

Cupcake batter divided among baking wells with a bit of messy splatters on the pan.

The Ultimate Boozy Cupcakes

OK, back to the cupcakes. Once they are baked, you’ll brush on a little extra tequila, just for fun.

This obviously is optional, if you wanted to tone down the alcohol factor. But, again, if you’re making boozy dessert, I say, go all the way. 🙂

Using a pastry brush to brush tequila onto the tops of baked Paloma cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes are brushed and cooled completely, you’ll make a simple buttercream frosting. Just butter, powdered sugar, and a little more of our signature ingredients for flavor.

To flavor the frosting, you’ll add a bit of grapefruit and lime juice. Unlike the cake batter, I would NOT recommend adding zest to the frosting, at least not if you plan to pipe on the frosting, as seen in the photos here. Citrus zest is very likely to get stuck in your piping tip and cause a mess/headache!

Of course, if you are planning to simply swipe or spread on the frosting with a knife or spatula (every bit as delicious!) this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

Paloma cupcakes frosted and lined up, with grapefruit and lime wedges and a bottle of tequila in the background.

So there you have it!

No doubt, these Paloma cupcakes would be a huge hit for Cinco de Mayo, but I’m certain they would be equally welcome at any party or gathering all summer long. I can just picture them earning oohs and aaahs at a BBQ or pool party – maybe even with some cocktails right alongside!

Enjoy! ♥

Close-up of a Paloma cupcake with grapefruit and lime slices for garnish.

More Mexican Recipes:

If you’ve tried these cupcakes or any other recipe on the blog, please remember to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!

Paloma Cupcakes

Paloma cupcakes are a citrus-filled and boozy treat, inspired by the crisp flavors of a Mexican Paloma cocktail - lime, grapefruit, and tequila. These are the perfect unexpected treat to wow guests for Cinco de Mayo or any summer fiesta!

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups (213 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 1 grapefruit zested
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon white or silver tequila
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:

  • 1 tablespoon white or silver tequila

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups (340 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon white or silver tequila
  • pinch of coarse salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the lime and grapefruit zest and juice, vanilla extract, and tequila. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until combined. (Don’t worry if the batter looks slightly curdled; it will come back together.)
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix each addition just until incorporated, and use a spatula to give it one last stir by hand.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the muffin wells, and bake until the cupcakes are light golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the cupcake tops with the 1 tablespoon of tequila, then set aside to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, whip butter using an electric mixer on medium-high for 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally as you go. Add the lime and grapefruit juice, tequila, and salt, and beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with zest and small wedges from leftover limes or grapefruit.

Notes

  1. Adapted from classic margarita cupcake recipes via The Brewer and the Baker and Brown Eyed Baker.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 480kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 74mg, Potassium: 133mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 49g, Vitamin A: 1001IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

This post was originally published on May 2, 2017, and updated on April 16, 2018 with new photos. This post contains affiliate links.

A citrus-filled, boozy cupcake made with tequila, lime, and grapefruit, inspired by a crisp Mexican Paloma cocktail. A show-stopping dessert for Cinco de Mayo or any summer party! #paloma #cincodemayo #boozycupcakes