Mexican Paloma Cupcakes

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!

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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?

Citrus-filled, boozy cupcakes inspired by a Mexican Paloma cocktail?? Don't mind if I do!Click To Tweet

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

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Paloma Cupcakes

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield 12 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 mililiters) 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

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

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

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

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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

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

20 Comments

  • Reply
    Sasha @ Eat Love Eat
    April 26, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    These cupcakes look absolutely divine! I don’t drink alcohol myself but the grapefruit and lime flavours sound incredible!!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      April 29, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Sasha! Grapefruit and lime really are nice together, and while I haven’t tried it to say for sure, I strongly suspect you could leave out the tequila entirely and still have a very nice result!

  • Reply
    Claudia Lamascolo
    April 18, 2018 at 1:22 am

    wow this really is unique I think I need to make these for cinco de mayo!

  • Reply
    Hope
    April 18, 2018 at 1:07 am

    We don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo in New Zealand where I live but I’m slightly jealous as it sounds like fun! These cupcakes look so light and fluffy, and that frosting looks and sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    April 18, 2018 at 12:35 am

    I was concerned reading this that there wouldn’t be any tequila but not only is there tequila it’s in EVERYTHING!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      April 18, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Haha, yeah, I might have mentioned a time or two! 😉 I don’t use much tequila except for these cupcakes, so you know, when I finally break out the bottle, I have a lot to use up! LOL

  • Reply
    Janette | Culinary Ginger
    April 17, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    The Paloma is one of my favorite drinks so I just have to make these cupcakes.

  • Reply
    Kristine
    April 17, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Holy moly! These cupcakes sound incredible! Boozy baked goods are probably my favorite thing ever LOL! 😊

  • Reply
    Ben|Havocinthekitchen
    April 17, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    I cannot say I’m a coctail person, but I do love incorporating famous (buzzy) drinks into desserts (and occasionally even in savory things!) These cupcakes look and sound utterly delicious. I’d drink…I mean eat one of two of these 🙂

    • Reply
      Ben|Havocinthekitchen
      April 17, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      *boozy. You see, I’m already drunk:)

      • Reply
        Monica | Nourish and Fete
        April 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        Haha – drunk just from thinking about the cupcakes!! That’s a new record! 😉 Thanks for your kind words, Ben!

  • Reply
    Bites from other Blogs - social foods
    May 4, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    […] are refreshing cocktails made with grapefruit and tequila and the Paloma Cupcakes from Nourish and Fete capture all those flavors perfectly. The buttermilk cupcakes are infused with lime and grapefruit […]

  • Reply
    signorinaspaghetti
    May 2, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Tequila and cupcakes?! This must be a dream 🙂 I am so curious to try this amazing flavor combination, thanks for posting this recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic + Zest
    May 2, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    I love these cupcakes and I’m pretty sure we should now be best friends! LOL!

    • Reply
      nourishandfete
      May 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! If only you could hop on over to my house, I’d feed you a cupcake, some chips and guac, and we could chat about food all day long!

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    May 2, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I’m such a sucker for boozy cupcakes, so I love this recipe! Definitely hanging on to this one!

  • Reply
    Regina
    May 2, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Yum! What great looking cupcakes. Love that they have 3x tequila 🙂 Perfect for any Mexican celebration

    • Reply
      nourishandfete
      May 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks, Regina! Yes to the 3x tequila – no point in half measures, right!? 🙂

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    May 2, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Ooo. These cupcakes look so incredibly delicious! I love tequila and I love cupcakes! Perfect!

    • Reply
      nourishandfete
      May 2, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks, Elaine! I know – it’s a great combo! 🙂

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