Foodie Dreams, Kitchen Nightmares: Margarita Cupcakes

Foodie Dreams, Kitchen Nightmares chronicles my fail-whale attempts at making foods I love. Tonight, I explain why Mexican booze and fluffy pastries shouldn't mix.

As should be made painfully obvious by now, I have a thing for cupcakes. They are sweet, simple, delicious, and usually cheerfully decorated--a little bit of happiness you can hold in your hand. But also, I like margaritas. They were the first alcoholic drink I ever had, in Bermuda after my mom was all like "Whatever, we're on vacation" some time in my early teens. They so nicely combine the sweetness of the drink with the tangyness of the lemon/lime, the salt on the rim, and the bite of tequila, which otherwise is just disgusting.

And, ok, I get that just because you like two things separately, it doesn't mean you'll like them together (mmm chocolaty bacon...), but when I came across a recipe for margarita cupcakes (!!!), I couldn't resist.

During the summer I was just realizing that I would, in fact, be cooking my own meals for myself for at least the next 60 years, a fact that mostly depressed me as I imagined an endless line of pan-fried chicken and pasta stretching out into the distance. So, to make myself feel better, or at least convince myself that I had cooking skillz, I started searching out recipes in earnest (bringing me to, like, now). And at some point (and somewhere where I've now forgotten), I came across this cupcake recipe. Undaunted by the dozen+ ingredients, which included buttermilk and pureed mango, I forwarded it to Dave with some sort of subject line similar to "OMG OMG HAVE TO BAKE NOWWW!!!!" He agreed, and we decided to wait until Fourth of July, when we would get to take advantage of his parents' amazing kitchen and his mom's amazing cooking skills.

In retrospect, I probably should have realized my cupcake baking skills begin and end with boxes of cake mix. Also, any recipe that specifies what kind of honey they want you to use just has to be asking for it. The frosting--which for some reason we did in two batches--came out either laffy taffy stiff or watercolor thin, and the cupcakes emerged as poor, shrunken shadows of themselves. Also, I'm still lost about the "margarita" part of the margarita cupcake. From my perspective, the only thing margarita-y was the 1/4 cup lime juice and the tequila shots we later had to drink to convince ourselves the cupcakes were good.

Mrs. Toniatti valiantly offered her help and her mixer (and taught me the proper way to use measuring spoons!), and later called the cupcakes delicious and beautiful (where Dave gets it from?), but I'm considering the whole thing kind of a wash. Enough for me to get all Jimmy Buffett on everyone.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup ripe mango (pureed or very finely chopped)
1 lime (zest and 1/4 cup juice)
1/4 cup buttermilk (or 3 Tbsp plain yogurt and 1 Tbsp milk)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup honey (wildflower preferred)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.
Combine mango puree, lime zest and juice,buttermilk,and set aside.
Cream butter, add honey, eggs one at a time.
On low speed,add in half of dry mixture,until combined, half of liquid mix, repeat.
Fill lined muffin tins about half full, bake 18-22 minutes.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup mango (very finely chopped)
l lime (zest and juice)
2 Tbsp honey
4 to 5 cups confectioners sugar
sea salt

Cream butter. Add mango, lime, honey.
Add sugar 1 cup at a time. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with sea salt.
(* This makes a very large amount, consider cutting frosting quantity in half)

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