This Strawberry Margarita Layer Cake is a homemade tequila and lime infused moist cake recipe with a strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream.
For the cake:
- 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons (9.8 ml) vanilla extract
- ½ cup (118 ml) light sour cream
- 2 large limes, zested
- 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- ½ cup white tequila (118 ml)
- ½ cup milk (118 ml)- I use nonfat
For the frosting:
- 2 cups strawberries (10.6 oz), chopped and roughly pureed
- 3 cups (24 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 ½ cups (479 g) granulated sugar
- 10 egg whites
- 2 limes, zested
- For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 3 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides. Prepare your bake even stripes if desired.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Next mix in the sour cream and lime zest and beat until well combined.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed while pouring in the lime juice and tequila. Mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
- Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the milk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pan, about 1 2/3 cups of batter per pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-23 minutes. Rotate your pans in the oven halfway through baking.
- Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- For the frosting: Rinse and chop strawberries into smaller pieces, about the size of a dime. Roughly puree in a food processor to create some juice, but leaving some smaller chunks of strawberries. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in your stainless steel mixer bowl (or any heat proof bowl). Attached your candy thermometer to the side of the bowl.
- Set your bowl over top of a pot with water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. You do not want the water to boil and touch the bottom of your mixing bowl. Heat the water on medium to medium-low heat.
- Combine the sugar and egg whites and stir (using your greaseproof spatula) constantly until the mixture reaches 140°-150° F. This is the most important part; you do not want to egg whites to cook. When it reaches 140° F, the sugar should be dissolved in the egg whites. You can test this by placing a drop on your fingertips and rubbing them together. The mixture should be completely smooth. Remove from heat.
- Place the mixing bowl on your stand mixer. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg whites. Start on low and increase the speed to medium after 2 minutes.
- Beat for another 3-5 minutes on medium speed. At this point, your frosting should have turned white as the egg whites are whipped and the body of the meringue starts to form.
- After 5 minutes, increase the speed to high. You will notice that as you increase the speed, the body of your meringue will also increase. It will start to look glossy as the peaks begin to form. Beat for another 5-8 minutes.
- After about 12-15 minutes the bottom of your mixing bowl should be cooled completely. Your SMB should look kind of like whipped cream. Scrape down all sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Turn your mixer down to medium-low. Slowly add your butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, ensuring it is mixed well after each addition. Once you have added all your butter. Mix for another minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on medium to allow all the air bubbles to escape. In about 3-5 minutes the frosting should be smooth. If you frosting appears to be curdled, just keep beating.
- Lastly, pour in the strawberry puree and lime zest and beat for another minute or two until they are well combined in the frosting.
- To assemble the cake, use a cake leveler to cut the domes off the top of the cake if you have domes. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake on top of that.
- Place about 2 cups of frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a large open round tip, or simply cut off the end of the piping bag. Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the cake, starting at the outside edge and working your way into the middle. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Repeat with the second layer of cake and then place your third layer on top.
- Use your piping bag to fill in any gaps between your layers and to create a crumb coat. Using an offset spatula or icing smoother, wipe away the excess frosting, leaving you just enough to coat the outside of the cake. Do not mix your crumb coating frosting back into your icing if it has cake debris in it.
- Proceed to frost the top and sides of the cake using your offset spatula. Once the sides of the cake are covered, use you icing smoother to remove any excess frosting.
- Use remaining frosting to pipe the florets on the top of the cake using an large open round piping tip. Garnish with leftover strawberries and slices of lime.
Be sure to read my tips for how to make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream prior to starting this frosting.