Today's National Tequila Day: Celebrate with a Cupcake

In addition to celebrating National Tequila Day with a couple of margaritas or other tequila-based drinks, whip up a batch of tequila sunrise cupcakes.

They're sweet, colorful and simply beautiful to look at. The spongy vanilla cake paired with the light-pink frosting just looks like a morning sunrise. The taste of sweet tequila and grenadine paired with orange juice will make you feel like you're lounging poolside sipping a tequila sunrise.

To start making these boozy cupcakes, prepare the dry ingredients by mixing flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Juice one orange for a fresh orange juice taste and zest the orange to add beautiful touches of color to the cupcake batter. Save at least a teaspoon of zest for the frosting. Mix the juice and zest with one cup of soy milk (you can use regular milk, too), 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, two tablespoons of tequila, one tablespoon of grenadine, one cup of sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract. If the grenadine doesn't change the color of the cupcakes enough to be slightly pink, you can add red and yellow food coloring. I didn't want to add any food coloring because I wanted the cakes to contrast the pink frosting.

The vegetable oil, baking powder and baking soda in these cupcakes take the place of the eggs, so this is a great dairy-free recipe.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated. The batter will be runny and slightly lumpy -- make sure there aren't large clumps of flour.

Once you've incorporated all of the ingredients together, fill each tin until 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed on top. I used bright yellow cupcake tins to go along with the sunrise theme.

While your cupcakes bake, I suggest making your frosting so you can let it stiffen up in the refrigerator.

Start by creaming 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, then slowly incorporate three and a half cups of confectioners' sugar. Once that's fully mixed together, add one or two tablespoons of soy milk (or regular milk), two teaspoons of tequila, one tablespoon of grenadine and a teaspoon of orange zest. My frosting wasn't pink enough with the addition of grenadine, so I added a little bit of pink food coloring to brighten it up.

Now, stick the frosting in the refrigerator to firm up while your cupcakes cool. Once the cupcakes are cool and the frosting is more solid, use a piping back to decorate the cupcakes with the tequila sunrise frosting.

The cupcakes should be slightly spongy but light and fluffy, and should have a subtle hint of tequila. If you want more tequila flavor, I'm sure you can add a tablespoon more to the cupcake or frosting, but make sure you don't add too much or the cupcake batter and frosting will be too runny.

Make a batch of these cupcakes to enjoy after dinner tonight for a different way of celebrating National Tequila Day.

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn