Margarita Cake

Margarita cake

As I was closing the July issue of Cook's Country after checking out the recipe for chicken chimichangas, I caught a glimpse of a cake on the inside of the back cover. Consisting of a pretzel crust, fluffy cheesecake-like center, and gelatin glaze topping, this boozy margarita cake sounded just right for a sweet ending to a tortilla party.

Making this cake takes a little advanced planning since it requires 1-hour and 4-hour chilling times, but overall it's easy to prepare. My crust came out a little thicker than the crust pictured in the magazine, even though I used a 9 1/2-inch pan rather than the 9-inch pan called for. I think this is because it's a little difficult to accurately measure 3 cups of pretzels. I would have preferred a weight measurement for those. And if I make this again, I might try it without lining the perimeter of the pan with parchment. The parchment gets wet and wavy and leaves the sides of the cake a bit uneven. If I hadn't been serving this to guests who were all standing around watching me finish the cake and eagerly awaiting a slice, I probably would have taken an offset spatula and trimmed the sides a bit to even them out before decorating them with coconut and lime zest. (Alicia got some great pictures of the decorating process.)

Margarita cake

Margarita Cake (adapted from Cook's Country, July 2011)


1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 lime, sliced thin (2 limes)
3 cups pretzels
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup water
4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 (10-ounce) can frozen margarita mix, thawed
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup triple sec
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces cream cheese, softened


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, and line the perimeter with a 3-inch wide strip of parchment paper.

Process coconut and lime zest in food processor until coarsely ground. Reserve 1/2 cup.

Add pretzels to remaining coconut mixture, and process until finely ground.

Add melted butter, and pulse to combine.

Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Bake until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling, combine 1/4 cup water and gelatin in a small saucepan, and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

Add margarita mix, tequila, and triple sec, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until gelatin dissolves, about 5 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy. Then increase to high speed, and whip until soft peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a bowl, and store in fridge until ready to use.

In clean bowl of stand mixer, whip condensed milk and cream cheese until combined. Add 1 cup margarita mixture, and whip until combined.

Fold in one-third of the whipped cream, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Pour filling into cooled crust, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Then, to make the topping, stir remaining 1/2 cup water into remaining margarita mixture. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.

Pour topping over filling, and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Remove sides of pan and parchment, and press reserved coconut mixture onto sides of cake, and top cake with lime slices. Serve.

Margarita cake

Everyone at the tortilla party seemed to really enjoy the cake. It was definitely a hit!

Do you like boozy cakes?