Margarita cake is a spectacular keto layer cake flavored with a little tequila and plenty of fresh lime. Impress your friends with this delicious sugar-free cake recipe!
A few months ago, a reader on Facebook suggested I make a margarita cake. And of course, I had to agree wholeheartedly, because yum….margaritas! Why would I not want to turn my favorite cocktail into a keto cake?
I had actually saved a few recipes on Pinterest as inspiration, even before my reader reached out to suggest it. It was exactly the push I needed.
And with Cinco do Mayo just around the corner, I decided it was high time to attempt a Keto Margarita Cake!
If you love the cocktail as much as I do, be sure to check out my awesome Sugar-Free Margaritas. These are the real deal!
Margarita cake inspiration
There are so many amazing cakes to be found on Pinterest, and one site I am constantly deriving inspiration from is Life Love & Sugar.
Obviously, Lindsay’s MO is completely different from mine. Her cakes are the full carb, sugar, and wheat version. But they are so stunning, they always stop me in my tracks.
I honestly can’t tell you how many of them I’ve saved to my inspiration board on Pinterest. And I’ve even modelled a few other low carb cakes after hers, including my Keto Turtle Cupcakes.
I won’t lie, Lindsay is a much better cake decorator than I am. But we are working with very different ingredients too, and I think I do a serviceable job with what I have.
Does this cake taste like margaritas?
The answer to this is: sort of.
There is actually some tequila in the cake itself. The flavor isn’t all that strong and because I didn’t want to throw off my wet to dry ratio, I couldn’t add too much of it.
If you want to skip it, that’s fine too. Just replace the ⅓ cup of tequila with ⅓ cup of water.
But there is plenty of lime juice and lime zest in this margarita, and that zingy flavor stands out deliciously. If you’re a lime lover, this cake is going to be a huge hit.
If you prefer a basic keto vanilla cake, I’ve got that too!
Creamy keto lime frosting
The cake itself is pretty straightforward, and it’s along the lines of many of my other keto cake recipes. But the frosting really took some consideration, and I want you to have the full benefit of my tips for this.
I knew from the get-go that nothing would beat the creamy richness of my sugar-free Swiss meringue buttercream. It is hands down the best keto vanilla frosting on the planet. And trust me, I don’t say that lightly.
However, I was worried that adding a lot of lime juice to it would make it a soupy mess. No one wants the frosting oozing all over the place on their keto margarita cake!
So I decided on a bit of a work around, where I also created a small amount of keto cream cheese frosting. I then folded these two together to give the frosting more structure.
It worked better than I could have hoped. The frosting held up beautifully and had the perfect tangy lime flavor.
It’s a big cake so I offered some to a few friends, and it got rave reviews. And these are non-keto people, so you know it’s good stuff.
Ready to try making my Keto Margarita Cake?
More delicious keto lime recipes
- Keto Key Lime Pie Bars
- Macadamia Lime Muffins
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Key Lime Sugar Cookies
- Cucumber Lime Margaritas
- Key Lime Mousse
Margarita Cake – Keto
- 2 cups almond flour
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup unflavored whey protein powder (or egg white protein powder)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup Swerve Sweetener
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 2 tablespoon lime zest (about 2 limes)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup tequila
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 ounce cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoon butter, softened
- ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 2 tablespoon lime zest (about 2 limes)
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease 2 8-inch round baking pans. Line the bottoms with parchment and grease the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sweetener until lighter and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg whites, lime zest, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Add the almond flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the tequila and lime juice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters as needed.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread evenly to the edges. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until golden on the edges and the top is firm to the touch. Remove and let cool in the pans.
- Prepare the Swiss Meringue Buttercream as directed in the recipe.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with the powdered sweetener until well combined. Beat in the lime juice and lime zest until smooth.
- Fold the Swiss Meringue Buttercream into the cream cheese frosting until well combined.
- Run a sharp knife around the inside of the cake pans to loosen. Place one layer of cake on a cake plate or serving platter and spread with about ⅓ of the frosting, spreading all the way to the edges.
- Top with the second cake layer and spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting. There should be plenty left for piping some rosettes on the top.
- Decorate with lime zest and lime slices.
Could I turn this into cake pops using one of the cake pop methods you have on the site?
This cake is a lot of work, but it is absolutely worth it! My friends/family did not believe it was grain & sugar free! That’s how good it is!
So glad to hear it!
Hi, made the margarita cake today but I guess I overcooked it a bit because it was a little dry and crumbled. It was my first attempt baking a keto recipe. The cake tasted good though, I might add more lime zest next time as I like a strong lime taste. The icing was really good, but I forgot to let it cool to the required temperature before adding butter, so it curdled. I put it back on the double boiler and it was fine. It was a little thin, not sure if I should have added a little more icing sugar.
I am wondering if Greek yogurt or sour cream could be added to the cake to make it more moist?
I have three of your cookbooks and I am looking forward to trying more things.
I am not sure if you’re asking if sour cream could be added now or before it’s baked? You could try but you might throw off the wet to dry ratio.
Thank you for responding. I was asking if sour cream could be used in the mix before it’s baked, or something else that might make it more moist. I will try the cake again, just bake it less than 25 minutes or just keep checking on it. It didn’t rise either, but not sure if that’s normal. Thanks for your help. Going to make the breadsticks today and the peanut butter cookies. Might throw a handful of chocolate chips in the cookies.
No, that’s definitely not normal. It doesn’t rise as much as regular cake but it does certainly rise so something went wrong. Feel free to add a little sour cream but make sure your batter isn’t overly wet.
Hi – The cake turned out a little dry and crumbly. I assume I might have cooked too long I really liked the Swiss Buttercream! I think I would have stopped at that! The lime icing is good, but certainly strong. I liked the consistency of the basic buttercream better. All in a all pretty good. What is need to find are cake recipes that do not use almond flour.
Yes, if it was dry then you over-baked it. I have plenty of cakes that don’t use almond flour. Please go to my recipe index and look at the nut-free section.
Will have to try this one. I made a strawberry margarita cupcakes using the Kentucky butter cake as the base with some creative swaps. Then strawberry icing. Can’t wait to try this one!
I made this for my husband’s birthday this weekend and despite not being on a low carb diet, he loved it. The process wasn’t without drama, though, although that was probably user error more than anything. The cakes were a breeze to make and came out beautifully in my two 8-inch pans — no problems there. I used a mix of erythritol, pure monk fruit sweetener and liquid and powdered Stevia for my sweeteners as I don’t have Swerve, and used half tequila and half gin as that’s all I had. British limes must be smaller because I had to use nearly 6 to get enough zest and lime juice, but the more the better 🙂 I could possibly even use more zest in the cakes next time, or maybe add some lemon zest too.
My only problem with making this was when I folded the cream cheese mixture into my Swiss Meringue Buttercream — major curlding! I tried refrigerating, re-whipping, slightly heating (terrible idea), but nothing worked, the frosting started to separate with a very smooth and creamy frosting swimming in some unidentifiable liquid. As a last ditch attempt, I gently strained the frosting using a cheesecloth to get rid of the liquid, and I was thankfully left with the wonderfully creamy frosting… yay! Thanking my stars, I iced the cake as described, and filled a piping bag with the remainder to pipe rosettes and a message on this birthday cake… all’s well that ends well, truly 🙂 The cake and frosting hold themselves together beautifully and this is a joy to cut and eat. Thanks again for a great birthday cake recipe, it was well worth the effort! Next time maybe I will just use lime zest in the cream cheese mixture and no juice – perhaps the acidity of the lime juice caused the frosting to split?
So you’re the first to say you had that issue when trying to fold the two frostings together. I wish I knew the cause but you are in the UK you said? I wonder if your cream cheese there has different fillers/emulsifiers and that’s why?
Thanks for the quick reply, Carolyn. The cream cheese I use here in the UK actually has no emulsifiers at all (we get Philadelphia, but I prefer to use supermarket own brands specifically because they don’t contain any additives or fillers), so could that be why it didn’t behave as expected? Are emulsifiers/fillers crucial to keeping things from curdling in this recipe? The cream cheese I usually use is any of the following:
I have never had a problem like this before when using any of these cream cheeses in keto baking, so I’m really puzzled about what went wrong when I mixed the two parts of the frosting. Nonetheless, as I said in my previous comment, it all worked out in the end, so I’m certainly a happy bunny 🙂 I just want to learn from this and figure out what I did wrong so I don’t repeat the mistake next time.
I honestly can’t say for sure. But it’s my guess.
What an absolutely delicious cake! I made it for a keto friend and she was thrilled!
Rachael Yerkes says
This cake is so good and I love that it is keto friendly! so awesome!
Making this for my husband who follows Keto. I am so excited to make it for him!!
Hi Carolyn, must i use whey protein? If i don have whey protein, can i just subsitute it with almond flour or coconut flour?
Please purchase yourself some protein powder, either egg white or whey. Gluten is a protein and in its absence, another dry protein powder helps baked goods rise and hold their shape. More almond or coconut flour will only give you a heavier, denser cake. The protein may seem expensive but it will last you for months… possibly even up to a year. I bake a lot and my protein powders still last me months.
Vickie K Rigsby says
This is a labor of love… The icing is dreamy delicious. The cake was very good. The icing makes this cake.
will this work as cupcakes ,what would be the adjusted cook time
No idea, I didn’t try it that way! I suggest looking at some of my other cupcake recipes for a sense of how long they might take.
I made this for Cinco de Mayo…I loved the Meringue Buttercream Frosting!
So glad you gave it a try!
Hi there! I’m such a fan and wondering if I can sub collagen protein for Whey protein since it’s all I have?
No, absolutely not! I say that so emphatically because I have tried and it makes cakes very gummy and hard to cook through. Egg white, pea protein, hemp protein… those all work.
Can I use the swerve vanilla cake mix and add too that? I’m a fan of their already cake mixes 🙂
Sure, that would be fine. If you’re splitting one box into two layers, it’s going to be on the thin side.
Will definitely be doing this for the weekend. Any suggestions on what to do with the 5 egg yolks left over?
Ice cream, custard, creme brûlée, or my famous lemon sour cream pie! https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/low-carb-lemon-sour-cream-pie/
But you can also use cartoned egg whites for this recipe.
It sounds delicious. Can I make cupcakes with this recipe as well? TIA.
Yay! Thank you for a great recipe! I’m thinking I could sub the whey protein for a vegan protein powder. Your thoughts?
I’ll have to figure out a dairy free frosting.
Depends on the protein powder. Some of the veggie based ones are greenish in color. Although I guess that might be good for a margarita cake???
Hah- this one is vanilla so I It’s pale in color. I didn’t even think of green!!! ????
DairyFree success! The vegan protein powder was subbed and I omitted the cream cheese so it was a slightly thinner frosting. Cinco de mayo here we come! Delicious too