Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cinco De Mayo "Churro" Cupcakes

I LOVE Mexican food. One of the reasons I really miss living in southern California, where I grew up, is the real deal GOOD Mexican food. Have yet to find something halfway decent where I live now. I was never knew much about Mexican desserts really, since my main goal was always to have a giant bowl of guacamole with chips and a few strong margaritas to wash them down with. I do like Tres Leches cake which I have made before in the past into a cake and it is on my list for cupcakes, and of course well I have had Churros and recently posted about my homemaking Churro FAILURE. ha ha. So I decided to make a churro cupcake instead since it seems cupcakes is my arena where I fail the least. Well so far that is.

I had ventured on to one of my favorite sites, Tastespotting, when I was looking up homemade churros, when one of the first pictures was of a churro cupcake. I immediately bookmarked it. I also searched on google for "Churro Cupcake" and found many variations but I loved the photo of the one from tastespotting so much I decided to make that one. I had most of the ingredients at home for the cupcake and the frosting but not for the dulce de leche filling. I know churros aren't typically filled ( there is a shop in Santa Monica California that is all about filled gourmet Churros) but these cupcakes had a filling and I am partial to filled cupcakes. Like a little surprise inside. My local grocery store didn't have canned Dulce de leche so I bought a few cans of sweetened condensed milk to make my own at home.

There are a few ways to make homemade dulce de leche and one of the most popular methods I came across was to submerge the can of sweetened condensed milk in water and cook for a few hours take out of water open up and voila! Dulche de leche. I wasn't to keen on putting a can of something submerged in water on my stove for several hours. Seemed a little unsafe, I wasn't into having the can explode on my watch. So I poured the contents of the can into my bowl/double boiler, with the pan of water simmering underneath and stirred occasionally. I got the recipe from Baking Bites, and mine took longer than theirs did to thicken up and become caramelly, but it worked. And oh my was it tasty.

Yum. It thickened up and darkened more as it cooled.

Since this cupcake was to resemble a churro the only sugar used in the recipe is light brown sugar and there is cinnamon added in to the sugar/butter mixture rather than with the dry ingredients. 

Looks more like cookie dough than cupcake batter. I did cream it a little longer than the recipe stated because it wasn't quite fluffy or lightened enough.

With the dry ingredients mixed in. Loved the cinnamon aroma

Little bits of the brown sugar sort of blobbed up here and there but it didn't change the cupcake's texture just the look. And that's what lots of frosting is for right? To cover up those cupcake flaws

I used my apple corer to core out the cupcakes and I saved a tiny piece of each core so I would close them up after filling them with the dulce de leche

My dulce de leche had thickened up just a tad too much so I nuked it for about 30 seconds and then added a teeny bit of milk to thin out and make it better for filling consistency. 

All filled up

Plugged back up

My normal GO-TO frosting is Italian meringue buttercream but this recipe called for Swiss meringue. I have had troubles in the past with Swiss not getting it to come together so I decided why not throw caution int the wind and take another go at it. Boy was I glad I did. YUM

The ingredients are the same as Italian meringue, just a different order and cooking method. Instead of  cooking a sugar syrup to a certain temp the egg whites and sugar and whisked constantly until 160 deg F and the sugar has dissolved completely

Starting on low to whisk into the fluffy meringue and not slosh the hot egg sugar mixture out

Whip on high until the bowl has cooled, looking great so far

Time to add the butter one tablespoon at a time. I don't cut the butter up ahead of time. I slice and plop into the bowl one tablespoon at a time 

As the butter is mixing in the frosting looks curdled 

But just like with Italian meringue, use those ears to hear when its ready, the sound does change when the frosting comes together. Doesn't it look yummy? Tasted awesome. Almost a little caramelly

I have been playing around with frosting my cupcakes differently so here is another version. I have seen cupcakes with this style online and at Trophy Cupcakes, in Seattle. And I have been trying to figure it out. After about 6 attempts and different approaches I did it. Sort of. Close enough. I used my Wilton rose petal tip 104 and held the piping bag straight over the cupcake, fat part of the tip towards the center and thin on the edge. I rotated the cupcake with one hand while I held continuous pressure on the piping bag with the other and moved the bag up and down as I squeezed to get this ruffled look. A little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and there is my Churro cupcake.
The recipe called for deep fried cinnamon crunchies on top but since I vowed to my husband I would never deep fry anything every again, I omitted them and opted for just the sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on the frosting. But by all means make the cinnamon crunchies, I am sure they would add a fun texture to the cupcakes. 

Churro Cupcake Recipe


Makes about 18 standard cupcakes ( I got 22 cupcakes)

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cupcakes
3 cups cake flour, sifted then measured
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
Dulce de Leche, homemade or store-bought, for filling

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line muffin pans with baking cups.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In large bowl, cream butter, cinnamon, and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. About 5-7 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mixing well after each addition.
4. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating batter just to combine between additions. Do not overmix. Continue beating one minute. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack; cool completely. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
5 large fresh egg whites
1 cup fine white granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
  4sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. In a heatproof bowl, add the egg whites, sugar and salt, set over a pan of simmering water. Mix by hand constantly with a whisk, until the sugar has dissolved completely and an instant thermometer register 160°F.
2. Remove the bowl from heat, and beat with an eletric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed, until fluffy and glossy and the bottom of the bowl feel cool to the touch.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the butter two tablespoons at a time; mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added. Add the vanilla, beat on high until smooth. If mixture looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth; the curdling will disappear.
4. Transfer the buttercream to an airtight container and keep at room temperature if using the same day or refrigerate up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until smooth.
To assemble, use a small melon baller or apple corer to scoop out or a small knife to cut the center of each cupcake from the top. Fill with dulche de leche. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Garnish with cinnamon-sugar crunchies. Frosted and filled cupcakes are best eaten the day the same day.
Cinnamon-Sugar Crunchies
Vegetable oil, for frying
One (10-inch) flour tortilla

1. Warm the tortilla. Cut the tortilla in strips, about 1/4-inch thick to 1-inches long. Separate the strips and fry in hot oil until golden brown.
2. Place fried tortilla on paper towels to drain. Coat with Sugar-Cinnamon mixture (mix a 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon).


  1. OMG. I love, love, love. I am so sad that you aren't in California where I can come over daily to taste all your creations. :)

  2. And I wish I lived in California so you could be an official taste tester - well with Bob of course aannndd probably Brandon too!! ha ha

  3. Your cupcakes look fantastic! I love the way you decorated them, you're very creative!

  4. These are gorgeous cupcakes! I can't wait to try them. I live in San Diego so I'll have some 'real' mexican food for you tonight :)

  5. These look amazing! what a great idea, I love churros! I've bookmarked this and will definitely be baking these soon!

  6. I made these last night!