In case you missed all of our sneak peeks on instagram, Team LC had a photoshoot a few weeks back with The Little Market, Claire Thomas of the Kitchy Kitchen, Leslie and Courtney of Large Marge Cooks and Lauren Lowstan…and it was all centered around Cinco de Mayo eats and treats. So, basically, it was our own little slice of heaven. We’re talking churro recipes, fresh fruit margaritas, chicken tacos and queso dip. We promise that all of these recipes are coming soon (stay tuned!), but today we’re focusing on our favorite sweet treat of the entire day: the Cinnamon Sugar Churro Cake.
The girls from Large Marge Cooks whipped up this heavenly creation, and it tasted as good as it looked. The inside was a cinnamon sugar vanilla flavor, with over-baked crunchy bits of churro in the frosting filling. And on top of the cake was a pile of mini churros. The frosting was surprisingly light and the cake itself was just decadent enough without being heavy. Anyway, we’ll let you see for yourself by recreating the recipe below… Enjoy!
Cinnamon Sugar Churro Cake
For the cinnamon brown butter cake:
- ½ cup brown butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup grapeseed or other flavorless oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup whole milk
- First, make the brown butter. This can even be done a week in advance. Heat ½ cup (one stick) of unsalted European style butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it turns a dark amber color and has a rich, nutty aroma. Depending on how high the temperature of the stove is, this could take anywhere from 4-10 minutes. Tip: Don’t walk away from the butter at any point because it will go from “browned” to “burned” in a snap.
- Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl and chill it in the refrigerator or freezer until it has firmed back up into a butter-like consistency. If it gets too firm, let it soften back up at room temperature for an hour or so before using it in the cake recipe.
- Now, it’s time to make the cake batter. Start by greasing and lining three 6” cake pans, and preheat the oven to 350.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk them all together. Set the bowl aside.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the brown butter, sugar and brown sugar until they are light and fluffy. Slowly stream in the eggs, yolks, oil and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until the wet ingredients have fully emulsified, stopping to scrape down sides from time to time.
- Add the milk and dry ingredients alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping down sides between each addition. Mix on low until the final dry ingredient addition is fully incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three 6” cake pans and bake them at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until they just start to get golden brown around the edges.
- Remove the cakes from their pans and let them cool completely before them using to assemble the churro cake! You can store the cakes in the freezer, well wrapped for up to a month until ready to use.
For the Mexican chocolate frosting:
- 2 ½ sticks unsalted European style butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted, then cooled
- 2 ½ ounces white chocolate, melted, then cooled
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until it’s light, fluffy and totally smooth with no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during this process and quadruple check there aren’t any lumps of butter before you move on to the next step.
- Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and mix on low until combined and all the powdered sugar is incorporated into the frosting.
- Add the vanilla, cinnamon and salt and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides and give the frosting another go-round in the mixer on medium speed.
- Stream in both of the melted chocolates with the mixer on low and continue mixing until they are both fully combined and no streaks remain.
- Use the frosting immediately to assemble the churro cake, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week (or one month in the freezer). If storing, return the frosting to room temp and loosen it in the stand mixer before using.
For the cinnamon milk soak:
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
Combine both ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until you are ready to assemble the cake.
For the churro snaps:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted, European style butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 250.
- Mix the first cinnamon and sugar measurement together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Add the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
- Dump the flour into the milk and stir it vigorously without stopping with a sturdy wooden spoon for one minute to cook the flour. The batter will be really thick (and you’ll use some muscles stirring it!).
- Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and let it cool for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer on medium speed and add the eggs one at a time. Let each egg fully incorporate before adding the next one.
- Meanwhile, pour four cups of oil into a 1.5 quart saucepan and heat it to 350F.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a star-tip (we like using a medium closed tip) and pipe the batter into the oil, cutting it with scissors every 2 inches so perfect churros drop into the oil. Fry all of the churros, six at a time, until they are deep golden brown.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the churros from the oil and put them onto a paper towel-lined pan. Let them cool for a minute, then toss them into the bowl with the cinnamon sugar and coat them.
- You are going to use some of these churros to decorate the finished cake and the rest to make the churro crunchies that go inside the cake. To do this, take some of the churros and break them up in to pieces about the size of grapes. You will need 2 cups-worth of broken up churro bits.
- Set the remaining churros aside to decorate the cake.
- In a medium bowl, toss the broken up churros with ⅓ cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture, reserving the leftover mixture to coat the sides of the assembled cake.
- Spread the churro bits onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until they are crunchy, deep golden brown and caramelized.
- Let the snaps cool completely before using them to assemble the churro cake.
Now, let’s assemble the entire churro cake!
- 3 each 6” rounds cinnamon brown butter cake, recipe follows
- 1 recipe Mexican chocolate frosting, recipe follows
- 1 recipe churro snaps, leftover cinnamon sugar reserved, recipe follows
- 1 recipe Cinnamon milk soak, recipe follows
- ½ pint Pralinella (Pralinella is our signature pecan praline spread and it’s the secret ingredient of our Churro Cake! You can order some by contacting us directly here. Of course you can make the cake without it, but it won’t be quite the same.)
- Put the first cake layer on a cardboard round or sturdy plate (this will be what you serve the cake from, so make sure it’s pretty!)
- Using a pastry brush or spoon, make it rain cinnamon milk soak over the cake round.
- Spoon 3 tablespoons of Pralinella onto the cake round and use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the cake layer.
- Evenly sprinkle half of the churro snaps over the Pralinella layer and press them down into the cake gently so they adhere into the Pralinella
- Spoon ⅓ of the frosting on top of the Pralinella and snaps and spread it evenly over them.
- Place the second round of cake on top of the frosting and repeat steps 2-5.
- Place the final cake layer on top, give it a light cinnamon milk soak and top with the remaining third of the Mexican Chocolate frosting.
- Put the cake in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up.
- Remove the cake from fridge 30 minutes before serving and top with the freshly fried churros and rub the sides with the leftover cinnamon sugar.
- If you aren’t planning to eat the cake right away, wrap plastic around the sides and keep in the freezer. Let defrost at room temperature at least 2 hours before serving.
If you’re a churro fan, we hope today’s post was exactly what you needed to get excited for upcoming Cinco de Mayo festivities!
What recipe would you like to see us create at our next photoshoot?
We’re taking requests, so leave them in the comments below.
XO Team LC