An easy cupcake recipe that combines two of celebrity chef Marcela Valladolid's childhood favorites, this is a mashup of epic proportions.

By Marcela Valladolid
April 28, 2017
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There might be nothing better in the world than churros and cupcakes. My mom made cupcakes from boxed cake mix on the regular. Often they’d be breakfast before school. I used to cross the international border every day to go to school in San Diego, and you know what my mom would get us as a treat for waking up at 5:30 in the morning? A warm, brown bag of churros that would leave our homework papers drenched in grease and our uniforms sprinkled with sugar. Perfection.

Churro Cupcakes


For the Cupcakes:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Buttercream:

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1½ tablespoons whole milk

For the Churro Garnish:

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vegetable oil, for frying

2 flour tortillas

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2. For the cupcakes, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn down the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Blend until well combined, about 25 seconds.

4. Pour about 2½ tablespoons of the batter into each cupcake liner. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn the cupcakes out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

5. For the buttercream, in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. With the machine running on low speed, add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk. Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and fill with the buttercream.

6. For the churro garnish, mix the sugar and cinnamon together on a large plate. Set aside.

7. In a heavy medium saucepan, add enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 350°F. (If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil with a piece of tortilla, which should sizzle when it touches the oil and brown in 2 to 3 minutes.) Meanwhile, place the tortillas on a work surface and, using a cookie cutter, cut the tortilla into different shapes and/or letters. Fry the tortilla shapes until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the crisps to paper towels to drain. While still warm, transfer to the cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat.

8. To assemble the cupcakes, make a swirl of buttercream on each cupcake and top with a tortilla crisp.

Churro Cupcakes from CASA MARCELA by Marcela Valladolid. Copyright © 2017  by Marcela Valladolid. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.