To-Die-For Churro Cupcakes

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

These cupcakes are full of cinnamon sugar, just like a churro. Top it off with a swirl of frosting and a fried tortilla--and more cinnamon sugar, of course!

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

MAKES 12 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.

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