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April 18, 2015

Churro Cake

Yes, I know I just posted a cake recipe, but I have decided to post another. I just reached 50,000 views, it's gorgeous outside, the farmers' market just opened, and it's almost Cinco de Mayo. This calls for churro cake, a delicious snack cake with all the flavors of a churro without the deep-fried greasiness. Is there a better way to celebrate an over-commercialized excuse for drinking than with copious amounts of cinnamon cake slathered in chocolate? If you know of one, please tell me in the comments.


This cake starts with a simple batter with a hint of cinnamon. As with many cakes, butter and sugar are beat together until light and fluffy. Here, I also throw in some brown sugar for that lovely molasses flavor. The egg and vanilla are added next (I refuse to skip the vanilla even though cinnamon is the main flavor). Finally, the dry ingredients are gradually added in three additions with two additions of liquid in between. I use buttermilk because I still think it's far superior to regular milk in this sort of application. The dry ingredients are just flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.


It's not necessary to use cake flour here because I'm aiming for a fairly dense cake. I want a cake with structure, where I feel like I'm eating a big slice of happiness and not just air. It also has to stand up to a thick layer of cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce, but I'll get to that later. Anyway, this cake should be dense but not heavy. There is definitely a difference; you want a cake, not a brick.


Now onto the cinnamon sugar. Traditionally, churros are long pieces of fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar, so I pulled some inspiration from coffee cake and just piled the cinnamon sugar on top. I used brown sugar for the extra molasses flavor and combined it with more cinnamon. That mixture was just sprinkled all over the cake so it was completely covered before it went into the oven. After baking, it formed a crunchy shell that protected the deliciously moist cake underneath.


For the final touch, I decided to make a chocolate ganache that would just ooze everywhere to create an irresistible mess. In fancier churro establishments, many people order a cup of thick, rich European hot chocolate with their churros for dipping and sipping purposes. As much as I would love to drink a cup of this chocolate ganache, I'll settle for covering the cake with it. It mimics the taste and texture of the hot chocolate with the simplicity of only two ingredients.


Chocolate ganache is prepared by gently heating cream to a simmer, pouring it over good quality chocolate, and whisking it until smooth. If you can, try to avoid chocolate chips since they generally don't melt as well. Those special baking bars are probably your best option since they'll make a velvety smooth sauce. Once it cools, it gets poured over the top of the cake. I personally like when it drips over the edges of the cake. It gives it a nice rustic look that makes it look like you tried when really you didn't, though I'm sure by the end of the night on Cinco de Mayo no one will really care how pretty the cake is as long as it's there.


1 Stick + 2 T Butter, Softened
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 + 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 T + 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt
2/3 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Chocolate
1/4 Cup Cream


Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9" round cake pan with parchment and grease.

Whisk 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 T cinnamon together. Whisk the flour, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, and salt together.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and remaining brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, and bake for 24 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat the cream to a simmer in a small pot. Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 3 minutes, and whisk until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake.


Makes 1 Cake
Recipe Adapted from Cafe Delites

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