Thursday, March 3, 2016

Churro Cake

Can I just say, yay for March! Seriously, you guys, I'm so glad February is over. It was one of the busiest months I've had in a long time. With all the work travel I was doing and the amount of cake I was baking, it felt a bit overwhelming at times (well, in all honesty, a lot of the time). It was just a little more than I usually pack into a typical four-week period of my life. But, all the travel went smoothly and the cakes turned out great, and at the end of it all, I had an amazing girls' weekend in Santa Ynez, California to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my best friend of almost 20 years. 

As part of an incredible bachelorette weekend (one that included a gorgeous rental property, a private chef for a night, wine tasting, and lot of laughter and lasting memories), I created a couple new cakes, including this churro cake. 

Our fabulous chef, Josie.

Knowing the chef would be cooking Mexican food for our first night, it seemed like the obvious choice to create Mexican-inspired cakes for dessert. Mandy isn't the chocolate lover I am (I'm not even sure how we became best friends 😉), so I decided on a churro-inspired cake for the bride-to-be and a Mexican hot chocolate cake - because there should always be a chocolate cake around. 

My beautiful bestie

I looked at a few recipes to get some ideas for the churro cake and was actually drawn to the French Toast Cake from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. I thought the basics of her cake would be perfect to work off of. Her original recipe actually has maple syrup in the cake, frosting and ganache, but I took that out for this cake. (I will, however, have to make her version at some point because you can't go wrong with a maple flavoring. It just wasn't the flavor I wanted in this cake.) 

I loved the flavor and texture of this cake - it's similar to a butter cake with a denser (but moist) texture and then there's an added sweetness to it from the swirls of brown sugar and cinnamon that have been baked into the cake. And then let's talk about the cinnamon chip ganache! That was pure genius!

This was my first visit to the Santa Ynez Valley and I completely fell in love. I mean, how could you not?

Churro Cake (recipe adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

Yield: one 6-inch, 3-layer cake


For the Cake 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole milk

For the Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Cinnamon Chip Ganache
1 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup heavy cream


For the Cake
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or butter three 6-inch round cake pans, place parchment rounds in each pan and spray or butter the parchment as well. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla.
6. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture and scraping the bowl as needed. Pour 1/6 of the batter in each pan. Divide the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture between the three cakes, sprinkling evenly over the batter, then top with the remaining batter.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Remember, not all ovens are the same, so check your cakes around 20 minutes and keep an eye on them.
8. Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in pans for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Once cooled completely, wrap each cake layer with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. This makes leveling and frosting a bit easier.

For the Frosting
1. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. When it's all combined, turn the mixer to medium-high and gradually add the heavy cream. Continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy and white in color. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix until combined.

For the Cinnamon Chip Ganache
1. Place the cinnamon chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature using on the cake.

1. After leveling the cake layers, place one cake layer, top-side up, and cover with frosting. Place another cake layer on top and cover with frosting. Place the final cake layer, top-side down, and coat the entire cake with a crumb coat.
2. Chill for about 30 minutes before finishing the frosting.
3. Chill again for about 30 minutes and then drizzle or pour the room temperature ganache over the top. Refer to THIS post for tips about the "drip" technique.


  1. I am literally making this today. Can't wait to try it, even if it pains me to not do something chocolate. (Who are those people who don't like chocolate?!)

  2. All these wedding cakes are pretty and delicious. I am craving on the last floral themed cake. We have booked one of iconic venues in Los Angeles for our wedding. I think this cake would look perfect and goes with the theme too.

  3. Delicious cake and beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing the ingredients and recipe with us, will be asking my wife to make it at home