I had the most difficult time trying to decide on an appropriately festive Cinco de Mayo dessert for today's post. I've already blogged a lot of the classics so those were out. I considered ditching the dessert idea altogether and maybe sharing a frozen margarita instead, but I came up empty when I searched for orange liqueur in our pantry. What?! That's a problem we'll need to remedy before this weekend for sure :) Finally, I remembered churros! If you can believe it, I've never actually had them, but what's not to like about fried dough coated in cinnamon-sugar? Oh right, the frying. I'm actually not as opposed to frying at home as I used to be, but I just wasn't in the mood this week.
Luckily, Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil came to the rescue with her cinnamon chocolate churro cupcakes. And let me tell you, she nailed it with these. The base is a cinnamon cupcake - fluffy and light, and best of all, one of the easiest cupcakes I've ever made. The cupcakes are filled with a creamy chocolate pudding infused with just a tiny hint of cinnamon spice. Finally, topping it all off is a dreamy chocolate whipped cream. I've always had a weakness for fresh whipped cream, but adding chocolate to the equation just takes it to another level entirely. Even if you happen to overbeat it slightly (oops!). I was super glad I didn't have a lot of frosting leftover after piping the cupcakes because I probably would have grabbed a spoon from the drawer and done some serious damage...
I assembled these fully and stored them in the fridge overnight without any issues; the whipped cream held up perfectly. I probably wouldn't do it much more than a day in advance though. Also, the cooking time for the pudding is going to seem really long as you read the recipe, but go with it. I took mine off early, thinking it was thick enough, but it never really set up and soupy pudding does not make the best cupcake filler. I rescued it by throwing it in a small saucepan and cooking longer, so that's an option if you need it :)
Happy Friday! If you're looking for more Cinco de Mayo ideas, here are a few from the archives!
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
Spicy Mexican Shredded Pork Tostadas
Grilled Quesadillas with Grilled Chicken, Tomatoes and Onions
Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
Mini Chicken Taco Cups
Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
Beer Battered Fish Tacos
Tequila-Orange Grilled Shrimp
Dulce de Leche Brownies
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
Tres Leches Cupcakes
Cinnamon Chocolate Churro Cupcakes
barely adapted from Love and Olive Oil
Mexican Chocolate Pudding Filling
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon meringue powder
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of cinnamon
1 cup cold heavy cream
To make the pudding filling: In a heatproof bowl, whisk the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. Slowly whisk in the milk until completely combined. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens (it should coat the back of a spoon), about 15 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk to melt and combine. Continue cooking until the pudding is very thick and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the vanilla extract. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill for at least 30 minutes.
To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In a 2-cup measuring cup combine the milk and vinegar and whisk to combine. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners - about 3 tablespoons per cupcake or 2/3 full.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, milk, meringue powder, cream of tartar and cinnamon until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes - the mixture will firm up. Using a hand mixer, gradually beat the heavy cream into the chocolate mixture until completely incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is fluffy, and reaches medium peaks. Chill until ready to use.
To assemble the cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the chocolate pudding, then replace the top portion of the cone (you'll need to slice off the tip). Transfer the chocolate whipped cream frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake.
Makes 12 cupcakes