Moist cinnamon sugar churro cupcakes topped with a rich cinnamon cream cheese frosting. All of the delicious flavors of a Mexican churro in cupcake form!
With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I thought it would be fun to make a CHURRO cupcake recipe. I mean, what’s not to love about churros?! I don’t even want to count the number of churros I ate on my last trip to Disneyland! ;) They are one of my absolute favorites.
Imagine moist and fluffy churro cupcakes topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting…yes please! This dessert is a fun way to enjoy all of the same flavors as a classic churro, but in cupcake form. After trying them, I MAY even like these cupcakes better (although it’s still a super close debate).
What’s so great about this recipe is that it’s super easy to make. You use a box of cake mix and doctor it up with a few secret ingredients that make it taste extra delicious. Then add a rich and tangy cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top. It’s the perfect compliment. Seriously, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful!
These Mexican cupcakes look so festive and are the perfect dessert for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Add them to your menu to finish up your lineup of Mexican favorites like chips and salsa, beef tacos or chicken fajitas and cilantro lime rice. Sounds like a dream meal to me!
The secret ingredients
It may sound strange, but the key to making super moist and fluffy cupcakes is by using dry pudding mix and sour cream. I use both of these ingredients when making my famous chocolate cupcakes and they always get rave reviews. The instant pudding mix gets stirred in with the cake mix and helps make the texture of the cupcakes irresistibly soft. Make sure to use the dry mix (you don’t make the actual pudding itself).
Because sour cream is acidic and has a higher fat content than milk, it makes the cupcakes super moist and tender. I use it in many of my favorite baking recipes, like my homemade banana bread or my strawberry sour cream cake. It gives them the absolute best texture!
Making in advance
If you would like to prepare the cupcakes ahead of time for a party or gathering, I’d recommend leaving off the frosting until the day of serving. Everyone has a different opinion about whether or not cream cheese frosting can be left at room temperature, but I’d rather play it on the safe side since cream cheese is a dairy product.
Bake the cupcakes according to directions, then let cool and store at room temperature overnight in an airtight container. You can also prepare the frosting in advance and store in a bag in the fridge. The next day, let the frosting come to room temperature and then pipe it on top of the cupcakes. I feel comfortable leaving the frosted cupcakes out for a few hours for a party and then I will refrigerate any leftovers.
There are a few different ways to decorate these churro cupcakes. I like to keep it simple for most desserts, but this is one of those recipes that looks SUPER fun and festive once decorated. The finishing touches make a huge difference and are perfect for celebrating Cinco de Mayo!
- Cinnamon sugar tops: After the cupcakes have cooled, dip the tops in melted butter and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. You can stop here, or add frosting and more decorations on top if preferred.
- Frosting: A rich and tangy cream cheese frosting (with a dash of cinnamon) takes this dessert to the next level. Feel free to use a classic buttercream too, although the cream cheese version is definitely my favorite for this recipe.
- Caramel: Before serving, I like to drizzle some caramel sauce (or dulce de leche) over the tops.
- Mini churros: This is the perfect decoration to finish off the dessert. I like to find churros in the freezer section and then cut them into smaller bite sized pieces.
Tips + modifications
- Don’t overfill. You want to fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full. If you have a standard ice cream scoop, I find that to be the perfect size to scoop the batter.
- Butter. I prefer salted butter to counter balance the sweetness from the frosting. If you only have unsalted, you can mix in about 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt. Or you can leave the salt out all together if preferred.
- Piping the frosting. I used an extra large round tip to frost my cupcakes. You can adjust the consistency by adding in powdered sugar to make it thicker or a little dash of milk to thin it out. In order to frost the perfect cupcakes, you want the frosting to be able to hold a point.
- Chocolate. Instead of caramel, add a drizzle of chocolate ganache for a boost of chocolate flavor.
- To make into a cake: This would make a great cake. If doing two 8 or 9-inch cake rounds, bake at 350°F for about 25 to 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick before removing from the oven.
- Mini cupcakes: Add batter to mini cupcake pan and bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
More desserts you’ll love:
- Tres leches cake
- Easy vanilla cupcakes
- Cinnamon sugar pretzels
- Marshmallow Mexican fudge
- Cinnamon tortilla chips
- 15 ounce box white or yellow cake mix
- 3.9 ounce box instant vanilla pudding , dry
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 5 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 1/4 cup salted butter , softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional toppings: Cinnamon sugar, Churros (cut into 2" pieces), Caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cupcake liners in 2 muffin pans.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, vanilla pudding and cinnamon. Stir until combined.
- Next mix in the eggs, canola oil and water. Then stir in the sour cream.
- Pour the batter into the liners (about 3/4 the way full). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Do not overcook.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Wait to frost until cooled completely.
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and mix with an electric beater until smooth. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix until creamy. Taste and add more cinnamon or vanilla, if desired. If it's too thick, add a Tablespoon of milk. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Place in a frosting bag and frost cupcakes as desired. Store in a covered container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.