This past summer was officially the summer where I came to like everything I used to hate. (EXCEPT MAYO! THIS WILL NEVER COME TO PASS.)
Thing #1: avocados.
I know. Like, HOW long did it take me to get on the avocado boat?
The life-changing moment came at a restaurant called Maria Elena’s in the tiny town of Alviso that hangs off Silicon Valley like a frozen-in-time afterthought.
The set up: a giant bowl of guacamole with chips sticking out of it like needles in a porcupine.
The wait for food: long.
Me when my food arrived: ravenous.
Guacamole accidentally smeared on one corner of my quesadilla: present.
Said accidental smear of guacamole: eaten.
And holy…guacamole. It was limey. It was creamy. It was subtly salty. It was love at first taste.
I’ve been bitten—HARD—by the cupcake bug lately. Though I’m still a solid cake devotee due to the excellent frosting to cake ratio of most layer cakes, I’m starting to see that cupcakes have their upsides too.
They’re tiny, cute and portable. They’re just flat-out addicting to create! And decorate!
So here comes one of the more brilliant (read: time-consuming) recipes I’ve seen in a long time: cinnamon chocolate churro cupcakes.
Make these when you’re in a patient mood. There’s a lot of steps.
I actually followed the recipe to the letter this time around so I have no commentary to add. Except for this: this recipe will yield the most delicious, tender, perfectly spiced and creamy-frostinged and pudding-ed cupcakes you could ever imagine.
I should follow recipes more often.
Cinnamon Chocolate Churro Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes. Taken from Love & Olive Oil
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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 ounces good quality semisweet or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting:
1/2 cup powdered 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 chilled whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Combine almond milk and vinegar and stir to combine. Whisk in sugar, oil, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 3 Tablespoons of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
To prepare filling, combine the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a larger pot filled with 1 inch of water. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a small bowl and cover, gently pressing a layer of plastic wrap against the surface before refrigerating (this will prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).
For frosting, whisk powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, meringue powder, cream of tartar, and cinnamon in large bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and ready to use, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Using electric mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, gradually beat chilled cream into chocolate mixture. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
With a small pairing knife cut out cones from the tops of cupcakes approximately 1 inch in diameter. Set aside but do not discard. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of filling into each cupcake (you’ll have extra pudding, so grab a spoon). Replace top and press into place (it helps to remove a bit off the base of the cone piece to help it sit more level on the filling – tasties for you). Pipe on whipped cream frosting, taking care to cover up all seams. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar prior to serving.