Churro Cake

This churro cake is a fluffy and moist vanilla cake swirled with cinnamon sugar and a cinnamon sugar coating. It’s frosted with brown sugar cinnamon ermine buttercream and layers of dark chocolate ganache. 

Why you’ll love this churro cake recipe

  • It’s unique and easy because you don’t have to frost the outside of the cake!.
  • There is cinnamon swirled throughout the cake, cinnamon in the sugar coating and cinnamon and brown sugar infused in the buttercream.
  • The sweet cake is balanced by a nice dark chocolate sauce. 
  • The cinnamon cake recipe is very forgiving and allows for many substitutions and dietary restrictions. 

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Flour: I use all purpose flour in most of my recipes and I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour (and cocoa) is so often over measured. 
  • Baking Powder: I used just baking powder here. If you only have baking soda, you can just use 1 tsp of that instead. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar in the cake and for the cinnamon sugar coating. I don’t recommend cutting any out as it affects the texture and the flavor of the cake. 
    • Light or dark brown sugar works for the buttercream and for the swirl in the cake. 
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter in my cakes but you can also use unsalted butter. Dairy free butter also works well. 
    • I use unsalted butter in the buttercream. 
  • Oil: I recommend using a neutral oil like sunflower, vegetable or canola oil. 
  • Eggs: make sure to use room temperature, large eggs. 
    • Pop them in hot water for a few minutes if they’re cold.
  • Sour cream: I love the combination of sour cream and milk for cakes. The sour cream can be replaced with plain yogurt or greek yogurt. Make sure they are unsweetened.
  • Milk: I use whole milk or 2% milk but any milk works fine, even dairy free milk. 
  • Vanilla: I like to use vanilla bean paste in the buttercream and pure vanilla extract in the cake. Artificial vanilla works or real vanilla beans work as well. 
  • Cinnamon: I use ground cinnamon, any kind works. 
  • Chocolate: I recommend dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate for the drip. Chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate both work. 
  • Cream: Use heavy cream or whipping cream. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Start by making the buttercream so it has time to cool. Cook the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and milk until it’s thickened like custard. Cover it and set it aside to cool.

Step 2: Make the cake by creaming the butter with the sugar for 1-2 minutes. Then add the oil and beat at full speed until it’s pale and fluffy. 

Step 3: Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Then add the vanilla and sour cream, mixing just until they’re combined. 

Step 4: Add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the milk and the other half of the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well so it’s evenly mixed.

Step 5: Distribute HALF of the batter evenly among the three cake pans. You should get about 7-8 ounces in three 6 inch cake pans. 

Step 6: Cover the batter with the cinnamon sugar and then spread the rest of the cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar, about another 7 ounces in each pan. Use a knife to swirl the batter over itself randomly to create cinnamon sugar swirls. 

Step 7: Bake for about 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done baking, it will release itself from the edge of the pan and spring back when you press on the center. Flip the cakes over onto a cooling rack or a tea towel right away. Allow them to cool ALMOST to room temperature, and while they’re still a little warm, wrap them each in a plastic wrap and freeze them while you finish the buttercream and ganache. 

Step 8: Finish making the buttercream by whipping the butter until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the cooled custard in 3-4 increments and mix until it’s smooth.

Step 9: Make the chocolate ganache by chopping up the chocolate and placing it in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl for 3-5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.

Step 10: Stir the chocolate ganache gently until it’s completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool while you assemble the cake.

Step 11: Once the cakes are somewhat chilled, unwrap them and roll them in cinnamon sugar. The sugar should stick to the cakes because of the moisture from trapping the heat in and freezing. If it doesn’t stick, feel free to brush the sides of the cake with a little melted butter.

Step 12: Spread a layer of chocolate ganache onto the first layer of cake. It should be thick enough to not be transparent but thin enough to not ooze off the cake. If the cake is cold, the chocolate should set quickly. If it’s not setting, pop the cake in the fridge or freeze for a few minutes. 

Step 13: Once the chocolate is set, use the buttercream to pipe an even layer of poofs on top of the chocolate. Then top with the second layer of cake. Repeat and place the third layer on top. Refrigerate or freeze the cake for 15-30 minutes to set.  

Step 14: For the chocolate drip, you may need to gently reheat it for 5-10 seconds. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then place it into a piping bag or use a spoon to make drips off the edge of the cake. Because there is no buttercream on the outside of the cake, the drips will separate between the layers so I recommend doing small drips. 

I did the same method with my apple cider donut cake but if you don’t want to pipe the buttercream between the layers, you can just spread it with an offset spatula like I did for my black forest cake and my white forest cake.  

How to make a chocolate drip

Chocolate drips are simple to make. Just follow the same process as making chocolate ganache with a few differences in how it’s used:

  • Don’t let it cool all the way to room temperature, you want it to still be runny but not hot.
  • Make sure the cake is chilled when you pour the chocolate drip on top. 
  • Work quickly so it doesn’t set before it’s done dripping off the edge.
  • For a waterfall drip, pour the chocolate on top of the cake and use an offset spatula or a spoon to spread it out to the edges, allowing it to fall off of the cake naturally.
  • For a more uniform drip, allow the chocolate to cool slightly more so it’s not quite as runny. Then place it in a piping bag with a small tip and pipe the drips along the edge of the cake. Then spread the rest on top, being careful not to ruin the drips on the side of the cake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dairy free?

You can use dairy free butter, dairy free milk/cream to make any of my cakes. You can also use a dairy free cream to make the ganache.  

Can I make this gluten-free?

All my cake recipes work well with a 1:1 gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour

Can I make this in a different size pan?

You can make this cake in:
Three round or square 6 inch baking pans – I used round
Two round or square 8 inch baking pan 
Two round or square 9 inch baking pan (will be thinner than the cakes in the photo) – reduce bake time by 5-10 minutes
One round or square 10 inch baking pan – increase bake time by 10-15 minutes, look for cues. 
A 9×13 inch pan – increase bake time by at least 10-15 minutes, look for cues. 
Cupcakes – Should make about 23 cupcakes, bake for 16-18 minutes

How do I know when it’s done baking?

Just like all the rest of my cakes, I test if it’s done baking by pressing gently on the tallest part of the cake. The cake will spring back if it’s done baking. If it stays indented, give it a few minutes in the oven, before testing again. 
You can also insert a toothpick into the center of the cake (the tallest part) and make sure it comes out clean or with a few crumbs but without any batter on it. 

What if I want to decorate the cake with frosting


You can double the recipe for the buttercream if you want to decorate the outside as well.
Alternatively you can also just make one batch of swiss meringue buttercream, french buttercream or american buttercream to decorate the outside of the cake as well. 

How to make ahead

To make the cake ahead of time you can make the cakes even a month in advance. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for about half an hour and then wrap them individually  in plastic wrap. Then place them in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. 

Bring back to room temperature before frosting. If you frost them while they’re frozen, the whipped ganache will set way too quickly from the cold cake and make it difficult to spread. 

To make the buttercream ahead of time: I don’t prefer to make this buttercream ahead of time as it can be temperature sensitive but it is possible. You can cover it and leave it at room temperature for 1-2 days or refrigerate or freeze it in an airtight bag or container for weeks. Make sure to bring it back to room temperature well before frosting the cake. 

To make the ganache ahead of time just follow the instructions until it’s done, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for a few days. Bring back to room temperature before assembling the cake. 

Ganache can be sensitive to temperature sometimes so I prefer to use it fresh as I don’t like to refrigerate it. To save time, make it the night before and allow it to cool overnight at room temperature. Then assemble the cake in the morning. 

How to store finished cake

I usually just cover it with a cake dome or place it in an airtight container and store it at room temperature for 1-2 days. 

Refrigerate for an additional up to a week but I recommend freezing it to keep it more fresh.

To freeze the whole cake, refrigerate it until it’s firm. Then wrap it in plastic wrap so it’s completely covered. Then wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze. 

To freeze slices, place the slices in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. 

Bring it back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.

If you make this gorgeous layer cake, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 8-12 slices

Churro Cake

three layer churro cake covered in cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce

This churro cake is a fluffy and moist vanilla cake swirled with cinnamon sugar and a cinnamon sugar coating. It’s frosted with brown sugar cinnamon ermine buttercream and layers of dark chocolate ganache. 

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup (150g) light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (6oz) milk
  • 1 1/4 cup (283g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cinnamon Cake

  • 2 1/4 (270g) cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 Tbsp (10g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (118mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180mL) milk, room temperature

Coating

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-4 Tbsp (28g-56g) unsalted butter, melted *only if needed*

Ganache

  • 4 oz dark chocolate
  • 4 oz cream

Instructions

Cinnamon Buttercream

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until they're well distributed.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. 
  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously (but not too aggressively) for 3-5 minutes.
  4. When the mixture thickens and begins to hold streaks, whisk quicker for about another 30-60 seconds. It should be thick like custard.
  5. Pour the mixture into a heat safe container, cover it and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Cinnamon Swirl

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cinnamon Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease and line three 6 inch cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the butter with the sugar for 1-2 minutes, at full speed. Then add the oil and beat at full speed, for another 1-2 minutes, until it’s pale and fluffy. 
  3. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Then add the vanilla and sour cream, mixing just until they’re combined. 
  4. With the mixer at low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the milk and the other half of the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well so it’s evenly mixed. 
  5. Distribute HALF of the batter evenly among the three cake pans. You should get about 7-8 ounces in three 6 inch cake pans. 
  6. Cover the batter with the cinnamon sugar mixture and then spread the rest of the cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar, about another 7 ounces in each pan. Use a knife to swirl the batter over itself randomly to create cinnamon sugar swirls. 
  7. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done baking, it will release itself from the edge of the pan and spring back when you press on the center. Flip the cakes over onto a cooling rack or a tea towel right away.
  8. Allow them to cool ALMOST to room temperature, and while they’re still a little warm, wrap them each in plastic wrap and freeze them while you finish the buttercream and ganache.

Finish Buttercream

  1. Once the custard portion for the buttercream has cooled completely, place the butter into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.**
  2. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, to beat the butter at full speed for 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the edge of the bowl every so often.
  3. When the butter is pale and fluffy, add the cooled custard in 3-4 increments, with the mixture running at medium-high speed. 
  4. Add the vanilla and mix until it's fully combined and smooth. 
  5. To remove any excess air for smooth piping, you can switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for a few minutes *optional.

Ganache

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, gently bring the cream to simmer. Pour it over the chocolate and cover the bowl for 3-5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.
  3. Stir the chocolate ganache gently until it’s completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool while you assemble the cake.

Assemble

  1. Once the cakes are somewhat chilled, unwrap them and roll them in cinnamon sugar. The sugar should stick to the cakes because of the moisture from the trapped heat. *If it doesn’t stick, feel free to brush the sides of the cake with a little melted butter.*
  2. Spread a layer of chocolate ganache onto the first layer of cake. It should be thick enough to not be transparent but thin enough to not ooze off the cake. If the cake is cold, the chocolate should set quickly. If it’s not setting, pop the cake in the fridge or freeze for a few minutes. 
  3. Once the chocolate is set, use the buttercream to pipe an even layer of poofs on top of the chocolate. Then top with the second layer of cake. Repeat and place the third layer on top. Refrigerate or freeze the cake for 15-30 minutes to set.  
  4. For the chocolate drip, you may need to gently reheat the leftover chocolate for 5-10 seconds. Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes and then place it into a piping bag or use a spoon to make drips off the edge of the cake.

Notes

*you can double the buttercream recipe and skip the cinnamon sugar coating if you want to decorate the outside of the cake with frosting.

**if your room temperature is warm, place the custard and the butter for the buttercream in the fridge for 10-20 minutes before finishing the buttercream.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 847Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 350mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 2gSugar: 61gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.

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