This Mexican churro-inspired cake has all the elements of a perfect churro—sugary crunch, hints of cinnamon, a light vanilla crumb and dark chocolate sauce. It's a great make-ahead dessert that you coat with cinnamon sugar and drizzle with chocolate sauce just before serving. A few bites and you'll feel like you've been transported to a churreria!
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-5-inch nonstick loaf pan with baking spray and set aside.
Cream 12 tablespoons of the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs in a liquid measuring cup and whisk with a fork until combined. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, then add a third of the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add half of the egg mixture, again mixing until fully incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg mixtures, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula or small offset spatula. Tap the bottom of the pan swiftly against the counter 10 to 15 times to release any large air bubbles.
Bake on the center rack, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top of the loaf is deeply golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes before removing it from the pan and allowing it to fully cool on a baking rack, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine the cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl, then pour two-thirds of the mixture in a rectangle about the size of the loaf cake on a baking sheet.
Once the cake is fully cooled, place the chocolate and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering, then carefully pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 1 minute, then stir with a rubber spatula until the heavy cream is fully incorporated, the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is smooth and glossy.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Using a pastry brush, evenly coat all 4 sides and the top of the cake with the melted butter. Carefully press each side of the cake into the sugar mixture, using your hands to press the cinnamon sugar to fill in any uncovered spots. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar evenly over the top of the cake. While the cake is still on the sheet pan, drizzle the chocolate sauce over the top, then transfer to a serving platter.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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