Yesterday, putting my own spin and interpretation on a recipe I saw online, I made what I thought were mantecadas. I was mistaken. I actually made very soft and dainty little yellow cake cupcakes. I was so happy with them! They were great, but they weren’t mantecadas. It wasn’t until later when I did more research online did I find that mantecadas are more like muffins than cupcakes.

The mantecadas that are typically sold in Mexico or in Latino markets here in the US are often baked in muffin tins and have large bakery-style domes on them. They also usually have red liners. The ones that originate in Northern Spain (per wiki), are usually baked in rectangular tins and resemble pound cake. So I will save the yellow cupcake recipe for another day. And the moral of this story is that it’s fine to embellish a recipe and experiment with substitutions. But in so doing, just know that if you make too many changes, you might end up making something completely different than what you intended to make in the first place.

If you are wondering about the numbers “1” and “3” that appear in the photos, this is of no significance to the recipe. What happened was, a few years ago I wanted to make rice krispies in the form of a giant “13” to celebrate me and several coworkers’ 13th year work anniversary, so I bought these two cake pans! I haven’t used them for anything except as a base for a large planter in our apartment, but we recently rearranged our furniture and moved the planter off of them, and so I decided to use them as props for these. Pretty snazzy, huh? 😉

Just a side-by-side comparison to the cupcakes I made from the day before…

mantecadas, makes 10-12 muffins (adapted from panes mexicanos by Chef Irving Quiroz)


4 large eggs (200 grams)

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (125 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk 

1/2 cup (120 ml)  olive oil

1 cup + 1/3 cup + 1Tablespoon (180 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

zest of one orange

2 teaspoons orange blossom water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 10-12 standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir with a whisk several times and set aside. Add the orange zest to this flour mixture and mix in to get the zest coated with the flour mixture to avoid clumping. Set aside.

Whisk the oil with the sugar until all the sugar is wet and mixed in, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom as needed. 

Add the orange blossom water and vanilla into the creamed oil/sugar mixture, and mix until incorporated.

Alternate adding a little flour to the batter with adding a little milk to the batter, mixing on low or using a whisk after each incremental addition until both the flour mixture and milk are mixed in.

Divide batter evenly between the 10 to 12 muffin moulds evenly (depending on how tall you want them) and place in center rack of 375 degree oven and bake for about 20-22 minutes until tops are lightly browned and centers are not wet. Toothpicks stuck in centers of muffins should come out clean.

Let cool on wire racks before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.

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