Looking for an easy pan dulce recipe that is quick to make? These fluffy mantecadas are just what you need! These Mexican muffins are lightly sweet, and flavored with orange and vanilla for a wonderful flavor.
If you love Mexican desserts, make sure to try my recipes for manteconchas, ojos de buey, and Rosca de Reyes.
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Although most mantecadas are made from the same basic ingredients, many bakers throughout Mexico like to change the flavors. The most popular ones are orange and vanilla, so for my recipe, I decided to combine the two. Feel free to substitute a mild orange extract for the vanilla extract if you prefer.
- Stabilizers: all-purpose flour, cornstarch, large eggs
- Fat: oil
- Liquid: whole milk
- Sweetener: granulated white sugar
- Flavorings: salt, vanilla extract, orange zest
- Leaveners: baking powder and baking soda
What are mantecadas?
Mantecadas are a sweet Mexican muffin categorized as pan dulce, along with other treats like conchas, ojos de buey, and polvorones. Many panaderías sell mantecadas, and they're a popular dessert with coffee.
What do they taste like?
This treat has a mildly sweet flavor with hints of orange and vanilla. They definitely have a super fluffy and springy texture, which makes them so fun to eat! Americans will find that mantecadas are not as sweet as a traditional American muffin.
Are mantecadas sweet?
Although this pan dulce does contain sugar, it is not extremely sweet. It's perfect for those who enjoy a dessert without too much sugar.
Where did mantecadas originate?
Mantecadas originate from Spain, where they are a dense cake served in a paper wrapper. The Mexican ones are different, as they are fluffier and are made from oil, not butter. The most famous Spanish mantecadas come from Astorga.
Are mantecadas the same thing as pound cake?
No, they are not the same as pound cake. Pound cake is much denser and heavier, while mantecadas are fluffy and spongy. In addition, pound cake is made from butter, while these muffins are made with oil.
Can you freeze them?
Yes, mantecadas freeze very well. Let them cool completely, then seal them inside of a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Defrost them at room temperature for 30-45 minutes, or microwave them for 30 seconds at 100% power.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients. You'll need all-purpose flour, cornstarch, eggs, sugar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla, orange zest, and milk. Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you start.
Start by preheating the oven to 400 F and placing 12 red (traditional) cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
Next, beat together the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is lighter in color and is frothy. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
Pour the oil and half of the milk into a small jug and trickle a little of it into the egg mixture. Beat to combine, then repeat this process until all of the liquid is added.
Once you've added the milk and oil mixture, the batter will look like the photo below.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt into a bowl.
Sift the ingredients a second time directly into the egg mixture.
Beat on medium speed until combined. Make sure to scrape the sides and base of the bowl with a spatula and mix again to prevent lumps of dry ingredients.
Add the remaining milk that you reserved earlier.
Beat the batter on medium high speed until it's very smooth.
Fold in the orange zest by hand using a silicone spatula. I don't use the mixer for this step because the zest sticks to my beaters and doesn't get mixed into the batter.
Transfer the batter to a jug with a spout and pour it into the prepared cupcake liners. Fill each one about three-quarters full.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake them for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let them cool briefly on a wire rack before enjoying.
Tempted to ice them? It's not traditional. Enjoy them plain. It's saves time and calories.
- Use room-temperature ingredients for a smoother batter.
- Sift the dry ingredients to remove lumps.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice to ensure an even mix.
- Don't overfill the muffin cups. They will rise quite a bit in the oven.
- Freeze extra mantecadas for up to 1 month.
Other Mexican Recipes to Try
- Ojos de Buey
- Mexican Wedding Cookies
- Frozen Virgin Jalapeño Margarita
- Walnut Taco Meat
- Vegan Burrito Bowl
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- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup light olive oil
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with red cupcake liners.
- Beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is frothy and a pale yellow, then beat in the vanilla.
- Pour the oil and half of the milk into a small jug with a spout, and gradually trickle it into the egg mixture. Beat on medium-high speed until all the liquid is incorporated.
- Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) together into a separate bowl. Sift them again into the beaten egg mixture and beat on medium speed until blended.
- Add the rest of the milk and mix on medium-high speed until the batter is very smooth and free from lumps.
- Pour the batter into a jug with a spout and fill each cup three quarters full with the batter.
- Just before putting the muffins in the oven, lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove them from the muffin pan and let them cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before eating.
- Make sure the eggs are at room temperature, as that will make the batter smoother.
- Be careful not to overfill the muffin cups, as the batter will rise a lot in the oven.
- Freeze leftovers in zip-top freezer bags for up to 1 month.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
I followed everything in the recipe, but I found that they didn’t taste much like anything. Is there any suggestions on what I may have done wrong for the lack of flavor??
I'm sorry that you didn't find the mantecadas as flavorful as you had hoped. The key flavorings in this recipe are the orange zest and the vanilla extract. I recommend using Mexican vanilla extract rather than the traditional extract, as it has a spicier and stronger flavor. Don't skimp on the orange zest; if you found the flavor too mild, add more next time. Also, make sure you've measured all the ingredients accurately, using a kitchen scale to weigh solid ingredients. Undercutting the salt or other ingredients will negatively affect the flavor. Hope this helps, Kiki!
Wanted to try these because our orange trees are in season right now. Made these as GF/dairy-free using Bob’s Red Mill Baking Flour and oat milk. I also put in a little more orange zest than called for. They turned out great flavor-wise. I’m guessing the texture was a bit different (slightly spongy) than if I had followed the recipe as written, but the xanthum gum in the flour did the trick of holding it all together. Very happy with the results, especially considering all the substitutions.
I'm so glad that these turned out well, even with the gluten free flour! Thank you so much for making the mantecadas, Ruth.
These Mantecadas were terrible. When I mixed ingredients together, I thought 5 Tablespoons of Corned Starch sounded like too much and I think it was. The muffins did not have the same texture as other Mantecadas and they were extremely dry. I threw them away.
I'm sorry to hear that this recipe didn't work out for you, Rolanda. I've made this recipe multiple times with great results, so I'm not sure what went wrong. Measuring the cornstarch accurately (using a kitchen scale helps) and making sure the batter has enough liquid should prevent the mantecadas from being dry.
These muffins have a fragrant orange scent, are slightly crumbly, and taste similar to ojos de buey. The texture is springy, and the orange zest makes them taste so yummy!
You're right, Beth--these do remind me a bit of ojos de buey. I'm glad you found these delicious!
This chewy muffin is light, airy, and springy. The orange flavor makes it taste and smell tropical! These mantecadas are absolutely divine. Yum!
I'm glad that you liked the mantecadas, Alex!