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Big Head Cuban Capuchinos {Cabezotes de Capuchino}

Cuban Cabezotes by Bren Herrera

That most sensual time of the year is upon on us. And so are Cuban capuchinos.

I relish in all things fall and winter. The layered clothes, the supple leather boots to keep my legs warm, the fuzzy sweaters to press up against those I’m hugging, the bare trees, the ambient colored leaves on the pavement, the smell of crackling wood and the endless comfort food. All those seasonal elements make me happiest. Few things shake me up and disallow a jovial spirit. There is a time during the 3 months where I feel really lonely, though. It could be a mire poix of reasons. My fix to that is connecting with what an online calls “imaginary friends” on the web. Strangers with no tangible connection to my world have a way of seeing through my feelings and offer something sweet. It always works. Aside from those superficial engagements, it never hurts to find refuge in cooking and baking foods you know everyone will love, but that you really enjoy indulging in.

After years of analyzing Christmas and its purpose in my life, I realize that it’s the most selfish holiday. It’s replete with self-indulgence, rapid movement to the next best thing and gluttonous desires. I’ve never come across a Christian family that deny’s the luring ads that come with celebrating Dec. 25th. My sis and I have been campaigning for a back to the basics celebration where we buy nothing material, open our home to those without family, share with those that don’t have and spend more family time together. In our house that means it all has to begin in the kitchen.

Though Mami and I are the only ones that really cook, Papi and sis are magnificent at certain things. Papi loves making robust meals with wines and fancy meats. Sis loves to bake. My brothers love to come over and eat. And so that’s how it goes. The single one thing we all agree on are the sweet delectables which are only enjoyed during this time. Mostly post Thanksgiving up until the epiphany on Jan. 6th. That line up of goodies that make us one big happy Cuban family are pastries we can only find in Miami or New Jersey. They’re so special we make a trip to La Gran Via bakery in Union City, NJ when we pickup and drop off our abuelita; yes, going and coming. I’ve shared that experience before. It’s delicious madness when ordering.

(Ivy growing on tree in Middleburg)

But what happens in between visits? Sometimes the mood just calls for something so decadent that a 3-hour drive North makes no sense. We already know that anything homemade is always better. Always. So, I took to making one of the those delectables myself for the duration of this season. The famed star in our casaCapuchinos. Say with with me — Kah-Pu-Chee-Nos…Hands down the 2nd most delicious Cuban dessert you’ll ever dream of. And never forget.

I’ll say this before continuing, these little treats are deceiving. They look harmless and small enough to enjoy several. But, oh how devlish they are.

I took a lovely hour ride on my dad’s motorcycle on Saturday to Middleburg, one of our favorite towns in Virginia. The place just looks like Christmas. I’ve not been there any other time of the year which means my only understanding of it is a smell good, look good township. We snuck our heads in this hole in the wall bakery serving cookies, bars, snicker doodles and everything in between. Nothing custard-based, but all amazing dry yumminess. I bought $13 worth and tucked them away. Those nibbles inspired my mood to make capuchinos.

Normally, these delicate treats are cone shaped. I didn’t have the proper paper or time to mold them as such, so one variety I defer to is cupcake-shaped called “cabezotes” meaning “big heads.” And truthfully, I’m not even sure why they’re called capuchinos, not to be confused with the espresso drink, though the idea of adding a splash of my addiction into the mix gives me goosebumps.

The texture is spongey but ultra soft with the insane amount of a thick spiced syrup (very similar to the one I make for buñuelos) I saturate the cabezotes with. When I tell you these are pure heavenly, I tell no lie. I have to pace myself.

Cuban Cabezotes Bren Herrera

This dessert is made of pure eggs. A whole lot of eggs and little of few things else. It’s no wonder they’re divine. Julia Child would adore these. I could hear her now: “Oh, let’s just add 4 more egg yolks in there, why not!?” They’re classically Cuban and perfectly appropriate for now. You’re holiday offerings will be complete with a lovely platter serving these for your guests. Just make sure to have enough almibar to continue bathing the big heads in!

No one will be turn these down. That much I can guarantee. And if they do, well, they can go to the local bakery and just by cookies. I mean, really! I’m simply introducing you to something I grew up eating, love almost as much as flan (sometimes even more depending on the day) and am always delighted to make.

I may add these to my repertoire of baked goods to sell. I doubt the average person wants to spend 20 minutes beating eggs!


Cuban Cabezote Bite by Bren Herrera

If only decadence didn’t come up with calories or cholesterol. In the interest of advocating and practicing a healthy lifestyle, I only make these during the holidays and counter the intensity with a lot of water and consistent workouts!


Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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adapted from La Cocina Criolla by Nitza Villapol


  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsps. white refined sugar
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Place cupcake lines in cupcake mold. In medium mixing bowl, beat yolks, white and sugar for 15 minutes or until you’ve accomplished a very thick consistency. Slowly add starch, carefully folding it into mix. Pour mix into a plastic pastry nozzle and fill cup 3/4 of the way. Place cupcake tray on top rack. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until the tops are golden in color. To prevent them burning, place an oven safe bowl of water at the back of the oven. Once cooked, remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from cupcake liner and transfer to serving platter. Pour syrup on capuchinos, covering them all up.
For spiced syrup (or almiba):
  • 3 cups white refined sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
  • Peel from 1/2 lime
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. anise seeds


In medium sauce pan, bring water to boil and add sugar, Grand Marnier, cinnamon stick, anise seeds, peel from lime and a few drops of the lime juice. Stir once. and let cook for 3 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and stir one more time. Remove from heat and let cook before pouring over capuchinos.

Yields 20.

24 thoughts on “Big Head Cuban Capuchinos {Cabezotes de Capuchino}

  1. Wow this dessert looks unreal. I actually have never even heard of this Cuban dessert until now! The egg yolks guarantee its incredibly yummy and rich!

  2. This might be one of my most favorite of your posts, ever! Love the imagery, love the writing, love the recipe, love that you make my Cuban heart swell with nostalgia and pride. Thank you! Totally making these for Noche Buena!

  3. Wow! I’ve never heard of this dessert, but I think I need to try to make it. They’re so pretty and have so much protein. Love it.

  4. All those eggs, no flour, and look…a cute little dessert. They must be rich and gooey with the syrup too. Maybe an egg white omelet for breakfast the next day would be the best way to balance out the decadence!

  5. I’ve heard of these… but never had them myself. Not that I remember… These are deinitely gluten-free!!!!!! but I will need to find a way to make them sans the eggs… 🙁

  6. Woman, those look insanely dangerous but so delicious. All eggs?? I’ve never heard of such a thing but I’ll take it. Tristan would love these. Enough sugar for two days!

  7. I read somewhere that they are called capuchinos because of the capuchino monks whose hooded robes the dessert ressembles.
    My husband’s birthday is next week and I want to make him a capuchino cake 🙂 just like the ones we had in Cuba when we were children.

  8. I have a question but first let me say you are so right about Capuchinos. And they are named after the hooded robes of the Capuchin Monks. I have eaten these while in Miami and they are so wonderful I’ve never quite gotten over them. I’ve looked for this recipe for years and it was not easy to come by. My question is this, In the recipe it mentions 4 tsp cornstarch. In the Method, it says Slowly add baking soda. The recipe itself never mentions baking soda and the method never mentions the cornstarch. I’m dying to make these help, Please. Thank you in advance.

  9. My husband and I are Cubans, and he can’t wait for me to make a Capuchino type of dessert. I am planning to make this recipe really soon! In fact, I have the recipe for regular Capuchinos, but I can’t find a Capuchino rack anywhere!

    While searching for the Capuchino rack, I happened to come accross your wonderful and easy recipe. I would love to make it this weekend. However, although I have the mentioned cook book by Nitza Villapol to reference this recipe, I would like you to clarify the list of ingredients! You have listed Corn Starch on the “List of Ingredients, but not the Baking Soda, which you seem to be the only ingredient you have instructions under the “Method”!

    Please help ASAP! I will certainly let you know how the recipe turns out!!

    Thanks very much…Barb

  10. Can you tell me how fast you’re supposed to beat the eggs, white and sugar? It doesn’t mention anything about that and I want to do it my stand mixer but would like to know the speed. Thx!

  11. Thank you so much for publishing this. I miss getting capuchinos from the bakery as I did when I was growing up in Chicago. No Cuban bakeries left around here now so I’ll have to make them.

  12. I can not find the recipe for the Capuchinos. I have made them before and they were delicious and I would like to make them again.

  13. Where is the recipe? I can’t seem to find it, and I need this recipe for Christmas this year. Thank you!

  14. I finally found the perfect capucinos from my childhood and cannot find the recipe. Where is it….I want to make them for my children and grandchildren as they’ve never tasted one.

  15. The one memory of birthdays with my Cuban nana, was the amazing capuchinos were always beside a tray of delishes meringues cookies. My great grandmother would never waste an egg white, hence it was a duo for all our lives. Cupuchinos and meringues. Thanks for the recipe, now I must to continue look for a capuchino tray for the cones, your muffin version is a good idea too. But I’m not sure I can bear to eat them in a different shape 🙁
    Can’t wait to make them!!

  16. I’m nonetheless learning from you, as I’m trying to obtain my goals. I definitely liked reading everything which is written on your website.Keep the stories coming. I enjoyed it!

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