How to Make Mantecados (Traditional Spanish Crumble Cakes)

  • 01 of 06

    Gather Your Ingredients

    Mantecados - Spanish Crumble Cakes
    The Spruce / Lisa Sierra

    These traditional Spanish crumble cakes or "mantecados" crumble very easily. In fact, they are so soft, they will literally melt in your mouth. Light and with a delicate anise flavor, words will not do them justice. You'll have to make them to see why they are a Spanish favorite and why no Spanish home is without "mantecados" at Christmas.

    • Prep time: 25 minutes
    • Cook time: 15 minutes
    • Total time: 40 minutes
    • Yield: 7 dozen 2.5-inch cookies

    Gather and measure all ingredients.


    • 2 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 shot glasses of anise (see note below for substitute)
    • 1 lemon peel (grated)
    • Juice from 1 lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 7 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 egg white (beaten for glaze)

    Makes approximately 7 dozen cookies approximately 2 1/2 inches round.

    Substitution note: Anise-flavored liqueur can be purchased at most liquor stores and some gourmet supermarkets. If you cannot find it in your area, substitute 2 shot glasses of vodka and 1 1/2 tsp of anise extract.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Mix Shortening, Oil and Sugar

    Mix Shortening, Oil and Sugar
    The Spruce / Lisa Sierra

    In a very large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the vegetable shortening with the oil. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Add Egg, Anise, Lemon and Cinnamon

    Add Eggs, Anise and Lemon
    The Spruce / Lisa Sierra

    Add the egg yolks, anise, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, and mix together.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Add Flour and Baking Soda and Mix Well

    Add Flour and Baking Soda and Mix
    The Spruce / Lisa Sierra

    Add flour and baking soda to the mixture, one cup at a time. Be sure to mix well. The dough should be very smooth and soft.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Form Mantecados, Place on Cookie Sheet and Bake

    Place on Cookie Sheet
    The Spruce / Lisa Sierra

    Preheat oven to 325 F/162 C. Scoop out a dollop of dough, using a teaspoon. Form balls about the size of walnuts, using your hands. If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, mix in additional flour (from 1/4 to 1/2 cup).

    Place balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly press down in the center of each ball to flatten slightly.

    Using the beaten egg white, brush on the top of each cookie. Bake cookies until they begin to turn light brown on the bottom edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Let Mantecados Cool and Serve

    Mantecados - Spanish Crumble Cakes
    The Spruce / Lisa Sierra

    Let the cookies cool at least 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet, as they are very delicate. Removing cookies with a spatula before they are sufficiently cool will result in the cookies literally crumbling.

    Storage tip: Store in a glass dish or plastic container with a lid that seals tightly. Place a paper towel between layers of cookies. Be careful not to stack the cookies more than 3 high or the bottom layer may crumble.