… My Favorite First, and Last, Bite of any Mexican Meal!
Mexican sweet corn cake, in case you’ve never had the pleasure, is this creamy, sweet, mash-like-ultra-moist-cornbread-like baked dish (okay, my mouth is already watering). It is speckled throughout with whole and chopped super sweet corn kernels. The starch from the corn creates a texture and mouth-feel similar to … well, nothing I can really say resembles this texture. It is such a great texture, just one of its own design. I guess the closest similarity that comes to mind would be something baked with dates. Dates have a sweet texture, slightly sticky, that then turns creamy when you chew them. Mexican Sweet Corn Cake is similar.
When I used to eat out at Mexican restaurants, pre-gf/df lifestyle, the first bite of my meal was always of this little scooped corn cake … as was my last bite. With this, there was never a need for dessert.
I don’t think anyone should miss out on this dish, gluten-free/dairy-free or not. So I’ve created a gluten-free, dairy-free Mexican sweet corn cake recipe to ensure this doesn’t happen.
When I was doing my recipe R&D (research and development), I played with the recipe in a few different ways. It seemed to me that this was a simple “dump” recipe, where all the ingredients can be placed in a bowl, blended together, then poured and baked. I found out through trial and error, that this is not the case. The order of mixing does make a difference in this recipe.
While the “dump” recipe results turned out okay, the corn cake batter just didn’t blend together into a cohesive mix. The batter was more granular, with the moisture wanting to wick away from the corn meal/flour mixture. The baked corn cake still had that sweet taste, but the texture just wasn’t perfect. And I want perfect (though we managed to polish off the entire batch with no problem).
I share this with you because I want you to reap the rewards of the best corn cake possible. So please follow the steps (though there aren’t many nor difficult ones) as written in the recipe for optimal deliciousness and texture.
I also made an adjustment to the typically called for butter. Of course I use a vegan or non-dairy buttery spread, but I also subbed out a small portion of this and added an equal amount of solid coconut oil. This alteration gives a velvety quality while enhancing the sweetness in a very subtle way. I did a blind taste test with a couple of my regular tasters, including one who doesn’t really get excited about a coconut flavor in food, and the coconut oil was not distinguished. This cake was the preferred dish. So I kept the coconut oil in the recipe. You can certainly omit it and stick with equal amount of “butter”, if you prefer. I also used a “gold and white corn” for my corn kernels. It has a much sweeter flavor, is more tender, and adds just the right amount of starchiness for holding the cake together.
How to eat sweet corn cake? With a fork, spoon, your fingers, anything. It is SO good! As for serving suggestions, it makes a sweet side dish to spicy Huevos Rancheros. I’d also pair it with Mexican Chicken Soup for a light, but complete, meal. My preference is to eat corn cake as is, but many people like to garnish it with a couple spoonsful of Salsa Verde and a sprinkling of chipotle pepper powder. The sweet plays a flavorful contrast to the tang and spiciness of the green sauce and chipotle seasoning.
Gluten-free Dairy-free Mexican Sweet Corn Cake
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes
Oven temp: 350ºF
Cooling time: 10 minutes
Makes: about 8 mounds or scoops
1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons “butter” – I use Earth Balance Soy-free Buttery Sticks
2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil, solid
2/3 cup (95g) masa (corn flour) – I use Maseca
½ cup water, plus extra for water bath
1 ½ cups corn, fresh or thawed if frozen, coarsely chopped
½ cup (90g) corn meal – I use Bob’s Red Mill
2/3 cup minus 1 Tablespoon granulated (white) sugar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup almond milk – I use Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original or Unsweetened
½ cup salsa verde, optional for garnish
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder, optional for garnish
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Set aside an 8×8-inch or 7×11-inch baking pan; no need to prep it with anything.
Combine butter and coconut oil in large mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed of electric mixer until combined and smooth.
Blend masa and water into butter mixture and mix well until smooth and creamy.
Combine cornmeal, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir well. Add to wet mixture and blend until mixed, about 20 seconds.
Add milk to mixture and continue blending until well combined.
Stir corn into mixture by hand with a spoon.
Pour batter into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Set dish inside an 11×13-inch baking dish (or one that is large enough to allow the smaller dish to rest safely within the larger dish). Add enough water to outer dish to fill it 1/3 full. Cover tightly the 8×8-inch dish with foil.
Place both dishes on center rack of preheated 350ºF oven. Bake for 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and rest 8×8-inch pan on cooling rack. Remove foil and cool 10 minutes before serving.
To serve, scoop corn cake onto a plate. I use a #20 scoop to get 8 servings. If desired, using the back of your scoop, make a shallow depression into the top of each corn cake. Spoon enough Roasted Green Tomatillo Salsa Verde into each depression. Dust top with a sprinkling of chipotle pepper powder.
Store any remaining corn cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Will keep up to a week.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™
Other recipes you might enjoy: