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Milk Street Bowtie Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Appears in July-August 2020

1¼ hours (25 minutes active) plus cooling

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Free

This simple baked treat is ubiquitous in Mexican food markets, street stalls and restaurants. Called panqué de elote, pan de elote or pastel de elote, its texture lands somewhere between cake and cornbread while hinting at custard. In Mexico City, we had it for breakfast, as it’s commonly served, but finished with a dusting of powdered sugar, we think it also makes a casual, homey dessert. Cornmeal is not a typical ingredient in panqué de elote; we add a small amount to account for the fact that fresh Mexican corn used for making this type of cake is starchier and drier than the fresh corn available in the U.S. If you have more than 250 grams (1½ cups) corn after cutting the kernels from the ears, it’s best to save the extra for another use rather than use it in this recipe; the additional moisture may make the cake too wet. Yellow corn yields a cake with a warm golden hue, but white corn also works.

3 medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked
36 grams (¼ cup) fine yellow cornmeal
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
57 grams (¼ cup) plain whole-milk yogurt
165 grams (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
Powdered sugar, to serve
Ingredients
  • 3

    medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked

  • 36

    grams (¼ cup) fine yellow cornmeal

  • 14

    ounce can sweetened condensed milk

  • 57

    grams (¼ cup) plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 165

    grams (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour

  • 2

    tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2

    teaspoons baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2

    large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks

  • ½

    cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • Powdered sugar, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Using a chef's knife, cut the kernels from the ears of corn. Measure 250 grams (1½ cups) kernels and add to a blender; if you have extra corn, reserve it for another use. To the blender, add the cornmeal, condensed milk and yogurt, then puree until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down the blender as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  2. 02
    To the blender, add the whole eggs and yolks, and the oil; blend on low until smooth, 5 to 10 seconds. Pour the puree into a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and whisk just until evenly moistened and no lumps of flour remain. Transfer to the prepared cake pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. 03
    Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, then invert directly onto the rack and lift off the pan. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter and cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.
Tip: Don’t use frozen corn kernels—it results in a dense, gummy texture. Made with fresh corn, the cake’s crumb is much lighter and softer. After adding the flour mixture to the corn puree, don’t whisk vigorously. Gentle mixing, just until no pockets of flour remain, will minimize gluten development so the cake bakes up tender.
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Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

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8-10

Servings

1¼ hours (25 minutes active)

plus cooling

Tip

Don’t use frozen corn kernels—it results in a dense, gummy texture. Made with fresh corn, the cake’s crumb is much lighter and softer. After adding the flour mixture to the corn puree, don’t whisk vigorously. Gentle mixing, just until no pockets of flour remain, will minimize gluten development so the cake bakes up tender.

Ingredients
  • 3

    medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked

  • 36

    grams (¼ cup) fine yellow cornmeal

  • 14

    ounce can sweetened condensed milk

  • 57

    grams (¼ cup) plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 165

    grams (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour

  • 2

    tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2

    teaspoons baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2

    large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks

  • ½

    cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • Powdered sugar, to serve

Step 1 of 3

Prepare Corn Mixture

3
medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked
36
grams (¼ cup) fine yellow cornmeal
14
ounce can sweetened condensed milk
57
grams (¼ cup) plain whole-milk yogurt
165
grams (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2
tablespoons cornstarch
2
teaspoons baking powder
½
teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Using a chef's knife, cut the kernels from the ears of corn.


Measure 250 grams (1½ cups) kernels and add to a blender; if you have extra corn, reserve it for another use. To the blender, add the cornmeal, condensed milk and yogurt, then puree until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down the blender as needed.


Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

Step 2 of 3

Bake Cake

2
large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
½
cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

To the blender, add the whole eggs and yolks, and the oil; blend on low until smooth, 5 to 10 seconds. Pour the puree into a large bowl.


Add the flour mixture and whisk just until evenly moistened and no lumps of flour remain. Transfer to the prepared cake pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Cool and Serve

Powdered sugar, to serve

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, then invert directly onto the rack and lift off the pan.


Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter and cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

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