Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

CATEGORIES: Cornbread, Gluten Free, Latin, Other

Happy (almost) Cinco de Mayo!  I am very much in the spirit of the festivities because I just got back from Puerto Vallarta.

My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Cancun 8 years ago and decided we’d head back south for our anniversary this year.  Honestly it was one of the most relaxing trips we’ve done because we didn’t do anything but sit here:  

And down there:

Lots of sunsets and beachcombing

and plenty of virgin daquaris and pina coladas (aka tropical smoothies in grown-up cups)

And of course eating.  Why is it that all-inclusive resorts are always on the beach?  They should be in locations where after you stuff your face for the 400th time, you can slip on a parka and elastic waisted snow-pants.  But I digress.  One of the yummiest things I ate the whole trip was this bowl of deliciousness.  Basically it’s a bowl of hot, bubbly, melted cheese topped with grilled peppers, mushrooms and chorizo.

It’s served with fresh warm flour tortillas and you just pull a gooey forkful out and stuff it on the tortilla.  Oh my gosh, amazing.  I gotta re-create that one.

I have to say though, the best part about this trip was that we were 100% unplugged.  No cell phones, no computers, no internet.  I had no idea how therapeutic that could be!

A few weeks ago we got an email requesting a recipe for a sweet corn cake, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.  In Brazil, I often ate these wrapped in corn husks like a tamale and I’ve loved it ever since.  If you don’t know what this is, it’s not actually cake-like as the name suggests.  It’s more of a…corn mush? lol  A lot of chain restaurants, like Chevy’s, serve it as a side.  Have you guys had these Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes at The Cheesecake Factory?  (If you haven’t, you need to drive there right now, order them, and eat the whole plate yourself.)  These taste really similar.  It’s very soft, sweet and buttery- almost like a dough.  I’ve made recipes for “Spoon Bread,” “Corn Pudding,” and “Tamale Cakes” and they all taste very similar, but have slightly different consistencies (at least the specific recipes that I make).  A common one starts out with a Jiffy mix.  This is probably the softest of the bunch- the corn pudding I make is closer to a soft cornbread, where this is more of a cornmash.  It’s kind of hard to explain until you eat it!

Grab a hand mixer and beat up a stick of butter (yeppers, a whole stick) some masa harina, and a little water.  Masa harina is a corn flour often used in latin cooking.  You can find it in the latin foods aisle of most grocery stores.

Honestly, you could probably just dump all the ingredients in this recipe in the bowl at once- but I went ahead and put the rest of the dry ingredients (corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt) on top of the butter mixture and just whisked them a little right in the bowl before beating them in with a little milk or cream.

Cutest whisk ever, right?  Some sweet ladies from church brought that to me for my birthday last week.  I whisk with love.

Lastly, in goes the corn.  Use fresh, frozen corn.  It doesn’t even have to be thawed. I pulsed it in my food processor until it was roughly chopped.  If you don’t have a food processor, you could have at it with a sharp chef’s knife.

If your corn is frozen like mine, it will harden up your butter, which is why it looks crumbly. Totally fine!

Pop it in an 8×8 pan to bake.  This recipe calls for a waterbath- which is no biggie.  Just place you 8×8 inside of a 9×13 and put a little hot water in the 9×13.  Honestly I don’t know if it’s necessary, but I went with it.  It bakes for about an hour and when it comes out it’s really important that you let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes to sort of set up.  Most restaurants scoop it with an ice cream scoop, but I have serious issues scooping things with an ice cream scoop that aren’t ice cream.

It’s super soft, buttery and sweet.  You can serve it as a side dish- or it even bulks up a meatless meal served with grilled veggies and pico de gallo.  I love getting a bit on my fork along with a little avocado, pico, and some savory meat.  It might seem like a strange combo, but it’s so, so yummy.  You get sweet, savory, smooth and crunchy all together.  Love it.


Did you know you can browse our Recipe Index by ethnicity?  And Latin is by far our largest category!  If you’re looking for something fun to make for Cinco de Mayo, check it out.  You’ll find everything from yummy drinks, to easy appetizers, to great main dishes.  Even dessert!


  1. So you said tamales. I love them. I totally need to know how to make those, so you should figure it out and teach me. lol I always heard they are very labor intensive, but they’re so yummy! lol I love that you said “tropical smoothies in grown-up cups” LOL Makes me feel so much better about my occasional “tropical smoothies in grown-up cups” when we go out to eat. 😀

  2. I know where I am going for my anniversary in a couple years…that place looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing the pictures! Amazing food and a beach? For me it doesn’t get much better than that!

  3. YUMMY!!!!! Thanks for the recipe. Where did u stay in Cancun?? I’ve been looking at resorts in Cancun…I need a vacay!!!!!! Your resort looks fab and so does the food!!!

    1. We stayed at the JW Mariott in Cancun- and loved it. Beautiful resort with great restaurants. I’d recommend it!

      1. Oh, I just realized I didn’t specify in my post…this recent trip (and the photos) are from Puerto Vallarta. Our trip before this was to the Mariott in Cancun (my fave!)

  4. Oh choriqueso! How I miss you. My husband and I were just in Mexico City and went to the western coast (Ixtapa & Zihuatanejo) and had plenty of choriqueso. (He’s a native from Mexico City.) We actually brought back some of those little clay pots (cazuelitas) AND some queso oaxaca so we could make choriqueso at home. I believe you can find queso oaxaca at some of the Latin markets and I highly recommend making this artery clogger at home. 🙂

  5. Congrats on your anniversary! Oh I am so jealous! I have been longing for a vacation where I can do nothing but relax for a long time! This Mexican Sweet Corn Cake reminds of Sweet Corn Spoonbread we have a lot here in the south. I’ll have to make this soon to compare the two.

  6. There is something about the color of the serving plates, the freshness of the avocado and the sweet softness of the corn that made me get all warm and fuzzy inside on this grey day…thanks for sharing the recipe and the lovely, awesome, please take me there photos!

  7. I bet this would be fabulous with some fresh avocado. This is why I love Mexican food. It’s not fussy or complicated, just a really simple way to showcase wonderful flavors. I really really wish I was in Puerto Vallarta right now!!

  8. I love Cheesecake Factory’s sweet corn tamale cakes! I will definitely be making these tomorrow!! Thanks for another great recipe!!

  9. I loved eating sweet corn cakes when I lived in Monterrey, Mexico. Can’t wait to try.

    Be sure to add this recipe to your “gluten-free” listings, as I’m a GFOBBA (that’s Gluten-Free-Our-Best-Bites-Aficcionada)! I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease–which is a total cruel irony since I love baking–but I’ve happily adapted many of your recipes. And many are naturally gluten-free (like swiss meringue buttercream? it’s changed my world!)

    Major props for all you do. Keep the goodness comin’!

  10. Cheesecake Factory’s sweet corn tamale cakes are deeeevine! Except I ask them to put the cilantro on the side (of course) and then my daughter takes care of that part of the plate.
    Did you leave the boys at home so you could really relax?

  11. I love this stuff! Every time we go to Chevys I am stealing everybody’s serving! I always say I’m going to figure out how to make it, thanks for taking the guess work out of it!

  12. That’s it. You just reached superhero status. First of all, you know what Chevy’s is (Oh, how I miss that restaurant here in the South).

    Secondly– I have been looking for a recipe for this for YEARS. I attempted it ONE time years ago and ended up LITERALLY exploding a glass 9×13 pan all over the kitchen that my siblings were in (thankfully no one was hurt). Never put a glass pan over a pot of boiling water, even if all the recipes say to…

    Seriously, OBB… you can’t top this one in my book. 🙂


  13. For your bowl of melty cheese cravings google queso flameado – that’s what we call it around these parts. It’s generally served in a hot skillet as an appetizer at Mexican or Tex-mes restaurants.

  14. A vacation sounds great! Glad you had such a nice time. Your photos really make this tasty recipe sound and look even better than your descriptions (if that is possible!). Love the mexican-themed plates/bowls and things. Looks beautiful!

  15. Yum, I should try this soon! I’m a lifelong fan of tamales and those corn things from The Cheesecake Factory are good, too. Last week I made corn pudding but I doubt my husband would mind if we had this sometime soon! My corn pudding (the recipe is from my very southern grandmother) is nothing like cornbread though, it has lots of eggs and just a tiny bit (as in a couple tablespoons) of flour or cornstarch. The kind with cornbread mix makes me sad 🙁 I’ve tried two recipes of the kind with cornbread mix and even though I called it something other than corn pudding, my husband wouldn’t eat more than a couple of bites. It’s like gummy corn bread. I’ll bet THIS recipe is great though with the masa harina!

  16. Thank you sooooooo much for this recipe and whoever requested it!! I have been looking for a recipe like this for years!! I cannot wait until I can go home from visiting my hubby in Korea to try it!!!

  17. I LOOOOOOOOOOVE this stuff!! I’ve been making it off for years now and I think it tastes just like the Chi-Chi’s stuff! Now I just need to make the Enchiladas Cancun knock-off recipe I found and I won’t be so sad that Chi-Chi’s went belly up.

  18. WOW. The Chop House chain has a sweet for tamale cake dish. Has avocado on top along with some other toppings that I can’t remember. There’s are formed into 4 rounded patties on a plate. I’m so excited to find a recipe for this! Can’t wait to try this at home!

  19. I have been making this for my family and friends for years after I had it at Chevy’s. Its a HUGE hit and I always end up having to email the recipe to them….One thing that I do different though is instead of using the frozen corn and water I omit both ingredients and use a can of creamed corn. Now I am craving some. Maybe I will add it to the menu for tomorrows Cinco De Mayo party 🙂 Oh and a trip to The Cheesecake Factory to try the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes!

  20. i love this! it’s my favorite thing at chevy’s! so happy this is a gluten free version!
    pleeeease recreate that cheesy dish!

  21. ok so i know this is petty, but… there is no “print this” button on your recipe today. I really look forward to printing them out, punching some holes in the side and adding the recipe to my three ring binder. Today i have to long hand the recipe and it’s kind of a bummer. The recipe sounds delicious though and I will be making this tonight! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    1. The recipe is printable now, it was being glitchy last week and wouldn’t show up no matter how often I added it!

  22. This brings back memories of going to Chevy’s with one of my best friends. She ALWAYS ate the corn stuff off of everyone’s plates!! Can’t wait to make it. Where is the Pin It button??

  23. I have issues with using an ice cream scoop to serve food too. It reminds me too much of my elementary school cafeteria lunch. Which I thought was cool then but not what I am going for now. Can’t wait to try this one.

  24. This looks soooo delicious! What resort did you go to? I really want to plan a trip there with my hubby after seeing those pics. It looks like such a relaxing place.

  25. the mexican restaurant of my youth had a dish like this w/ the mushrooms & chorizo underneath. It was one of my faves & I ordered it every time, thanks for the memories!

  26. The Chevy’s near us burned down – how I miss their fresh salsa, grilled veggies, and sweet corn cakes! Here’s one down. I really regret not getting their cookbook when I had the chance…

  27. This is just about exactly the recipe I use (the prep order is a smidge different, but the ingredients & amounts are the same) – but I cook mine in the microwave. 8 minutes on 30% power (defrost) and then 4 additional minutes on regular full power. If the wet/jiggly spot in the middle is bigger than a quarter give it another minute or two on high. Then fluff it with a fork & enjoy!

  28. I have just discovered your blog and I have fallen in love! I just began blogging this year and I am still very much an amateur but your blog gives me hope! lol

  29. We made this yesterday as we love this from El Torito. Everyone agreed that the flavor was great BUT it was just a little too dry. Next time I make it I will add a little more water or cream. We served this along with your recipe for creamy chicken taquitos (and cilantro ranch dressing) which were both a big hit. Thanks for all your great recipes.

    1. That’s interesting, because I was thinking of leaving out that extra 2 tbs milk next time because mine was almost too moist! Probably a difference in ovens or something- you could also add a can of creamed corn instead of the fresh frozen- that would add a lot of moisture.

  30. I am a fan of all things corn, did a search for the Cheesecake Factory sweet corn tamale cakes recipe a while back..found it, tried it and although it did taste exactly like what they serve at the restaurant, wow was it labor intensive! Thanks SO much for posting this recipe, now I have a much easier go to recipe which I’m sure will be just as yummy! 🙂

  31. This sounds great, Have you ever tried making the batter a little thinner and cooking it like pancakes? Its one of our favorite things!

  32. WOW!!! This Sweet Corn Cake recipe is SOOOOOOO Delicious!!! Thank you for posting. I’ve always wanted to know how to make my aunt’s sweet corn tamales, but this recipe is definately easier and the taste is amazing! I will definately make over and over as a side dish or as a yummy treat 🙂

  33. I thought was good, however too sweet. I will cut the sugar by 1/2 next time. I used drained corn niblets that i pureed in the food processor.

  34. I made this last night to go with steak carnitas and it was to die for!!! JUST like Chevy’s, which I love. The sweet corn cake & tortillas are the only thing I remember about that place- but I loved the sweet corn cake. My husband and I used to eat there while we were dating. So happy to come across this recipe and I already had everything on hand!

  35. Yikes, I wish I had read the instructions before making this because I am a loss like Amie. The recipe says it calls for 1/4 cup water but twice in the instructions it says to add water to the recipe. Can you please let me know how much I need to add and when. Thanks! 🙂

  36. Oh my word, this is GOOD! A cousin asked if I could help her figure out a dish she had years ago and based on her description, this was it. Peaking my curiosity on what could be so good that she remembered it from so long ago, I made some this morning. FYI, makes an awesome, if not exactly healthy, breakfast. 🙂 This is going on our regular rotation for our “culture” nights, where we like to make authentic -ish dishes from different cuisines. And now I think I’ll dig around your blog some more, see what else I could possibly find to cook. 😉

  37. This was so good and so easy. I made it two days in a row now, we loved it that much. Did everything exactly as described and it worked perfect. I think I even over cooked it yesterday by about 15 minutes but it was still tender and delicious. Just try to think to about the textural eaters in your family with how fine or course you leave your corn.

  38. This is one of my all-time favorites! Do you think it would be possible to do this in the Instant Pot/pressure cooker? Any advice you could give in how to convert this recipe would be awesome!

  39. I made the Mexican Sweet Corn Cake to serve with your chicken enchilada recipe and it was amazing. I hadn’t had that since I left CA in 2000 from El Torito and it was very similar. I made my husband chicken enchiladas 18 years ago when I first met my husband and he brought it up constantly that I never made them again. I found your recipe and surprised him with them. He loved this and between the two of us we demolished it with the first helping of enchiladas and two days later with the left overs. Thanks for posting these.

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