As far as we know, the savory version of pastel de choclo has been a favorite in Peru since the XIX century, and ours is not the same as the famous one made by Chilean cooks. Just like in the US, there are hundreds of recipes of corn cake in Latin America, maybe because corn is such a staple in our diet and we are always figuring out different ways to enjoy it. In our kitchens we have every variety or corn cakes and corn pies with all kinds of fillings: beef, chicken, olives, cheese, etc.
We love to have a slice of this cake as a sweet treat with coffee or tea. Here you have the recipe for the loveliest corn cake ever! The texture is wonderfully light and moist, with a tender crumb thanks to the cream cheese and butter. It has an intense corn flavor and the tiny amount of flour (can you believe it only has 2 tablespoons?) is enough to bind everything so the result is amazingly good and satisfying.
Any type of white corn is good in this cake, and I have to confess that when I’m feeling lazy and don´t want to go to the supermarket, I just go to the freezer and grab a bag of frozen Peruvian corn that I buy in any Latin American grocery store; thaw the amount needed for the recipe and proceed as indicated. It really is delicious this way too, though fresh corn is ideal; the fresher the better. Yellow corn will produce a sweeter version of the cake, which is not bad at all, but I recommend you stick to white corn for authenticity´s sake.
In some households they like to add raisins, cinnamon, or any other flavoring to the dough. I prefer a simpler style because I like the corn flavor to be the star of the cake. Remember, if you use older corn, the cake will be drier and somewhat tough. And never substitute corn with cornmeal or corn flour.
Once the cake is ready, you can leave it covered in the counter and it will keep fresh and moist up to a couple of days. Serve it with salted caramel or vanilla ice cream, fresh fruit on the side (this is up to you), or custard over or under the cake. If you are feeling indulgent, serve it as breakfast with guava jelly instead of the custard, and a slice of cheese. (This is not Peruvian, but I like it.)
Here you have my own interpretation of Chef Flavio Solórzano´s master recipe. Follow the instructions carefully and you´ll be charmed with the magic simplicity of this cake.
- 8 oz. fresh white corn (about 2 cups)
- 8 oz. cream cheese (about 1 package)
- 1 stick unsalted butter (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Line the bottom of a 9 inch round pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Process the corn in the blender or food processor until very fine.
- Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg yolks one by one, then the cream cheese, beating at high speed for 5 minutes.
- Add processed corn to the butter mixture, with the baking powder and flour.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold them very gently into the corn-butter mixture.
- Scrape the batter in the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and firm.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool in a rack.