Easy Pan de Elote or Mexican Sweet Corn Cake with Cream Cheese

This Mexican sweet corn cake or pan de elote, is one of the most popular Mexican desserts and one of the easiest you can make. Serve as a dessert or with a cup of café for a sweet breakfast.

What is Pan de Elote

Mexican sweet corn cake is known as pan de elote. Some Mexicans will also call this pastel de elote.

Recipes for this delicious, dense, decadent, moist and sweet flavored corn bread, can vary greatly.

Pan means bread and pastel means cake, in Mexican Spanish.

You can see a recipe called “pastel de elote” and it can be made just the same as another one called “pan de elote” and vice versa.

But then there are the pastel de elote that resemble more a cake, or pound cake, and the pan de elote which is more similar to an American cornbread recipe….Then there’s recipes like mine which are like a mixture of the two.

Honestly, it can get confusing.

Regardless, both versions are sweet Mexican desserts traditionally made with fresh corn.

The rest of the ingredients can vary from family to family. Some like to add sweetened condensed milk, others prefer evaporated milk or sometimes both milks are used. Sometimes just regular milk is used. Then there are also those that use cream or cream cheese.

There’s a lot of variation with this dessert. Most Mexicans actually don’t need to make it at home because it’s so readily available with street vendors. The panadero that passes by my house always has it. But homemade is delicious and cheaper too!

Fresh ears of corn for a special Mexican soup
Mexican White Corn

What Type of Corn To Use

The traditional type of corn used for this pan de elote is fresh white corn that is so commonly used in Mexican corn on the cob recipes.

Outside of Mexico, and in the US particularly, look for it in Mexican or Hispanic food stores. But regular grocery stores will also carry it.

In a pinch if you can’t find pure white corn you could try the one that’s a mix of white and yellow kernels.

What Type of Corn Not to Use

There are lots of people that recommend using either frozen corn or canned corn when fresh corn on the cob isn’t availble.

I’ve never made this pan de elote or pastel de elote with either frozen or canned. I also have never made it with yellow corn.

While I do eat all these types, I wouldn’t recommend using canned corn for this dessert recipe.

The taste is just different than fresh or even frozen. Remember, it’s processed a bit with water, salt and sometimes sugar. So the taste will be different.

In a pinch, if that’s all you can find, and want to experiment then go right ahead. Just know that I have never made this dessert with something other than fresh white corn. I’m sure it’ll still be delicious, just different.

How to make Mexican sweet corn cake or pan de elote
Pan de Elote Ingredients

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake Ingredients

The ingredients needed for this delicious Mexican dessert are easily found anywhere in the world. Make sure you take advantage during corn season to get the freshest corn possible.

Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature.

  • Fresh Corn Kernels: If possible try to use the white corn variety.
  • Eggs
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Try to use a good quality one for optimal taste.
  • Cream Cheese: Full fat, don’t use the diet stuff.
  • Salted Butter: Or unsalted but then add a small pinch of salt to the batter.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: I use La Lechera.
  • Baking Powder
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Powdered Sugar: For serving.
How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote with Cream Cheese
Pan de Elote con Queso Crema

How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote

This recipe for pan de elote or pastel de elote is one of THE easiest you can make. You can make it all in a blender or in a food processor just like I did. Then you’ll pour everything into a prepared cake pan and bake.

There are other versions where the instructions call for sifting the flour, beating or whipping or creaming ingredients and that’s not how this easy recipe is made.

If you don’t like to spend too much time or need a quick dessert for later in the day, this is your dessert. It’s so incredibly easy!

How to Make Mexican Sweet Corn Cake
How to Make Mexican Sweet Corn Cake
  • Prepare a 10″ cake pan by buttering it then dusting with flour, set it aside. Preheat oven to 350C.
  • Add the corn kernels into a food processor and process until broken down. Stop to scrape down the sides.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract and process for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
  • Add the cream cheese and butter and process.
  • After a couple of minutes begin carefully powering in the condensed milk. Process until completely broken down and everything is well incorporated.
  • Add the baking powder and process for another minute.
  • Pour in the flour little by little as you continue to process the ingredients.
  • Scrape down the sides and check that there are no lumps of cream cheese or butter or lots of unprocessed corn kernels.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake is set and golden in color.
  • Check the cake after 40 minutes by inserting a knife into the center. It’s done when it comes out clean. You can also cover the cake with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting darker.
  • Allow to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar, slicing and serving.
Mexican Sweet Corn Cake Recipe
Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

How to Serve

Pan de elote is traditionally served just as is. I love to dust my pan de elote with a little bit of powdered sugar.

Some people like to drizzle with some cajeta caramel sauce. Others also like to serve with some berries, which can add a nice little tart touch to the dessert.

For me a slice of Mexican sweet corn cake served dusted with a little powder sugar and a cup of café de olla (or an atole de vainilla) is a little gem of a Mexican dessert.

You can serve the pastel de elote either cold, or at room temperature, or warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave.

What Does Mexican Pan de Elote Taste Like

This delicious Mexican corn dessert is sweet, but not overly so, it’s actually just right. It’s tender, soft, moist and a little bit dense but yet feels so light and fluffy.

It’s one of my most favorite desserts and definitely the best way to enjoy corn as a sweet treat. Every time I make it and gift to others, they always ask for the recipe because it’s that good and that easy to make!

I think it could become one of your favorite desserts as well.

How to Store This Sweet Corn Cake

You can store in an airtight container or wrap it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

If you live in cool climate (without an ant problem) then you can store it on the counter for a few days. But I recommend the fridge instead, it’ll last longer too.

I like to wrap it up and store it in my refrigerator. This is because I live in Southern Mexico where it’s always hot, humid, sunny and ants are a problem. When I want to enjoy a slice I’ll warm it up a little in the microwave.

More Mexican Desserts to Try

Mexica Pan de Elote Recipe
Pan de Elote
How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote

Easy Pan de Elote or Mexican Sweet Corn Cake with Cream Cheese

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
This Mexican sweet corn cake or pan de elote, is one of the most popular Mexican desserts and one of the easiest you can make. Serve as a dessert or with a cup of café for a sweet breakfast.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 484 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups fresh white corn kernels
  • 3 medium eggs at room temperature
  • 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 7 oz cream cheese at room temperature*
  • 9 Tablespoons salted butter*
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk I use La Lechera.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a 10″ cake pan by buttering it then dusting with flour, set it aside. Preheat oven to 350C.
    How to make Mexican sweet corn cake or pan de elote
  • Add the corn kernels into a food processor and process until broken down. Stop to scrape down the sides.
    How to Make Mexican Sweet Corn Cake
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract and process for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
  • Add the cream cheese and butter and process. After a couple of minutes begin carefully powering in the condensed milk. Process until completely broken down and everything is well incorporated.
    How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote with Queso Crema
  • Add the baking powder and process for another minute. Pour in the flour little by little as you continue to process the ingredients.
    How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote
  • Scrape down the sides and check that there are no lumps of cream cheese or butter or lots of unprocessed corn kernels.
    How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake is set and golden in color.
    How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote with Cream Cheese
  • Check the cake after 40 minutes by inserting a knife into the center. It’s done when it comes out clean. You can also cover the cake with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting darker.
    How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote
  • Allow to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar, slicing and serving.
    How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote

Video

Notes

*Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. 
Use full fat cream cheese, not the light or diet stuff. 
If using unsalted butter then use the same amount of butter but also mix in a pinch of salt to the batter.
I used La Lechera for the sweetened condensed milk.
Top with powdered sugar if desired.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 8servingsCalories: 484kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 11gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 321mgPotassium: 403mgFiber: 2gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 949IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 210mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!
How to Make Mexican Pan de Elote or Pastel de Elote
Pan de Elote or Pastel de Elote

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2 Comments

  1. I want to try making this dairy free. Have you tried using nondairy cream cheese and coconut condensed milk? Just curious since I don’t consume dairy.

    1. Hi Meli,
      I have not tested it with dairy free ingredients. I would say it’s worth a try because this isn’t like other cakes that require the cake to rise. I myself will be testing out a vegan version soon and hope to share results.

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