Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano or Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

I was born in Mexico. When I miss Mexico I daydream about it, which happens often. I think about my extended family living there, and wonder what changes have occurred on the street I grew up playing in. I think about my little hometown, and all those childhood memories. Often times my thoughts also turn to food memories.

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

One of my favorite Mexico food memory is breakfast. I can so clearly remember sitting in my mom’s sunny kitchen, surrounded by my sisters and mother, eating our desayuno (breakfast). Our breakfast would vary from day to day, but my favorite breakfast meal was a mug full of Mexican hot chocolate. Along side the hot chocolate we would be served our choice of sweet bread or bolillos fresh from the bakery. In between sweet warm sips of  chocolate I would dip my bread into the mug. Then put the soft wet bread in my mouth to savor the sweetness and cinnamon flavors as it melted away. Pure heaven.

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

Mexican hot chocolate, and chocolate in general, is quite different from ones found in Europe and the US. The chocolate used in Mexico for hot chocolate drinks are sold in tablets that are individually wrapped and stacked inside packages. These tablets are made with ground cacao nibs, sweetened with sugar and spiced with cinnamon. And depending on the brand or recipe followed other spices may also be added. The chocolate tablet texture is grainy due to the granulated sugar. Milk is heated and the tablets added, they melt and the hot chocolate is mixed until frothy then served warm.

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

Even now as an adult, and far away from Mexico, I love to reminisce of those mornings with a warming mug of chocolate caliente. But I also love finding new ways or recipes to incorporate this favorite treat of mine. This time I wanted to taste the chocolate heaven in a slice of cake. In a way it was like wanting to combine the chocolate with the texture of the bread I used to dip into it. I wanted to taste a little bit of Mexico in every bite.

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano or Mexican Chocolate Cake & Nancy Lopez-McHugh
A small chocolate cake that is filled with the flavours of Mexico.
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings


  • 3/4 cup or 120 grams of all purpose flour
  • one teaspoon of baking powder
  • half a teaspoon of baking soda
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 oz or 60 grams of Mexican chocolate tablet like Abuelita or Ibarra brands
  • large pinch of ground chile pepper like cayenne
  • 1/4 cup or 60 ml melted butter or sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup or 60 grams raw cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup or 70 ml + 2 Tablespoons of cold whole milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • small cake pan 6′ in or 15 cm
  • powdered sugar and berries for decorating


  • Preheat oven to 175c or 350f, grease the pan and dust with flour. Roughly chop the chocolate. Place chocolate in a double boiler to melt. As the chocolate begins to melt add 1 tbsp of cold milk, mixing consistently until chocolate has completely melted and a smooth consistency has been achived. Remove from heat, add chile powder mix and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and set aside. Pour the remaining cold milk into the melted chocolate, mix until well combined. Next add the sugar and melted butter or oil, mixing until well incorporated. Use a whisk to beat in the egg, until lightly frothy.
  • Pour the dry ingredients, flour mixture, into the wet chocolate ingredients. Fold in until combined, shouldn’t take too long. Pour the cake batter into the greased baking dish. Bake in center of oven for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before placing on cake dish. Before dusting with powdered sugar make sure the cake is completely cooled. Dust with powdered sugar as desired and decorate with your favorite berries.
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

When it comes to chocolate there is no need to persuade people to give it a try. Everyone loves chocolate, right? I mean what’s not to love. I think most of us are chocolate fiends at heart, wouldn’t you agree? This Mexican girl sure is.

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

Like the Mexican Indian blood running through my veins so does xocolātl, or chocolate. Proudly I can say that my ancestors would be proud of me for continuing the love, and rituals around our beloved chocolate. This little cake took me back to Mexico, it satisfied the very craving I had. It is perfectly soft and moist, without being greasy – I hate greasy cakes, and the outer layer had a slightly crisp texture. I could taste the unique flavor of the chocolate tablets, the cinnamon and way in the back as an after tone the hint of chile pepper. Perfect, just the way I wanted it. Buen provecho!

Mexican Chocolate Cake; Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano; cinnamon; cake; chocolate; chile; chili; chocolate blocks; Mexican; receta; recipe; dessert; cake for two; for two; small cake; Spicie Foodie

Check out these Mexican chocolate recipes and articles:
La Nostalgia en una taza de chocolate Mexicano (The Nostalgia in A Cup of Mexcian Chocolate) by Tacita de Chocolate
Thank the gods for Mexican chocolate by SF Gate – San Francisco Chronicle
– Mexican Chocolate Flan Recipe by Pham Fatale
Polvorones de Chocolate by Vianney of Sweet Life
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream by Amanda’s Cookin’
– The Perfect Topping: Mexican Chocolate Caramel Sauce by My Man’s Belly

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    1. Hi Liz,

      Thank you sweetie 🙂 Small pans like the 6 inch come in handy for the two of us. But for a bigger serving you could always double the recipe.

  1. These are photos are divine and that cake! Amazing! And thank you so much for the shout out on my Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream, one of my all time faves.

  2. Wonderful food memory here! The way you described the flavor and the actual ingredients really does make me think that I am missing out. This is more than just your standard chocolate cake. Delicious post.

    1. Hi Tina,

      You should really give Mexican chocolate and/or this cake a try. I love standard chocolate cake, who doesn’t, but this one is on another level. Thank you :)!

  3. This looks amazing, Nancy! I have had Mexican brownies, which had me swooning for a week (seriously), and I imagine this cake must be similarly fantastic. Wonderful recipe 🙂

  4. This looks to die for!!! I love chocolate but then again what woman doesn’t like chocolate. I do have to say your photography is beyond amazing! I love the lighting and the composition of each photo. Great work!

  5. I have been craving Mexican chocolate too! I just recently made chocolate lava muffins using Mexican Abuelita chocolate and they were soooo amazing. They were perfect for dessert and breakfast. They didn’t last long in our home 😉 Your photos are gorgeous and your story made my heart warm.

  6. it looks beautiful! I’m from Mexico and I haven’t tried a recipe with chocolate and chili, it sounds kinda strange but I will try it

    1. Hola Beti,

      Gracias! I don’t often mix chili with chocolate, but it is a good combination. When I hear the combination I think of mole poblano, you know it has both 🙂 Try it, you never know.

  7. Oh my, Nancy, not only are your photos gorgeous as always, but the cake looks and sounds unbelievably good. I so love the flavors of Mexican chocolate and am always looking or new ways to use it. Thanks.

  8. This looks decadently delicious and I love the way you transport us all back to your childhood with you. I also crusied back in time and was thrilled to see your Christmas post regarding your old photos. You give me hope! Cheers!

  9. Nancy, wahhh stunningn photos. I usually scroll down to see all the pictures first before I read your story. 😉 I’m that much excited to see your photos! Now I’m curious of Mexican hot chocolate. Just saw Amazon link… I’m going to check in stores first. Beautiful chocolate cake… I wish I can have this for breakfast or any time of the day…

    1. Hi Nami,

      Aww, you are so sweet:) Try looking in Mexican or hispanic stores. But I also remember some regular supermarkets carry it in their ethnic foods section. If not there is always Amazon. By the way it was fantastic for breakfast. Naughty I know, hehe.

  10. Oh wow! This looks SO good.. we don’t get those Mexican chocolate discs here, but if we did, I would be on my way to a store right now! That looks like an absolutely delicious cake! And always (I feel like I say this on every post!!!) – gorgeous pictures!

  11. Nancy, that first shot is dark, and seductive. It dare anyone who looks at it long enough to make it and see for themselves how rich and decadent it is. Excellent!

  12. Hi nancy!

    I apologize for my belated beeing, I realy wanted to come earlier since I had seen your post on google+.

    anyway… I realy didnt know that u add cinnamon into mexican chocolate. Thats intriguing! I ll have to try that out, hadnt actualy thought of that.

    Your cake looks like a dream, the way I like and enjoy it, airy full of choco goodness and the best, chilli powder! 😉

    Dont you ever miss your homeland nancy?

    1. Hi Helene,

      No need to apologize. Yes, we also add cinnamon. You should try it with your chocolate mix, it really adds another level of taste. Thank you! Yes, I do miss my homeland. As and expat I know you can relate to that.

  13. What heartwarming, and tummy satisfying, breakfast memories! I would be happy to wake up to this each and every morning. This is stunning!

    By the way, every time I visit your site and my husband happens by my desk, he always tells me how much he loves it!

  14. What a gorgeous cake! You must make this for me one day 🙂 I love Mexican chocolate and is something that being where I live, I do have access to…and often 😉 In fact it is a favorite for hot cocoa for myself and family. But this cake is a true indulgent decadence…a pure delight!
    Hope you are having a great week my friend, big hugs!

    1. Hi Alisha,

      Of course, it is so easy that I’ll have it ready for you:) It is also my favorite hot cocoa, the taste is just much better than ordinary cocoa. Thanks you too & big hugs!

  15. Ah, I get more excited for our trip to Mexico City each day, and this post makes it more intense!!! Just a few more weeks … can’t wait. Beautiful photos.

  16. What a beautiful cake! I have always wanted to try the chocolate/chili combo but have yet to actually do it. I will have to look for Mexican chocolate so I can give this a try!

  17. Amiga, dipping a bolillio into a chocolate caliente reminds me of my grandfather. We used to sit at the table with him and enjoy this combo en la merienda. Wonderful times. Your pics are stunning. the first one is my favorite. I will have to make this for my abuelita when I visit her. I know she would enjoy it !! Thank you for including me.

  18. I love Mexican chocolate, I bought some cocoa when I went on vacation to Cancun and it was really wonderful. Seems the chocolate is more full of chocolate flavor. Your photos are lovely and certainly make me want to get into my kitchen and bake 🙂 .

  19. This looks so good. I just moved to Denver from New York, so I’m starting to get really into Mexican flavors and spice (there’s a large Mexican community here). I think that after seeing this post, I will start with dessert! Looks delicious.

    1. Hi Batya,

      Starting with dessert isn’t such a bad thing 😉 Have fun exploring and learning about Mexican food and flavors. I have loads of easy recipes for you to try out. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. I love that you can buy Mexican chocolate online! I’ll have to give it a try. Chocolate is one of my favorite foods. People often forget it originally comes from Mexico!

    1. Hi Frank,

      I love that too Frank. Without the ability to buy Mexican products my tummy and heart would not be happy 😉 So we need to remind people more often then, hehe. Thanks!

  21. Anything with chocolate gets my vote! And this cake really ‘takes the cake’, so to speak. Are you baking now? It means that I haven’t been around here in ages…and I’m now in slight shock. LOL, but only because your cake is so gorgeous! (and also, because you’re baking something sweet :)).

    1. Well, hello there stranger 😉 I wouldn’t say Im baking now, only occasionally when the craving strikes and I don’t have you as a neighbor to help me out with them, hehe. Thank you sweetie!

  22. Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is all about favourite foods from childhood. I do hope you link this lovely one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.

  23. Your cake is beautiful! Having lived in Houston for a number of years, I was fortunate enough to frequent many Mexican bakeries. Our favourite family cake now is the Tres Leches from Arandas Bakery!
    I too miss my home town and my memories are always about food too, so I know how you feel.


  24. I’m looking to make this recipe soon so I went ahead and bought the Abuelita chocolate from my local Smart and Final. I am curious to know if I use the entire tablet or only partial since I can’t seem to figure out how much one tablet is. Looking forward to devouring this delicious delicacy.

    1. Nevermind I figured it out. No idea why I even thought the little amount of chocolate I used originally would have been enough. Face palm!! Haha

      Here it is…. and boy is this cake super delicious!

  25. I have a brother returning home after being immersed in Mexican culture for 2 years. I wanted a special treat to celebrate while giving a nod to the country he’s come to love. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’m exciting to try it and see what the family thinks. We’re all chocoholics so I’m sure it will be very well received!

  26. Hi Nancy, I am living in France and am from California. My mother is Mexican and I really miss Mexican food! Thank you for posting this lovely recipe. My husband and I have a friend here who is from Mexico. I would like to make this cake for his birthday tomorrow. The only thing is that it is impossible to find Mexican products here. I can buy some wonderful chocolate, but nothing like the tablets of Mexican Hot Chocolate. I am going to attempt to make this with a sweet chocolate (18-20%) to mimic the tablets. Do you think this would be a good substitute if I add some cinnamon and a bit of extra sugar to the recipe? How much cinnamon would you advise that I add? Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Hi Melinda,

      I have not tried my recipe with other than the tablets, but I think your substitutions sound great. I would add about 1 to 1.5 tsp of ground cinnamon. As for the sugar, that is really up to you. I tend to make my baked good not too sweet. Enjoy the cake!

  27. This is soo delicious. I used a whole tablet of Abuelita and slightly reduced the sugar. I am going to start making this in my bakery if you don’t mind.

  28. Thank you! This is great! I normally make the hot co-co using the Mexican chocolate, but now I have the cake too! This will be great for my family at Christmas… 🙂

  29. 5 stars
    How did we miss that recipe! It must’ve been back then, when you were still in the Czech Republic, right?
    What a beautiful post, full of memories and flavors! Your wonderful sweet self is evident throughout the post.
    We thoroughly enjoyed it, and now we are planning to enjoy the cake in the near future lol
    The only hesitation is about the amount of chili we should add 😀
    Sending you our love,
    Mirella and Panos

  30. Hola!
    I wanted to try this recipe. I was just wondering, do you think it would work to make this a layered cake with the the style and texture of this cake? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hola Aleiza,
      I don’t think it would…this is a dryer cake so not positive if it’d work or not. If you’re an advance baker you could give it a try.

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