The Best Nata Pound Cake (Panqué de Nata)

If you’re a fan of indulgent, creamy desserts, then you’ll love this panqué de nata or Mexican nata pound cake. Nata is the thick cream that rises to the top when boiling milk, and in Mexico we use it to make desserts and it’s an absolute must-try treat.

Nata pound cake sliced and served on a wooden platter and dusted with confectioner sugar.
Mexican Nata Pound Cake

What is Nata

Nata is the thick cream that forms atop of raw milk when boiled to pasteurize. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, it’s that layer of thin skin that covers the top of the milk.

In Mexico nata is considered a delicacy and instead of being discarded it’s used to make desserts like bundt cakes or panque de natas, gorditas de nata which are like softer and sweeter English muffins. 

Another delicious way to use nata is to slice a concha in half and slather on the nata on one half – similar to like a strawberry shortcake.  Sometimes nata is also used to make to cream sauces.

Growing up in Mexico one of my abuelitos would always save the nata from boiling milk and make it into delicious treats for us. If not he would serve it on top of a bolillo bread roll and it was insanely delicious. 

Mexican nata pound cake sliced and dusted with icing sugar placed on top of a wood plater.
Panqué de Nata

When buying nata try to do so at a Mexican food store and look for nata. There’s some confusion with other Latin American countries and Spain, were they call nata líquida or nata montada what we in Mexico call crema para batir or in the US it’s whipping cream. 

The Mexican nata you want is something like a wetter clotting cream. See the image below for reference. 

Mexican nata inside a container being spooned out.
Mexican Nata

Occasionally when I see nata for sale (it seems like it’s becoming less popular so not as easily available anymore, at least where I live), I buy a container to make either nata pound cake or gorditas de nata.

Today I’m going to share the pound cake recipe and another time I’ll share the gorditas recipe. I’m also working on getting you all vegan versions, it’s just a little tricky replacing eggs in vegan baking sometimes. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • Nata is a must try creamy, decadent treat.
  • This Mexican panqué de nata recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make!
  • Makes a perfect sweet bread to accompany a cup of coffee either in the morning or with dinner guests.
  • You can enjoy it for dessert or for breakfast if you like a sweet start to your day. 
Ingredients to make Mexican nata pound cake. They are flour, nata clotted cream, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
Nata Pound Cake Ingredients

Nata Pound Cake Ingredients

​You can find the ingredients just about anywhere nowadays. The nata you’ll find in the dairy section and you’ll have the best luck at Mexican grocery stores or Hispanic markets.

The orange zest is optional and adds such a lovely citrus burst that combines perfectly with the creamy nata and fragrant vanilla. If you don’t have orange you could do lime or lemon zest.

If you’d like to skip the orange zest you could add some chopped walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds.

Substitutions

In a pinch when you can’t find nata you cold substitute it with clotted cream, mascarpone cheese or crema mexicana or Mexican sour cream. Though they won’t give you the exact same results as the nata, but they’ll still be delicious. I’ve also seen some recipes where people substitute the nata with cream cheese and add in a bit of milk to keep the batter moist.

How to Make Panqué de Nata

Step 1: Butter a loaf pan with a thin layer of butter then lightly dust with a little bit of flour. Discard any extra flour and set aside. (You could use a small bundt cake pan instead.)

Sifting flour in a metal sifter to make Mexican pound cake.

Step 2: Use a metal sifter to sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. If you don’t have one you can use a mesh sieve instead. Sift into a medium bowl and set aside. 

Beating eggs into a clear glass mixing bowl with a handheld mixer.

Step 3: Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat on low speed until airy. Then pour in the sugar and beat until well incorporated.

Mixing clotted cream, vanilla extract and orange zest into beaten eggs.

Step 4: Pour in the nata, the vanilla extract then the orange zest. Beat until well incorporated.

Mixing flour into egg mixture to making Mexican pound cake.

Step 5: Add half of the sifted flour mix into the bowl. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until it’s well combined and there aren’t any lumps. Use a spatula to scrape off the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there aren’t any chunks of unincorporated flour.

Pouring pound cake batter into prepared loaf pan.

Step 6: Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use the spatula to smooth out evenly.

Step 7: Bake in the center of oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Checking on it at about 35 minutes by inserting a long toothpick or a butter knife into the center, if it comes out clean it’s ready to come out and if not it needs to bake longer. You can cover with aluminum foil if the top is getting too golden. 

Cooling pound cake inside a blue loaf pan.

Step 8: Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Step 9: Once completely cooled and right before serving, dust with powdered sugar. You could also decorate with some orange slices if desired.

Nata pound cake served partially sliced and on a wooden platter with blood orange slices on the side.

How to Serve Mexican Nata Pound Cake

Mexican nata pound cake is a versatile dessert that pairs beautifully with various accompaniments. For an authentic Mexican experience, enjoy a slice with a steaming cup of rich café de olla or or café con leche, on a hot summer day with a refreshing glass of agua fresca.

Alternatively, top it with a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of homemade cajeta for an extra touch of decadence.

Slices of Mexican pound caked stacked on a brown plate.

How to Store

Store any leftovers unsliced and in an airtight container. This nata cake will keep fresh for about 4 days.

To freeze wrap individual slices or the entire cake tightly in plastic wrap then aluminum foil, and store it in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying.

More Must Try Mexican Desserts

Up-close view of a slice of Mexican nata pound cake showing how light and airy the cake is.

The Best Nata Pound Cake Recipe

Amigos, I really hope you give this nata pound cake recipe a try. It’s so easy to make and pretty hard to mess up – baking is not my forte and I’ve yet to mess this easy Mexican cake up.

Panqué de nata tastes sweet, citrusy and it’s airy, soft and moist. It’s such a treat. When I make it I Iove to enjoy it with a warm cup of coffee. Usually it’s an afternoon treat after I’ve had lunch or after dinner.

Do let me know if you make my recipe and how you liked it. Don’t forget to leave a star rating if you want to support me and my website. Muchas gracias!

The Best Nata Pound Cake Recipe (Panqué de Nata)

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
If you’re a fan of indulgent, creamy desserts, then you’ll love this panqué de nata or Mexican nata pound cake. Nata is the thick cream that rises to the top when boiling milk, and in Mexico we use it to make desserts and it’s an absolute must-try treat.
5 from 2 votes
Save Recipe Pin Recipe Leave a Review
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 14 Servings
Calories 299 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1.5 cups nata
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar aka icing sugar or confectioners sugar

Instructions
 

  • Butter a loaf pan with a thin layer of butter then lightly dust with a little bit of flour. Discard any extra flour and set aside. (You could use a small bundt cake pan instead.)
  • Use a metal sifter to sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. If you don’t have one you can use a mesh sieve instead. Sift into a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat on low speed until airy. Then pour in the sugar and beat until well incorporated.
  • Pour in the nata, the vanilla extract then the orange zest. Beat until well incorporated.
  • Add half of the sifted flour mix into the bowl. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until it’s well combined and there aren’t any lumps. Use a spatula to scrape off the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there aren’t any chunks of unincorporated flour.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use the spatula to smooth out evenly.
  • Bake in the center of oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Checking on it at about 35 minutes by inserting a long toothpick or a butter knife into the center, if it comes out clean it’s ready to come out and if not it needs to bake longer. You can cover with aluminum foil if the top is getting too golden.
  • Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  • Once completely cooled and right before serving, dust with powdered sugar. You could also decorate with some orange slices if desired.

Video

Notes

The orange zest is optional and adds such a lovely citrus burst that combines perfectly with the creamy nata and fragrant vanilla. If you don’t have orange you could do lime or lemon zest.

Nutrition

Serving: 14servingsCalories: 299kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.5gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 79mgPotassium: 60mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 171IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!

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