Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

Lessons with Lucy: Baking Corn Cake

March 26th, 2013 | Posted by Brianna in Food | Mexico

Lessons with Lucy: Baking Corn CakeOur hosts, Lucy and Sergio, are incredibly sweet and sincere. Sergio’s family has lived on the property for more than 100 years, and Lucy, originally from Mexico City, is who makes their house a home. They have made every effort to ensure that we have everything that we could possibly need, greeting us with warmth and kind conversation when we see them, but fully respecting our time and privacy otherwise. Throughout the month, I have had the privilege of spending a few evenings with Lucy, learning small lessons from her amidst laughter and conversation in our cozy yellow kitchen.

When Lucy first told me that she had been thinking that maybe we could bake corn cake together, I readily accepted despite the fact that I can’t even remember what the dish tastes like because the smell alone makes me nauseous. I figured it would be a great opportunity to get to know our host and her background better while also making a special treat for Ian that neither of us ever expected I would have the stomach to even have baked in our house (also, I said yes before she said corn cake). After being held up by a blockade in the city (the teachers’ union apparently does that quite often here) on the day of our baking date, Lucy arrived with ingredients and pan in tow, ready to teach me her recipe, and if I do say so myself, things went swimmingly.

Later, in a moment of lapsed judgement I spontaneously tried our final product, but my distaste for corn cake and the fact that I haven’t tried the dish in over 20 years make it impossible for me to give a fair review on the recipe itself. Ian, however, in his vast corn bread experience, deemed it a solid formula worthy of sharing, so here it goes…

Oaxaca Lucy’s Corn Cake


  • 5-6 ears of corn
  • 14.5 oz can sweetened condensed milk (for less sweet cake use the reduced sugar variety)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • Beer or wine of choice


1. Put rack in the middle of the oven, preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Peel the husks from the corn. Save the hairs to make a diuretic tea. Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs.

Remove husks and hair.

Cut corn kernels off of cob.


3. Layer all of the ingredients into a blender, alternating between wet and dry. For example, Lucy’s layers were, in order: corn, 2 eggs, corn, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, corn, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, 2 eggs, corn, butter, baking soda. Blender should be full.

Layer ingredients, wet then dry then wet then dry, etc.


4. Blend.



5. Pour batter into greased cake pan.

Pour into greased pan.


6. Bake for 1 hour or until top is golden and toothpick comes out clean.


Voilá. Corn cake. I’m curious to hear feedback from others who actually like this food, so please let me know what you think if you try it!

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