Cooking Like A Mexican

Sweet Corn Cake
BY: ALEJANDRA SARACHAGA

Sweet Corn Cake

In Mexico and Central America it is called elote. One of the most important food crops in the world, corn, or maize actually originated in Mexico. Only recently have scientists linked maize to a Mexican grass called teosinte. Thought to be cultivated by the Aztec civilization. There are still paintings, engravings and sculptures representing corn in the galleries of the pyramids, indicating corn was an important source of food.

In 1510, when Hernan Cortes arrived in what is now Mexico City, he found that the Aztecs wore amulets formed by a string of popcorn used in religious ceremonies. The Indians used to prepare popcorn in three ways, the first was to thread a corncob on a stick and toasted over the fire, picking the beans that exploded and fell off of it. The second was to separate the kernels from the cob and throw them directly to the fire, eating the exploding and the last and most difficult was to heat a shallow clay pot, containing coarse sand, and when the sand reached a high temperature, were placed on it shelled corn kernels from the cob, once cooked they exploded on the surface.

Corn has played a major role in Mexican culture, and not just for cuisine. Corn dough is used to make tortillas. Fresh corn is eaten roasted or boiled, and as an ingredient in corn soup and corn cake. The dried leaves of corn (called totomoxtle) serve as fiber for fabrics, to produce baskets, hats, bags and rugs. Artisans also use it for artificial flowers, or wreaths. Corn leaf is also used as a wrapper for tamales, fresh or dried, depending on the type of tamale. The beard, hair or hairs of the ear of corn are used in herbal medicine to treat various diseases, such as the kidney stones.

A coarse corn meal is produced by soaking raw corn grains in hot water containing limewater, which loosens the grain hulls. They are separated and the softened grains are called hominy. This ancient native Mexican process is called nixtamalization.

Below is the recipe for a popular Mexican corn cake we call Pastel de Elote, which we eat as a dessert with a good cup of coffee. It’s delicious, try it.

 

Ingredients

5 fresh corn cobs

 1 cup of milk

 5 eggs

2 cups of butter

 1 teaspoon flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup sour cream

1 pinch of baking powder

Preparation

Grind corn kernels with milk and sugar. Beat the egg whites into meringue. Beat the yolks with a little sugar and add the yokes to the corn, flour, baking powder and cream. After that, melt the butter and add to the mixture. Mix all this together with the egg whites until stiff, this will make your cake is very fluffy. Pour everything into the greased and floured pan and bake at 350 Farenheit for 30 minutes.

You can pour some raspberry or strawberry jelly on the plate before serving each slice and any red fruit on top. ,