Pepita Mexican Chocolate Cake

pepita cake

If anything is trending with us right now, it’s pepitas.  Pepita is the Spanish word for pumpkin seed.  The health benefits of eating pepitas are plentiful, but we are eating them by the boatload, just because we are in love with their salty, tasty crunchiness.  We’ve been adding them to salads, roasting them with spices and parmesan cheese as a school snack and making this amazing pepita-chocolate cake by Rick Bayless.

Pepitas are used in Mexican cuisine in mole dishes and also eaten as a snack.  In the US, you can easily find them at most grocery stores.  If you buy them raw, we suggest roasting them in the oven and seasoning them with salt for a delicious snack.  If you want to get fancy, you can add other spices during roasting as well.  We love these suggestions from Real Simple magazine on how season your pepitas when roasting them for a snack.

The recipe requires that you line a cake pan with parchment and we love the video below on how to do it, from Food & Wine’s Mad Genius tips.

This is like an almond or nut cake, and excellent if you have a nut allergy.  It’s light and fluffy with a lovely crispy crust.  I have substituted dark chocolate instead of Mexican chocolate, and I almost like it better that way. The fact that I have made a few times already, is saying something, given how much I don’t like baking.

Served with some vanilla ice-cream, it’s heaven.

Pepita-Mexican Chocolate Cake by Rick Bayless


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups salted roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon tequila (we omit this)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ounces Mexican chocolate, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds in the pan and dust with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the remaining 1 1/4 cups of pumpkin seeds and 1 cup of sugar until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the eggs, tequila and 1 stick of butter and pulse until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse just until incorporated. Add the chocolate and pulse until mixed, about 4 pulses.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  4. Invert the cake onto a plate and peel off the parchment paper. Dust the cake with the confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

pepita cake collage




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