Founders of the Tulum restaurant Hartwood created took the classic Mexican beverage, Horchata, up a notch with their delicious cake.

By Eric Werner and Mya Henry
September 24, 2015

Horchata is a creamy Mexican beverage of toasted rice and warm spices soaked in water, blended, strained, and served over ice.

Photo: Gentl & Hyers

Horchata Cake
Horchata is a creamy Mexican beverage of toasted rice and warm spices soaked in water, blended, strained, and served over ice. 

6 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup Horchata (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil (you can line the pan with greased parchment paper if it is old and prone to sticking); set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Using a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the sugar, butter, and the remaining 5 tablespoons oil in a large bowl until light and fluffy (the mixture will resemble wet sand). Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, followed by the egg yolks, beating well after each addition. Add the yogurt, horchata, and vanilla, beating to blend. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating just to blend.

4. Pour the cake batter into the pan and lightly tap the pan against your work surface to eliminate any air pockets. Bake the cake for 1 to 11/4 hours, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the center comes out clean; the cake should pull away from the sides of the pan and be golden brown. Let cool completely. Serves 8.

12 ounces (11/2 large packages) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, or as needed
2 teaspoons light honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Prickly pear syrup for garnish (optional)

1. Make the frosting: With a handheld mixer, blend the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk, honey, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy; if necessary, add another splash of milk.

2. Remove the sides of the pan and slide the cake onto a serving plate. Frost the sides of the cake, then frost the top generously with the remaining frosting, using the back of a spoon to create a design that resembles swells in the sea. If you'd like, channel your inner Jackson Pollock and splatter with prickly pear syrup, which is made by simmering prickly pear with a little sugar and water until nice and sticky.

5 cups water
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 zapote negro seed (or substitute 10 whole almonds)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste

1. Heat the water in a saucepan over low heat just until it is hot.

2. Meanwhile, put the rice, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries in a large cast-iron skillet and toast, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until the rice is golden and the mixture smells nutty. Remove from the heat and pulverize in a blender until you have a very fine powder. Transfer to a medium bowl.

3. Pour the warm water over the rice powder. Add the zapote negro seed (or almonds) and sugar. Stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 10 hours.

4. Remove the zapote negro seed (leave the almonds, if using), transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until very smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth into a bowl or other container. Add more cold water if you'd like to make the horchata thinner and more sugar to taste if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or up to 2 days. Makes about 6 cups.


Excerpted from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.