Pepita-Mexican Chocolate Cake

Pastel de Pepitas y Chocolate
Servings: 8


  • 4ounces (1 stick; 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter slightly softened and cut into ½ -inch pieces, plus another tablespoon or two  greasing the pan
  • 1 3/4cups (about 8 ounces)pepitas (pumpkinseeds) hulled, toasted, salted (divided use)
  • 1cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (divided use)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4teaspoon baking powder
  • 1tablespoon tequila
  • 1/2cup (about 3 ounces) Mexican chocolate


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and turn it on to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom and slather it with more butter (about a tablespoon). Sprinkle ½ cup of the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside.

Measure the remaining 1 ¼ cups of the pumpkin seeds and 1 cup of the sugar into a food processor. Pulse the machine until the seeds are pulverized and resemble damp sand. Add the eggs and the 4 ounces of butter and pulse until everything is incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and tequila and pulse again, just until everything is combined.

Chop the chocolate into pea-sized pieces and add it to the batter. Pulse until the chocolate is mixed in. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool for ten minutes, then unmold it onto a platter, remove the parchment paper and serve.



  1. I am going to make this cake for CInco de Mayo. Does the Mexican chocolate have cinnamon and/or almonds? I have a local source for Tazo, but it they only stock plain dark and 70%, chili or cinnamon only. Can you please advise? Thank you and good luck in Chicago!

    1. Any of those would work! We generally use the Cacao Puro – but the cinnamon would be delicious too!

  2. We made this and it was great!! We used grated Mexican sugar ( the cone type) for the 2 tablespoons, the added richness from the molasses added more depth than the white sugar called for. We mixed 1 cup of heavy cream mixed with a heaping teaspoon of Greek yogurt and cultured it in our yogurt maker for 12 hours chilled it and whipped it with 2 teaspoons of honey. We served the cake, with the cultured whip cream and some balsamic pickled figs that we had canned the day before. Totally amazing!!!

  3. I came across your show on PBS recently – you happened to be making this cake. It looked simply delicious on tv so I tried it out for my family. Everyone loved it! Definitely keeping this one in my recipe box.

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