Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

I am in love with these sweet little corn cakes. Let’s face it, corn is my favorite food group and I am always trying to find new and creative recipes to make. This is a copycat of a Cheesecake Factory recipe that is all over the internet. I kind of found it by accident. Let me tell you a story…

It all started with Chef Chloe’s new cookbook Chloe Flavor. If you read this blog regularly, you know I review new cookbooks once or twice a month. When I get a new book, I read through it like a novel and mark recipes I want to try. When I got Chloe Flavor, I was happy to see a recipe called Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes.

It sounded delicious as a great appetizer or main meal. I am not sure exactly what possessed me to google Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes but I did and it came up straight away. But in the book, Chef Chloe didn’t mention anything about it. She just said she and her mother made them. But, I’m confused. Why not acknowledge where the recipe came from? She has plenty of original creative ideas in the book, and even publishes a recipe from Trisha Yearwood for tomato soup.

Anyway, those are my musings for today. But, you can see the Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe in the link above (Chloe’s is slightly varied with the addition of jalapeños) and, after a little experimentation, I have come up with my own version.

The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of sugar. I use coconut sugar (not cane)  and experimented with 1, 2 and 3 tablespoons to see what I like best and I would say 2 is perfect but of course you should experiment.

The recipe calls for butter (or vegan butter). I found this to be really heavy and after trying the cakes with oil, I decided water was the best bet and sure enough, the cakes are lighter.

The recipe calls for both masa harina flour (that is the tamale part) and all purpose flour. I didn’t even try it with all purpose flout so I first started making them with chickpea flour and then quinoa flakes. You only need 2 tablespoons so it is really just a binder. Both of these work fine but use what you like.

In addition, I have both pan fried the cakes and baked them. I like the pan fry the best and since I only use 1 teaspoon per 3 cakes they are not greasy at all. Baking dries them out just tad too much.

So, in the end, this is a copycat of a copycat recipe which is now gluten-free, refined sugar free and almost oil free.

I have eaten these with all of the toppings in the photo – diced red onions, chives, avocado and homemade cashew crema. I have also eaten them with tomato sauce, enchilada sauce and creamy roasted red pepper sauce. And truth be told, I have eaten them standing in front of the stove while making the next couple of batches for my husband and son!


  • If using frozen corn, defrost it first.
  • I use my medium sized ice cream scooper to make even sized cakes. I usually get 9 cakes with mine but your output may vary.
  • Making these cakes is like making pancakes. The first ones don’t brown as much as the rest because the pan gets hotter as you go. Don’t worry, though, you can eat the first batch as the rest cook!
  • Remember you can use whatever binder you like for the flour ingredient.

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

These sweet little corn cakes are a delicious appetizer or even meal. They are gluten-free, refined sugar free, dairy free, soy free, and nut free. 

Course Appetizer
Servings 9 cakes


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, frozen or canned corn (divided)
  • 1/2 cup masa harina flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour or quinoa flakes
  • Salt a few pinches
  • Oil for pan fyring (1 teaspoon per 3 cakes)


  1. Add 1 cup of the corn to the food processor and process it until it is pasty. 

  2. In a mixing bowl, add the rest of the corn, masa harina flour, water, coconut sugar, flour or flakes and a few pinches of salt.

  3. Heat a cast iron skillet and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Use an ice cream scooper to scoop the mixture onto the skillet and gently press it down with the back of the scooper or your hand. Be careful!

  4. When the cakes are crispy on the first side, flip and cook the second side. Repeat until the rest of the mixture is done.

  5. Eat with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

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