Salvadoran Breakfast Cake (a.k.a. Quesadillas)

By • June 14, 2011 • 145 Comments



Author Notes: Think cheesy poundcake. Think party food. Think happy mornings, popping a few too many quesadillas in your mouth. In El Salvador they eat rich, buttery quesadillas in the morning with a big cup of coffee and I suggest you do the same. You’ll love the slight crunch of the sesame seeds in combination with the sweet/salty cake.

Note: An asterix indicates ingredients that can sometimes include gluten. Generally, gluten free versions can be purchased at health food stores. Be sure to read all labels carefully. - Sasha@GlobalTableAdventure
Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Food52 Review: We were instantly won over by these mysterious, ethereal breakfast cakes. Even the uncooked batter, a cloud of sugar, butter, sour cream and rice flour lightened with egg and perfumed with parmesan, inspired rhapsodic musings. Sasha's Salvadoran "quesadillas" are a unique blend of sweet, savory and tangy, with the texture of a fine, delicate corn muffin. The edges of the little cakes crisp and brown beautifully, while the centers remain snow white and tender. We recommend letting them cool for at least 10 minutes before removing them from the pan -- we found they slipped out easily this way. - A&MA&M

Makes 18

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream*
  • 1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as cojita or parmesan*
  • sesame seeds, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Then, in the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter with sugar. Drop in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Next beat in the sour cream, cheese, and rice flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling each one 4/5th of the way up (this batter does not rise much). Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, to taste.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature - it'll taste like a cheesy pound cake. Amazing with a cuppa coffee in the morning.

Comments (145) Questions (7)

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Food52

5 months ago Manhattan Tart

Though my daughters loved these (they dispatched 8 between the two of them!) my husband and I thought they were kind of weird and greasy. Thanks to other reviewers I cut back a tiny bit on the butter (used 3/4 c.) and sugar (maybe 13-14 Tbs. instead of the full cup), and they baked for about 23 minutes. My husband said they seemed underdone but I'm guessing that's the desired texture, like Pao de Queijo. They had nice flavor (salty & sweet; I added a glug of vanilla, which I'd do again) but texturally were too gummy and moist for my liking and, though they certainly felt light & fragile when removing them from the pan (had no trouble with crumbling or sticking) they tasted heavy-ish, I guess because of all of the butter. If I made them for my daughters again, I'd use 1 stick of butter and 3/4 C. of sugar.

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9 months ago Georgi Sidel

I baked them directly as the recipe called for. They are so good! They popped out of the muffin tin after 15 minutes of baking and 10 minutes resting in the pan. Mine did not crumble in any way. They were moist and held together even when biting in to them. I used cotija and light sour cream. WOW there were so good. Served with chili tonight but what a delish breakfast. So glad you shared this recipe with us! Thank you!!

Fortunes_

9 months ago Deborah Reeves

I really liked these but I can understand the mixed reviews concerning the quantity of butter and sour cream. They are very rich - you sort of have to forget about your arteries for a few minutes and just enjoy them. Yet for something so rich, they are indeed light and delicate to the point where a couple of them crumbled apart when removing them from the pan. We waited more than ten minutes and were very gentle but they really are that crumbly. It didn't matter too much to me - I ate them with a fork - but if I had guests and was at all concerned about presentation, that might be a bit frustrating. But not too much! I was more than happy to pick at the crumbs. Used Cojita over Parmesan - can't imagine enjoying parm very much, it seems an overpowering flavor to pair with the sweetness. Cojita was flavorful but in an understated way. Will definitely make again but might fiddle with quantities a bit.

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11 months ago George Bixby

Great recipe! Just made these for the second time, and I have to say my wife and I preferred the Cojita over the Parmesan. Both times they came out excellent, but they were moister and the flavor was better with the Cojita.

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11 months ago chiefkief

I can't get enough of these yummy treats! My friend, Elyse (below) made these (I am the aforementioned celiac friend) and we had them for brunch today. I second the parmesan preference!

Stringio

11 months ago Elyse Orecchio

I made two batches, one with parmesan and one with cotija. I actually preferred the parmesan but maybe I'm not exotic enough. :) If I made them again I'd halve the sugar. Yummy, though, and filled up a 24-muffin pan producing adorable thin little cakes that I'll be serving to a large group of friends with breakfast tomorrow. Nice for my celiac friend to have something yummy to eat that everyone else will enjoy too.

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12 months ago Monica L.

This is a little piece of heaven!! In 4 days, I've made 3 batches already! Brought some to a camping trip, served them for breakfast and our Mexican friends LOVED it especially because of the Cotija. It was so nice to wake up to these cakes and have them with coffee on that cold morning by the river. This will definitely be a staple for camping trips and breakfasts for house guests. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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12 months ago roopa

These were really good taste wise. I halved the recipe and halved the butter in the halved recipe . I used just one egg. They were still on greasy side. I think I can half the sour cream as well.

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about 1 year ago Mlouise

I have made them with plain flour and they were good....favorite way is half rice flour and half regular

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about 1 year ago Yuselin Maknoun

I have a Salvadorian friend that always use to bring me some, but she makes it in a loaf but these individual ones look adorable and lend themselves to even be an appetizer of some sort too.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Amirah Harith

These look amazing! Can the rice flour be replaced with plain flour?

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about 1 year ago Tk3

I read all of the reviews and decided to use a 1/2 cup of butter instead-just to see. They still turned out great! They were super rich and delicious!

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over 1 year ago dollarstodonuts

These quesadillas are wonderful!! I'm a baker at a restaurant and I've made these several times for our Sunday brunch gluten free pastry but everyone loves them, not just our gluten free patrons. I have to make a triple batch so there will be plenty for our staff as well. Usually I use cotija and sour cream. However, today I made them with crema salvadoreña and cotija and they are way more fabulous! I highly recommend using these two ingredients over sour cream and parmesan. I also made them into mini muffins and they turned out great. Always a big hit! Thank you.

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over 1 year ago Mlouise

For a day or two, mine were fine on the counter in a cool kitchen. I actually froze half so I would stop eating them and they were good.

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over 1 year ago lindarhima

i just tried them with regular flour. very good although this is my first time having them so i have nothing to compare them to... How should these be stored? refrigerator or cupboard?

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over 1 year ago Mlouise

My husband loves these...has anyone tried them with regular flour with the idea that they might be a little less fragile?

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over 1 year ago Mlouise

Forgot to add that I used a European style sour cream which is much tighter and heavier than the usual.

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over 1 year ago Mlouise

Rich but rather wonderful and satisfying. Probably not as bad for me as some of my morning favorites. Could the difference in results be from the cheese used. I threw in some Parmesan that had been grated and sitting in the frig for a few days so it may have been a little drier.

Stringio

over 1 year ago Daisy M Flores

I always wanted to learn to do the Salvadoran quesadillas. .. Thank You! :)

Sasha_with_ava

almost 2 years ago Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

I think it really depends what temperature you eat it at. If you eat it warm out of the oven it will be really greasy. It is definitely very rich.

It's important to note that other cultures enjoy different ratios of fat in their food. I'm constantly amazed by how much red palm oil goes into West African food, for example. Personally, I love learning these things. It's so fun to taste and see where we're similar and where we're different.

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almost 2 years ago jodyrah

. 1c butter, sour cream, cheese...the fat ratio is too high. In addion, very little flavoring. Basically sugar and fat.

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almost 2 years ago AEC

Here's the strange thing. I made these 3 times. As you can tell from my earlier post, they were delicious and a huge hit with all who tried them... the first two times, that is. When I made them the third time I ran into the issue mentioned below with excess butter to the point where the cakes were inedible. Couldn't figure out what had happened.

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almost 2 years ago jodyrah

My baking podwer is not out of date. In any event, it has nothing to do with a fundamentally flawed recipe ( ingredient proportions ). The amount of butter left my fingers looking like they were dipped in butter. The flavor was bla. FWIW, I have advanced cooking and baking skills. I made these against my better judgement due to the reviews.

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almost 2 years ago jodyrah

So, it looks as if I am the only one that didn't like these. I dislike making negative posts, but perhaps this will give someone else pause. They were extemely greasy and not
particularly flavorful.

Ls

almost 2 years ago gluttonforlife

I love a dissenting voice; FINALLY this makes me want to try these for myself!

Buddhacat

almost 2 years ago SKK

This is surprising. I have had very good luck with these each time I make them. Is it possible you made a mistake in the recipe, or perhaps your baking powder was old?

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almost 2 years ago zoemetrouk

I am not sure what happened to your cakes but we love these. They are the perfect little bites with a turbo-charged morning coffee. Also a great idea for kids before the school run--tastes great with any kind of berries.

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almost 2 years ago zoemetrouk

I am not sure what happened to your cakes but we love these. They are the perfect little bites with a turbo-charged morning coffee. Also a great idea for kids before the school run--tastes great with any kind of berries.

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almost 2 years ago zoemetrouk

I am not sure what happened to your cakes but we love these. They are the perfect little bites with a turbo-charged morning coffee. Also a great idea for kids before the school run--tastes great with any kind of berries.

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almost 2 years ago jodyrah

So, it looks as if I am the only one that didn't like these. I dislike making negative posts, but perhaps this will give someone else pause. They were extemely greasy and not
particularly flavorful.

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almost 2 years ago Vic Lagina

Just made this for our pre-hurricane party breakfast. They are absolutely fabulous. I sprinkled them with black sesame seeds rather than white. Same taste but a little more of a dramatic look.

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about 2 years ago Tish S.

Just found Food 52 today and made these tonight for a breakfast group tomorrow. Try these! They were so easy and absolutely delicious! We did not wait the recommended 10 minutes to cool off and they were still fantastic. Couldn't find cojita so substituted fontina cheese.

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about 2 years ago Radster

These are dead easy and delicious. I subbed in 2/3 C cane sugar instead of the white and used brown rice flour and they turned out perfect. Tangy and buttery awesomeness.

Stringio

over 1 year ago cherylynne1

I wondered if brown rice flour would work as well.

Ozoz_profile

over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

I made this for friends who weren't keen on the (parmesan) cheese, so I substituted freshly ground almonds and they still came out wonderful. I love the sweet-salty thing but these worked out perfectly too! Just to share.

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over 2 years ago Crispini

Oooooh, sumptuous little pillows of deliciousness. I made half in the regular size muffin cups and half in mini size. The small size is probably best because they're so rich. But then, of course it's tempting to have two instead of just one. Hmmmmmm. And I love the crisp little rim where they brown just a bit. Thanks for posting this!

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over 2 years ago Crispini

Whoops! Clicked the button too many times. Sorry about that!

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over 2 years ago Crispini

Oooooh, sumptuous little pillows of deliciousness. I made half in the regular size muffin cups and half in mini size. The small size is probably best because they're so rich. But then, of course it's tempting to have two instead of just one. Hmmmmmm. And I love the crisp little rim where they brown just a bit. Thanks for posting this!

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over 2 years ago rlouisecull

I made these this morning for my gluten-free mom and sisters as a quick breakfast before they got on the road to drive home. Even my long suffering, gluten-full dad liked them! I agree with other reviewers that they're way, way buttery, but the gluten free crowd this morning told me that this quantity of butter is par for the course on most tasty gluten free baked goods... Thanks for a great, quick, gluten free option!

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almost 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

I just popped these out of the pan. So rich & moist. I used a mini muffin pan and it worked out great; exactly enough batter do make 24 mini muffins. I ate three and putting away the rest. : ) Lots of butter, and I was thinking maybe next time to cut back a tad to suit my own palate. I can't wait to eat another one tomorrow and see how they taste having had a chance to firm up and note the make-ahead taste. Easy, inexpensive and incredibly good. I used parmesean but will try cojita next time. May also play around with poppy seeds and nuts on top for fun. Perfect for a breakfast/brunch, potluck, snack, and bridal/baby shower event.

Claire

almost 3 years ago midnitechef

I also commented that there was alot of butter in these. Next time (with less butter + plain yogurt?) I think lemon poppy seed would be awesome!

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almost 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Hmm, maybe 1/2 less butter and 1/2 cup more sour cream or even creme fraiche. So glad I made these though. I know I will make often at the above events that's for sure. The no gluten is great as many of my friends kids cant have it. My diabetic Aunt LOVES sweets and next time I see her I could try to make with Spenda.

Ozoz_profile

over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

I made a lemon and poppy seed version - AWESOME! The fragrance of the lemon zest carried through, perfuming and flavouring the delicate, buttery cake. I reduced the butter to 3/4 cups and increased the sour cream. Also dialled back the sugar to 3/4 cup. Wonderful. I preferred them on the day though....

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

These are amazing. I made them for breakfast on the morning of my MiL's birthday - she is gluten intolerant and these were perfect. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

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almost 3 years ago AEC

UNBELIEVABLY good! Made these for our block party potluck breakfast, and they were gone in minutes. Everyone raved. Will have to make again soon because I only got one.

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almost 3 years ago cgilsbach

WOW! Made these for breakfast this morning. We absolutely love these and will be making them often. Thanks for sharing such a marvelous recipe!

Epietzsch

almost 3 years ago borntobeworn

Made these this morning while at the beach on vacation! These are restaurant-worthy!! I forgot to get sesame seeds so we put some slivered almonds on top. I have a friend coming to visit next month that can't eat gluten and I'm thrilled to have such a great treat to make for her visit! Thanks for sharing.

Kmd0412.2

almost 3 years ago Katey501

I just made these in the past hour...I'm about to have my third and am afraid I'll polish them all off! I halved the recipe since it's just me...but these are TROUBLE (in the best way possible!)

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almost 3 years ago Loves Food Loves to Eat

Just ate 3...so good! I definitely recommend having a hot cup of extra bold, black coffee with these super rich cakes... Though my hands were so buttery from the cakes that my cup almost slipped from my grasp!

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almost 3 years ago constanterratic

Heaven!

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