Serves a Crowd

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

June 14, 2011
11 Ratings
  • Makes 18
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. - [email protected]Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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.

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160 Reviews

MaryEllen D. October 16, 2022
This is simple and delicious!!!
dieek July 22, 2022
This recipe is easy, quick, succinct, and repeatable.

This is going to become a staple in our household, especially for gluten-free baked goods.
Renee April 23, 2022
Delicious and light. I also cut the sugar by half. Will definitely make them again!
Rita March 16, 2021
These little cakes are so easy to make and they are just amazing. I followed the recipe as written as far as the amount of butter & sugar. Didn't have cojita but I always have Parmesan on hand so I used that. It made 15 absolutely delicious 'muffins' and I didn't find them greasy or too sweet. Hubby is already begging me to make them again!
Analise S. April 24, 2020
I am craving these right now but my apartment is too hot to bake so I thought I'd leave a review. If you're thinking about making these, please do! I make these for work often. My Salvadorian American coworker and his Salvadorian bred mom and dad approve! She said these are just like the ones in El Salvador, that the ones at the bakeries in The US are too dense and dry. I think the rice flour is the difference. I try to make an extra dozen for their family when I bake them because I love how happy it makes them. Thank you for this recipe. Just wish I had some for breakfast right now!
gardenchickens June 16, 2019
I always need a way to use up a few extra eggs, this recipe is definitely repeatable. I will try halving the sugar so I can chow down a few more without a blood sugar jolt. Romano was the only hard cheese on hand, and it was yummy! I'm betting these freeze well. They'd make a delightful snack or dessert. I look forward to trying them in a mini-muffin pan, too.

It is a treat to have 1) a go-to recipe for gluten-free food, 2) another use for rice flour (which is nice on fried fish), and 3) something novel to delight brunch guests. A winner!
Caliana October 12, 2019
Been making these for years - did halve the sugar, use Mexicana Crema instead of regular sour cream, Cotija and take the butter down a bit - friend, El Salvadorean, professional baker, really like these - told me, "Not bad for a white girl" - I loved it! Btw - I'm red-haired, green-eyed Arabic, Irish & Spanish :)
LOIS A. May 13, 2018
These are delightful.
Mary January 6, 2018
These are fabulous! Since making them for a work brunch a month ago, my son has requested them every weekend since. He's learning how to make them himself. This is becoming such a routine that between the two of us, we only needed to look at the recipe for the oven temp!
Tina July 17, 2017
I also halved the butter and sugar, and the results were wonderful. I used parmesan cheese and used standard muffin tins to make 13! They came out moist and were easy to remove since I greased the tin pretty well. They fluff up in the oven, but deflate a bit while sitting on the cooling rack. Overall, great recipe after adjusting the butter and sugar content.
Babs I. June 29, 2017
I made this according to the recipe, twice, and loved it. Today, I substituted chopped pecans for the cheese, and added 1 tsp of vanilla. Completely different, still completely yummy. I don't find them greasy, from a flavor or texture standpoint, just a little on the fingers. That's what napkins are for!
Carol S. January 17, 2016
I just baked this in an 8x8 dish instead of muffin tins, it is very good but rich! I didn't read the comments before so I didn't cut the butter down but I definitely would next time it is quite greasy but so yummy!?
sjlongin December 25, 2015
Just baked these, following advice in comments to halve the butter and sugar. I baked them in mini-muffin tins, probably filled them a little too high, so I got 22. They came out perfectly, popped right out of the tins, and are not crumbly at all, not too sweet and not too buttery. And I am no baker! Although I also just made Laurie Colwin's Damp Gingerbread and it came out perfectly as well, so maybe 2016 will be my year of baking!
Monica L. January 13, 2018
Hi! I want to make these in mini muffin tins too! What temp and how long do I bake it? Thanks!
Ann M. August 20, 2015
I made these on the weekend. I will never make them again. It was like eating grease, made me feel sick. Threw them in the garbage.
Angel August 12, 2014
What happened? This time mine turned out like muffins. Lite and fluffy- good but not yours! Used 3/4 c butter and 3/4 c sugar and King Arthur GF flour. Cojita instead of parm. Thanks!
Manhattan T. February 22, 2014
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.
Georgi S. October 28, 2013
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!!
Deborah R. October 27, 2013
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.
George B. September 1, 2013
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.
chiefkief August 18, 2013
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!
Elyse O. August 16, 2013
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.