Great-Great-Grandmother's Corn Cake at Cook's Tortas
Christine ChiaoGreat great grandmother's corn cake
A cake by name, the great-great-grandmother's corn cake at Cook's Tortas rests comfortably in the overlap of cornbread and creamed corn, should the two ever met. Baked in a bundt pan, the cake is two-thirds crust enshrouding an interior of near custard proportions that recalls a cream-soaked cake in the tres leches tradition.
You'll find bits of sweet corn throughout -- a necessary textural go-between, if you will. There's a ring of fruit preserves, often strawberry, followed by a few shakes of powdered sugar on top. A forkful of the cake lends to the sensibility of joining two corn sides we know and love.
The recipe comes from the great-great-grandmother of manager Elyan Zamora. On a recent visit, the cake was the first to sell out among the handful of pastries on display. It was around 6 p.m., a solid two hours before the tortas shop closed for the day, which meant there was still enough time to bake another one. And Zamora did, bringing out a stand mixer to make the cake from scratch, informed no doubt by years of experience.
Like the bread and pastries, the corn cake is baked fresh on the premises daily at Cook's Tortas. The tortas shop built its reputation on traditional Mexican sandwiches, both classic and newly interpreted, at the edge of Monterey Park. The cake, though popular among, is less emphasized in coverage. Probably because it takes effort to even remember to save room for dessert when faced with a tortas ahogada.
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