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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes

Pati Jinich Juju's Chocolate Birthday Cake

Juju’s Birthday Cake
Pastel de chocolate de Juju

Serves: 10 to 12 non-hungry people


For the cake:

1 cup water

2/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup sprinkles, optional

To Prepare

To prepare the cake: Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan with butter. Cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, over medium heat, pour the water, stir in the cocoa and add the butter. Let it heat for a few minutes, stirring now and then, until it all dissolves. Remove the pot from the heat.

In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another, beat the eggs and combine them with the sour cream.

In turns, add a quarter of the flour mix and then a quarter of the sour cream mix at a time into the pot with the cocoa mixture; stir with a spatula, mixing all of the ingredients as you move along. Pour onto the greased cake pan and place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out barely moist but not wet.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool a bit while you prepare the frosting.

To prepare the frosting: In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour in the milk and the vanilla. Stir in the cocoa and add the butter. Heat and stir until everything is all dissolved and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar. Thoroughly mix with a spatula and set aside.

To assemble: Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the cake. Turn the cake onto a platter and gently remove the parchment paper. Pour the still-warm frosting over the cake and gently spread it out with a spatula. If you wish, you may add sprinkles of your choice before the frosting hardens (NOTE: The cake is soft and moist the first couple days, then hardens like a brownie afterwards if left uncovered-- perfect for packing in school lunches).



Is the cocoa supposed to be unsweetened or sweetened?

Hi Kristin, unsweetened cocoa.

Wow Pati! This cake looks amazing! Saw it yesterday, and am putting it in the oven right now! Thanks for another great recipe!

My pleasure, Laura

I always wanted a easy yummy cake recepie can’t wait to try it!

Thank you, Favi! Let me know how it turns out.

Love your show Patti the recipes look great and bringing in the family at the end of your show was really a nice touch. See you again on NET1 here in Lincoln Nebraska.

Hola! Thank you for watching in Lincoln!! Let me know if you try any recipes.

We saw you do the JUJU bithday cake in your TV show, and we decided to try it. The cake was a success, and is absoulutely delicious. :)

Hola Deborah, It’s so good to hear you tried the cake and enjoyed it! Thank you for watching.

Just made this cake this evening…about to frost it. Can’t wait to taste! :-)

Hi Pati,
You are lovely and inspirational. I love your show and recipes!

Thank you, Debbie! You are so kind!!

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I’ve been looking for years for a chocolate cake recipe that uses sour cream. I just finished watching this episode and quickly came here to write down the recipe….and subscribed to your newsletter.

Kathy! Thank you for subscribing to the newsletter!! I hope you try the recipe for JuJu’s Birthday Cake. Juju and I make it all the time.

Hi Pati,
I have a Juju too and this cake is something that I’m sure he will love!
Love ur show.

Oh my gosh, Sharon, you must make the cake for your Juju!! Let me know what he thinks of it!

This cake looks so good. Can I adjust for making it in cupcake form? Will that work?

thank you and love the show

Yes, Lourdes, of course you can adjust to make cupcakes!! Let me know how they turn out. Thank you for watching the show!!!

Hi Pati,
My husband and I just love watching your show, and enjoyed the very yummy JuJu birthday cake recipe, which I will make. Is that a traditional Mexican cake recipe? I am Irish and my husband is Mexican, and I like to pass down recipes to our children from both of our heritages….Thanks, Gloria

Hello Pati , i really enjoy watching your show , you make the best meals ever and tonight i will be making my husband and daughter this juju cake . Cant wait :))

I hope everyone enjoyed the cake!! :)

Me encanto su programa!!!


Hi — I’m planning on making this cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. I plan to make it the night before the party (I’m actually going to frost it with a cream cheese frosting with berry puree because she wants a purple cake)! Do you recommend that I refrigerate the cake after making it or leave it room temp until I frost it before the party?


Hi Anna, that sounds like fun! You can just leave it outside the refrigerator and covered… Happy birthday to your daughter!

Is it all purpose flour or self-rising flour? I absolutely love your show. I love to listen to you talk. You have a beautiful family.

Thank you so much, Judy! It’s all purpose flour for the cake. I will add that to the recipe. All my very best to you.

Hello Patti, I am Portuguese and love to cook and try new recipes, love Mexican food and to watch you show.

Gracias Ana! I’ve still to go to Portugal….

The recipes from you show are amazing. i am going to make Ju Ju’s birthday cake for my grandsons upcoming birthday on May 23. Thank you for all your simple, yet delicious recipes. And the way you come across on TV is refreshing and kind.

Gracias Delores! My kids love that cake…

Hi Pati,

I was wondering if I could use whole wheat flour instead and skim milk? Will it change the texture at all?

Thank you!

Of course you can use it… but of course it will change the texture: give it a try and report back!

Made JuJu’s birthday cake for my 10 year old grandson. It was delicious!
The recipe is a keeper…moist and very tasty.

This was the most delicious cake I have ever tried. I was worried because I have not been successful in baking in the past, but I nailed it! I used dark chocolate cocoa. My boys LOVED this! Thanks so much Pati!

will juju’s cake work with stevia or sucralose instead of sugar?

It should. Give it a try and let me know how it goes…

I made this was gluten free flour today, and it turned out fantastic! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

Yey! Thank you, Lynne. So happy to hear it works gluten free. :)

Wow this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. I don’t have cable and rely on pbs food shows for recipes and you guys never let me down. I did use semi sweet chocolate for the frosting as I ran out of cocoa. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!!!

Great to hear Irene! We never tire of this cake around here…

Thanks so much Pati, love the recipe and love the clear good instructions =0) God Bless.

I can’t believe how easy it is!

My daughter and I watched the school lunch episode together and she immediately said, “I want Juju’s birthday cake for my birthday!” It’s the first of your recipes that I’ve actually made (even though I want to make all of them!!) and it was a hit at her birthday party this weekend.The cake is seriously delicious (even 2 days later)and I have a feeling it’s going to become THE birthday cake request in our house for years to come.

So happy to hear, Susanne! Happy birthday to your daughter!!

I’ve baked this cake many times now. It has become a family tradition! I bring this cake to friends who are sick or to pot luck parties. It is always a hit! The chocolate sauce really makes it rich and decadent.
Yesterday, I served 80 slices of Juju’s Birthday Cake to Navy League Cadets and their leaders as it was my son’s 12th birthday.
Everyone wanted the recipe!
When I want to make it extra fancy, I bake it in a smaller pan so it will be higher, cut in half and fill centre with banana cream (or vanilla pudding) and sliced bananas, decorate top with whipped cream roses and serve with chocolate sauce on the side. Rustic, rich and delicious.

Hi Pia, I’m so happy your family is enjoying this recipe as much as mine! Love what you are doing with the banana – sounds decadent and delicious!!

Hi Patty
Always do this recipe with great results !!! Thank you
Do you have a vanilla one as easy as this?

I LOVE baking and cooking with vanilla! Here are two of my favorite recipes: and of course I hope you enjoy and please let me know how they turn out!

I saw this yesterday…it looks delicious as is but if I want to give it that Mexican chocolate taste should I use the cocoa combined with cinnamon or can I use a round of Mexican brand chocolate that is used to make the hot chocolate drink? Love your show…you have some of the best recipes…You should be on Foodnetwork and the Cooking Channel. Thank you. Patty

Yes you can!

I would love to know that too since my husband is also from mexico and im practicing my mexican receipes.

I made this gluten free and it was amazing! However, the icing was a little too rich for my liking. Can’t wait for it to turn brownie texture…will eat with some whipped cream :-)

Hi Pati.
I made this cake because it sounded so delicious, but I am trying to cut back on sugar so used one of the popular sugar substitutes. The batter was thicker than I expected. Could that have been the problem? Other than that, it was very good.

Yes, probably. Sugar substitutes act differently than sugar…

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