I first had a version of this dish on my honeymoon in Mexico. I had never even heard of Aztec Cake before, but it looked like a yummy, cheesy casserole, so of course I had to try it. (Did I mention that this was at the breakfast buffet?) Anywayyy, it ended up being the thing that I looked forward to eating every day on our trip. This version was layered with corn tortillas, ham, cheese, refried beans, fresh salsa, cheese, cheese and more cheese. Definitely not the wisest choice to eat in the morning before laying on the beach all day, but you only live once, right? I couldn’t wait to come home and try to recreate a healthy version of this recipe. Turns out, it was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. This past week, Matt and I made fish tacos (which I will save for a later blog post) and we had a bunch of leftover corn tortillas. I became determined to find a recipe for Aztec Cake. I finally found one that I liked and made a few tweaks. If you are doing a google search, it is also sometimes called “Mexican Lasagna.” It turned out even better than we expected. This will definitely become a “make again” recipe in the Engler household!
Aztec Cake serves 4-6, or if your last name ends with Engler, 2)
- 1 pound plum tomatoes (appx.5)
- 1/4 white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- corn tortillas (don’t even think about using flour…it won’t be the same!)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- corn tortillas (about 12-15)
- 2 chicken breasts, shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)
- 3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup corn kernels, drained
- 2 cups reduced fat mexican shredded cheese
- 1 cup light sour cream
Forgot to include the onion in the picture, but you get the idea.
- Blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic with a little bit of water (about 3 tablespoons)
until smooth in a blender.**
- In a saucepan, over medium high heat, pour in the blended mixture, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until it changes its color to a darker one, about 10-12 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF
- Heat the corn tortillas in the microwave by placing the tortillas on top of a plate with a damp paper towel. Place another damp paper towel on top. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until tortillas are soft. This will keep them from drying out and breaking while they bake.
- In a baking pan, put some sauce and then cover with a layer of tortillas. Then put some of the chicken, black beans, corn and cheese and drizzle with sour cream. (I microwaved the sour cream for about 20 seconds to make it drizzle-able. (Not a real word, I know.) Repeat 2-3 times and end up with sauce and cheese.
- Bake until cheese melts, about 15 minutes. I let it stand for about 5 minutes so that everything will come together nicely when you slice into it.
**Note, if you don’t have a blender, food processor, or magic bullet to blend the tomato mixture, you can substitute 2 cups of really fresh tomato salsa in this recipe. If you do this, try to get the best quality salsa you can find. Because this recipe is relatively simple and includes few ingredients, you want the flavors to shine through.
(Recipe adapted from http://www.flamingtortillas.com/recipes/chicken/aztec_cakelasagna)
Meet Bella, my sous chef.
Just a side note, I strained the sauce after I blended it to remove extra pulp from the tomatoes.
Spices added, things starting to simmer
After 10 minutes, it will look like this! Warm, fresh salsa goodness. This is the point where you really want to taste it to see if you need to add extra salt and pepper. This is the only part of the recipe where I add salt, so you want it to be well-seasoned.
All the fillings
Layer 2-3 times with sauce, tortillas, chicken, beans/corn, cheese, sour cream. Final layer should have tortillas on top with sauce and cheese. I forgot to do that. It still turned out great.
TA DA!! Like I said, I should have placed more tortillas on top and then put sauce and cheese on top of that. It definitely doesn’t look as pretty as it tastes.
This was heaven on a plate. I had at least 2 servings and Matt ate almost the rest of the pan. I have one square left for lunch tomorrow.
This is seriously insanely good. The sauce and tortillas become melt in your mouth delicious together. If anyone tries this, let me know what you think!