Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

This Chocolate Mexican Cake is inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate. It combines the tastiness of chocolate, the warmth of those spices, and the goodness of cake all at your fingertips (or fork tines)!

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

It’s baking season and I couldn’t be more excited. Life seems to be full of a lot of devastation and stress recently. Baking has always been my therapy – it’s the reason I started blogging – so you can imagine what I’ve been doing a lot of recently!

When my sister and her kids were coming over for dinner last week, I took the opportunity to bake my mom’s pumpkin cake. I found so much peace in the process of baking (and the familiar scents). And if we’re being honest, eating the cake helped a lot too! This Mexican Chocolate Cake is one of my other favorites that uses the same decadent cinnamon frosting…

If you love Mexican Cocoa, you’ll love this cake. If you like chocolate, you’ll love this cake. And if dessert is your love language – this is your recipe!

Mexican Chocolate Cake


The cinnamon and dried chili powder are what takes this recipe from your average chocolate cake to a Mexican Chocolate Cake. Don’t be scared of the spices; they add a beautiful warmth to the cake, not anything spicy!

The recipe below has just 4 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 ¼ teaspoons of dried chili powder. I promise it isn’t spicy at all, so if you’re nervous, these amounts are a great place to start. You can read reviews of people who’ve made the cake here and many of them say they’d use more spice!

What is Mexican Chocolate?

Mexican chocolate is typically cocoa nibs, sugar, and cinnamon. Often it has add ins like allspice or various kinds of dried chili peppers to add spice and heat to the mix. I feel it really adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the other sweet chocolate many of us are used to.

So if you want a kickier flavor, however, then absolutely add some more chili powder. You could easily increase the amount or even double the amount of chili powder.

If you really want a shock, you could experiment with adding cayenne pepper. I’d start with ⅛ teaspoon and work up from there. The baking process will dull the spice a bit, but be careful (or just smother it in more frosting)!!

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

Cinnamon Frosting

And I’d be lying if I said the cake itself was the centerpiece here. This cinnamon frosting is to die for and it’s perfection on this cake. I’m not one to boast, but this is one of my prouder moments!!

I didn’t want to dull the flavor of this Mexican Chocolate Cake with your standard vanilla or chocolate frosting. Instead I used a family recipe for  a warm cinnamon glaze that is positively scrumptious! My mom serves it on that pumpkin cake.

It’s deliciously sweet and gooey without taking away from the flavor of the cake. The cinnamon throughout the cake and the frosting make it all merry together in perfect harmony!!

If you love the flavors in this chocolate cake, then you’ll want to try this Mexican Mocha (iced or hot)!! And don’t miss this simple Scottish recipe for tiffin – a no bake chocolate treat!


Other favorite chocolate recipes in our house include these Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars, cakey brownies, and chocolate dipped figs! And don’t miss that no bake Chocolate Tiffin recipe I mentioned above!

Mexican Chocolate Cake
Print Recipe
5 from 43 votes


If you love anything Mexican Chocolate, you’ll love this super simple homemade cake. Add in those warming spices that pair so perfectly with chocolate and then top it with the most decadent cinnamon drizzle ever. The glaze is actually a family recipe from a favorite pumpkin cake!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cake, chocolate, dessert, mexican
Servings: 12
Calories: 349kcal
Author: Luci Petlack


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • cup cocoa powder preferably dark
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons dried chili powder such as ancho, guajillo or chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Cocoa powder for dusting


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 7 to 8 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan well with butter and coat with flour.
  • Add the softened butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the eggs.
  • Stir the cocoa powder into the warm water in a medium bowl. Stir well until all the powder is incorporated. With mixer on low, pour in the cocoa and water. Next add the vanilla.
  • Continue to mix as you add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder and salt.
  • Gradually add the flour, mixing on low between each addition, just until fully incorporated into a batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
  • Once the cake is cool, place a plate over the cake and invert the pan to release the cake to the serving plate.


  • To make the glaze, add the powdered sugar to a medium bowl. Stir in 5 tablespoons of the cream. Add the remaining cream a little at a time, until the frosting reaches a thick, but flowing glaze. It should be thin enough to drizzle, but thick enough to hold its form when you drizzle it back into the bowl. Stir in the cinnamon and salt.
  • Spread the frosting over the top of the cake, allowing it to drape gently over the sides. Let rest for 5 minutes. Dust with cocoa powder before slicing to serve. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.


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Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 587IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg

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    1. I haven’t tried it gluten free, but I think with a good 1-for-1 flour, it should be fine. It’s the mix of the spices eith the chocolate that really seals the deal. And the frosting of course!

  1. 5 stars
    I want to try this, but I can’t figure out what kind of cocoa powder to use? I keep reading that which kind you use depends on if the recipe has baking soda or baking powder, but this recipe has both. Do I want unsweetened baking cocoa? or something like hersheys special dark cocoa powder? Do I need something that says “dutch”?

    1. Hi Julie! Yes, unsweetened cocoa powder is what you want. I think I’ve only ever owned the basic Hershey’s one. I just looked up the special dark. It looks like it would be a fine substitute, though it has a mysterious (to me) added ingredient. I’m sure it’s fine in this recipe, but I’m all for ingredient labels I understand! Happy to help further if you have any other questions.

    1. You can certainly swap the cayenne in. The chili powder measurements are all a matter of spice preference. I might try half/half before fully substituting, however. Just in case!

    1. Hi Deanne! Absolutely. A hand mixer is just as good or, if you’re feeling up to it, mixing by hand is totally fine!

  2. 5 stars
    I don’t understand using chili powder…the ingredients are: cumin, Mexican oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. How could that possibly be good in a cake? What are these people using?

    1. Hi Mary! The chili powder is a dried chili – not the savory chili powder seasoning blend. I don’t know if the other would be bad, but I haven’t tried it!

    2. 5 stars
      I think you might be thinking of chili spice mix, which is for making meat and bean chili dishes. Chili powder has one ingredient, dried red chilies. 🌶️ I used ancho, cause that’s how I roll.

      This cake was excellent and everyone raved about it! In addition to the delicious drizzle, I made some cinnamon whipped cream to serve with it. I feel like I over baked it by a minute or two (easy to do with chocolate cake) but it was still amazing.

    3. 5 stars
      Yes as Ivy noted, you should use a dried chile powder, not chili seasoning. Ancho, guajillo or chipotle would all work. I put a little cayenne in mine and it was great. A little allspice or mace compliment the flavors too.

    1. Hi Peyton! My apologies for the delay. If you mean a sheet pan like a cookie sheet with 1″ sides, I think it’s going to be tricky. If you’re referring to a cake pan (such as an 9″x13″ pan), then yes, you could. Cakes usually take 35-50 minutes, so at 350°, you can bake as directed and start checking for doneness around 35 minutes. I hope that helps!

  3. 5 stars
    I was thinking of making this for a pot luck. Would I put it in the fridge when done then glaze it in the morning or before going to the pot luck? I need to make it the day before.

    1. Hi Kelli! You could actually glaze it the day before and then refrigerate the whole thing until going to the potluck! I’d recommend doing that so the flavors all start to marry together, but you could really do anytime!

  4. 5 stars
    I just made this delicious cake, however i did half of the chili powder and half cayenne to get a little kick, I love it!! I do have a question! Can I freeze this cake and serve it later?
    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Julie! Perfect. The spice in this cake is so up to your taste preferences.

      I’m a big fan of freezing cakes. You can either freeze it whole (a big harder) or you can freeze it in individual pieces. Either way, you’ll want to wrap or seal them tightly. Traditionally this would be plastic wrap (though we eliminated plastic wrap from our kitchen), so if you’re interested in alternatives, you can use aluminum foil, beeswax wrap, or just try to fill up as much of a container as possible with the cake pieces.

  5. 5 stars
    I am going to make this cake soon, it looked yummy, I do not have a Bundt pan, can I make it in an Angel food cake pan ?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Tina! I did a little internet research (not easy for this question, funny enough!). It looks as though you can absolutely use the angel food cake pan for the recipe. Because sizes and metal thicknesses vary between pans, however, I’d keep an eye on it around 30 minutes in the oven. Hope that helps. I’d love to hear how it goes if you have time to report back! xo Luci

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Made a couple of times for friends.. they love it. Adjusted the cinnamon and Chili powder to my tasting..

  7. 5 stars
    The flavor of this cake is AMAZING! My husband tried it and calls it the “Chocolate Abuelita Cake”. It is this famous hot chocolate drink we make in the winter. However I did not have a bunt cake pan, I did it in a reg. round cake pan. It came out crumbly and a little dry. Needless to say the cake flavor is really good so we still ate the whole thing, just with extra milk to drink. I keep reading reviews about how moist the cake is, so I know I did something wrong for sure! – Does the recipe change when making it on a round cake pan?

    1. Hi Alejandra! I’m so glad you love the flavor of the cake. The idea seemed so simple when I came up with it years ago, but it never tastes “simple!” The only thing that would change when changing pans is the baking time. I’m thinking you used 2 round pans? If that’s the case, then the baking time is likely more 25-35 minutes. So – quite a bit less time. I’d start checking the cakes at 25 minutes until they’re done. Do you know how to do the toothpick doneness test? Then you’ll know how long it should take. I’d love to know how long it takes – to include in my notes!

  8. 5 stars
    To Lola:
    Chocolate is made of cocoa (butter & powder). Here you have cocoa powder. Cocoa butter makes for creaminess of the chocolate – but here you have milk butter, so the creaminess is there even without cocoa butter.
    But if you want, I think that you can add chocolate here, grated or crushed to small pieces.
    To Luci:
    Thank you for the great recipe! We love this cake 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Wanting to try this for a dinner party. Could you add the glaze beforehand or do you need to wait until it is served.

    1. I think you could safely add the glaze beforehand. If it’s too far in advance, just keep it in the refrigerator and then bring it out about 20 minutes before enjoying!

      1. 5 stars
        I made this tomorrow for a Cinco de Mayo party after church. I just transferred it to my cake carrier and I tasted the crumbs. Wow! I used Chipotle chili pepper and a little bit of cayenne. The taste kind of reminded me of a very kicked up gingersnap. The cinnamon frosting is awesome. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    We love, love, love Mexican chocolate so this cake is perfect for us!! Stress baking and stress eating – this cake is pure comfort food!

  11. 5 stars
    Wow, this cake was so decadent! Love the recipe and the chili just just the right amount to elevate the chocolate.

  12. 5 stars
    This Mexican Chocolate Cake was so moist, chocolatey and easy to make!! We loved all the flavors and was also gorgeous! Thank you

  13. 5 stars
    I love this delicious and moist Mexican chocolate cake. A big slice with a glass of milk and you have everything you need.

  14. 5 stars
    I just have to say the cake stand that you used is so cute. I love the icing on the beautiful chocolate cake and I can’t wait to try it.

  15. 5 stars
    Mexican chocolate cake would imply that it’s actually made with Mexican chocolate. I see, however you’ve chosen to use cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder in its place? Hmm

    1. 5 stars
      The 3 ingredients you just mentioned are not only widely used in Mexican cuisine but also in Mexican chocolate so….

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