Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2831

“There’s nothing hidden between heaven and earth.”
Venezuelan Proverb

Nothing hidden indeed… except, perhaps the cheese inside a steaming, hot Cachapas.

Brittle autumn days require an extra slathering of comfort. Ooey gooey cheese-filled corncakes, a.k.a. cachapas fit the bill nicely. Think of them as the South American version of pancakes.

The cakes are made with just two ingredients: corn and masa harina, plus the requisite sprinkling of salt and pepper. There’s a simplicity to the recipe that means a batch can be made as easily at midnight as in the afternoon.

Which means you can stovetop travel to the beaches of Venezuela any time you like.

Playa Colorada, Sucre State, Venezuela. Photo by Gianfranco Cardogna.

Playa Colorada, Sucre State, Venezuela. Photo by Gianfranco Cardogna.

While you can make cachapas with fresh corn in the fall, you can also use frozen corn any time of year. Corn gives the cachapas sweet overtones. Masa harina – a flour made from hominy, the big-kerneled cousin to corn – binds the mixture together so the corncake holds its shape (all the better for topping with ooey gooey cheese!).

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2785

Speaking of cheese, the key to the cachapas is to sprinkle them with a shredded soft cheese, fold in half, and eat while steaming hot. You can use queso mano, a soft mild cheese favored by Venezuelans, though shredded mozarella is a fine (and delicious) substitute. Some Venezuelans pass on the cheese, preferring to butter the cachapas.

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2813

Makes 6 small cachapas

Ingredients:

3 cups corn kernels (from fresh ears or thawed frozen)
1/4 cup masa harina (available on the international aisle of most grocers)
salt & pepper

1/2 cup shredded queso mano or mozarella

vegetable oil, for frying

Method:

To begin our stovetop travels, set up your kitchen in a brightly lit kitchen.

Preferably one with a view:

Beach of the west of Vargas State, Venezuela. Photo by Guillermo Gonzalez P.

Beach of the west of Vargas State, Venezuela. Photo by Guillermo Gonzalez P.

Next,  grind the corn kernels to a smooth pulp, along with the salt and pepper.

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2742

Add in the masa harina.

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2739

Note: You can use a food processor or a blender for this step. If you use a blender, you’ll need a tamper or long spoon  to push the corn into the blade (not while the blender is running, of course!).

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2755

Once the mixture is smooth, preheat a griddle or large frying pan over medium heat.

Add on some oil, then spoon the batter onto the pan. With the back of your spoon, press the batter into a rough circle.

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2761

Cook the cachapas for 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook for 3-5 more minutes, pressing the mixture flat if desired.

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2788

Sprinkle with mozarella and let melt. If necessary, keep warm in the oven until all cachapas are cooked.

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2790

Fold in half and enjoy!

venezuela.food.recipe.img_2798

Each bite is soft, sweet, and cheesy.

I mean. Really. Consider it an instant win.

Are you in?

Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas
Votes: 7
Rating: 3.86
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Think of them as the South American version of pancakes. The cakes are made with just two ingredients: corn and masa harina, plus the requisite sprinkling of salt and pepper. There’s a simplicity to the recipe that means a batch can be made as easily at midnight as in the afternoon. Which means you can stovetop travel to the beaches of Venezuela any time you like. While you can make cachapas with fresh corn in the fall, you can also use frozen corn any time of year. Corn gives the cachapas sweet overtones. Masa harina – a flour made from hominy, the big-kerneled cousin to corn – binds the mixture together so the corncake holds its shape (all the better for topping with ooey gooey cheese!). Speaking of cheese, the key to the cachapas is to sprinkle them with a shredded soft cheese, fold in half, and eat while steaming hot. You can use queso mano, a soft mild cheese favored by Venezuelans, though shredded mozarella is a fine (and delicious) substitute. Some Venezuelans pass on the cheese, preferring to butter the cachapas.
Servings Prep Time
6 small cachapas 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 small cachapas 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas
Votes: 7
Rating: 3.86
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Think of them as the South American version of pancakes. The cakes are made with just two ingredients: corn and masa harina, plus the requisite sprinkling of salt and pepper. There’s a simplicity to the recipe that means a batch can be made as easily at midnight as in the afternoon. Which means you can stovetop travel to the beaches of Venezuela any time you like. While you can make cachapas with fresh corn in the fall, you can also use frozen corn any time of year. Corn gives the cachapas sweet overtones. Masa harina – a flour made from hominy, the big-kerneled cousin to corn – binds the mixture together so the corncake holds its shape (all the better for topping with ooey gooey cheese!). Speaking of cheese, the key to the cachapas is to sprinkle them with a shredded soft cheese, fold in half, and eat while steaming hot. You can use queso mano, a soft mild cheese favored by Venezuelans, though shredded mozarella is a fine (and delicious) substitute. Some Venezuelans pass on the cheese, preferring to butter the cachapas.
Servings Prep Time
6 small cachapas 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 small cachapas 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups corn (from fresh ears or frozen, thawed)
  • 1/4 cup masa harina
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup mozarella (shredded) - OR -
  • queso mano (shredded)
  • vegetable oil , for frying
Servings: small cachapas
Units:
Instructions
  1. Grind the corn kernels to a smooth pulp, along with the salt and pepper.
  2. Add in the masa harina. Note: You can use a food processor or a blender for this step. If you use a blender, you’ll need a tamper or long spoon to push the corn into the blade (not while the blender is running, of course!).
  3. Once the mixture is smooth, preheat a griddle or large frying pan over medium heat. Add on some oil, then spoon the batter onto the pan. With the back of your spoon, press the batter into a rough circle.
  4. Cook the cachapas for 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook for 3-5 more minutes, pressing the mixture flat if desired.
  5. Sprinkle with mozarella and let melt. If necessary, keep warm in the oven until all cachapas are cooked.
  6. Fold in half and enjoy!

29 Comments

  1. Barbara says

    Hi Sasha

    I could not find masa harina at my grocery store. They did have “corn flour”, would that work? What about regular all purpose flour? I know that wouldn’t be authentic & probably would not taste as good but would it be an acceptable substitute? They look delicious and I’d really like to try them!

      • Luis Serrano says

        Hi!

        Well, normally we make cachapas without using any type of flour =) … If the corn seems too dry after grinding, we add a little milk. If it’s too runny, you can add a little flour: we use pre-cooked corn flour, but cornmeal also works, just be careful it’s not too dry.

        PD: Venezuelans don’t add pepper to the cachapas

      • Linda says

        Masa harina is for making tortillas. If using something to thicken mixture use Harina Pan. Have never seen this used in cachapas in Venezuela, they use fresh corn off the cob put through a grinder.

  2. Pingback: Global Table Adventure | Menu: Venezuela

  3. Pingback: Global Table Adventure | Monday Meal Review: Venezuela

  4. Oh my Goodness, Am i in? DEFINITELY! I just made home made cheese Papusas last night and this morning for the first time. Never knew of Cachapas i will definitely be making these very soon. Love the idea of adding corn in to the corn masa it self. Yummy Yumers! 🙂

  5. Gosh, these are totally easy and look delicious! Just found your website and can’t wait to see what else you have! Thank you!!!

  6. Pingback: 24 Pancakes From Around The World | GossipViews.com

  7. I’m sorry to say, but this recipe was a complete flop for me. I tried making the cachapas twice, following the recipe exactly the first time, and then adding butter and more masa the second time. Both times I ended up with a messy, seared corn puree that just fell apart. Perhaps an egg is needed to bind the mix? Regardless, I think something in your cooking method is getting lost in this recipe as the photos show proper cachapas.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Hey Josh – I’m sorry to hear this didn’t work for you. It sounds like yours was too wet somehow… I was also surprised that it didn’t need any binder, but every recipe I researched had this method. I think try it without the added butter, but more masa (your corn might have been wetter than mine) – see how that goes. Again so sorry!

    • I’m Venezuelan. Yes, you need eggs. St least one, and sugar. I really don’t know what kind of recipe Is this one but I’m 100% sure that is not the standard cachapa

  8. Pingback: 24 Pancakes From Around The World - zdouf!

  9. Pingback: 24 Pancakes From Around The World | GossipViews.com

  10. Pingback: Around the world in corn | 20 Recipes to celebrate the harvest

  11. Betzabeth says

    Is not necessary to add masa harina, im venezuelan, cachapas are made only with corn, water, salt and sugar; do not add pepper, and do not add milk, it is not necessary, ground corn very well, add water, a pinch of salt and sugar ( not too much ), mix well and cook in a greased hot iron pan, when it is cooked in one side, turn it and cover the pan to cook well ( sorry for my english)…. and then enjoy it!

  12. Tom says

    Most of the recipes I’ve looked at do no use masa harina, but corn flour.
    Masa is Central American as far as I know: corn kernels soaked in calcium hydroxide solution, a process called nixtamalization (sp). I’m no chemist, but when masa is eaten with beans, you get a complete protein. With just corn, corn flour, or corn meal, the protein is incomplete.

  13. I often visit your website and have noticed that you don’t update it often. More frequent
    updates will give your website higher authority & rank
    in google. I know that writing posts takes a lot of time, but
    you can always help yourself with miftolo’s tools which will shorten the
    time of creating an article to a couple of seconds.

  14. Hello another Venezuelan girl. In our country we do no use any flour with the mix. Is just plain fresh corn grinded with maybe some salt and sugar, never pepper. People that live abroad have to adjust due to the type of corn, In the US we have to add eggs and flour to make them stay together because the corn is to watery. Unfortunately this takes the flavor down a lot

  15. Mari says

    The main issue is that in Venzuela they use field corn and not sweet corn. Field corn is starchier. Also need to be sure field corn is at same stage as you would normally eat sweet corn (ie when kernels are still very moist) so it isn’t bitter. There is just no substituting masa harina/corn starch plus sweet corn for the real thing. Ya gotta go cajole a farmer into letting you pick some ears of field corn. Again be sure to get it before they would normally harvest it. Once it is dry it isn”t going to work.

  16. Harry says

    I made cachapas and added maicena to help bind them. Used sweet corn and no sugar. Salt and butter. No harina pan. The secret is to cook them slowly so that when they brown the inside is done. I cooked five minutes per side and it worked well. Missed having queso de mano….

  17. Alicia Bell says

    Here is another Venezuelan lady, in USA if you can find fresh “field” corn you do not need to add no arina pan or maizena, or any kind of flour. But if you are using sweet fresh corn then you need to add arina pan or maizena, and not pepper, ( on the field corn we add: egg, sugar a little salt and litle melted butter and if it is too thick we add some milk) we plant field corn just every other year, we ground a lot and keep some in the freezer bags for year round, delicious.

Leave a Reply to turtle66 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.