Horchata Cake

Cakes, Desserts, Holiday, Winter

Horchata Cake

These past few days have been quite leisure. The emails have slowed. The deadlines have been met and everyone seems to be winding down for the holiday season. I am completely ready.

I have been chilling in sweats and watching episodes of The View and The Great Holiday Baking Show while I bake the day away.

Horchata Cake

I’ve already kinda made enough content for the month of December so these past few days have just been things I’ve wanted to bake. And this horchata cake was on that list!

I thought about it long and hard because the big question has always been: How do I get it taste like horchata…?

Horchata Cake

Initially I made horchata and incorporated it into the cake batter and you know what? It wasn’t worth the extra step. I couldn’t taste it. And I liked the cake with regular milk better. The texture is better.

SO, instead I added some cinnamon to the cake batter and added some almond meal to give it a bit of texture. It worked out great!

Horchata Cake

Horchata Cake

I then concentrated my efforts on the frosting.

I went to Guisados (if you live in LA, you’re probably/ hopefully very familiar!) to get some of their horchata.

Horchata Cake

I cooked it down, skimmed off the milk skin (also known as nata in Spanish, which you are either an ardent fan of or think it’s totally vile; I’m in the latter group) and then added that to the frosting. BAM! Tastes like horchata.

If you use homemade horchata (I often time use this easy, straight-forward recipe), I suggest adding equal parts whole milk to it so it will cook down properly. If you go to a restaurant and buy horchata, it will most likely be made from a powdered mix that has rice flour, cinnamon and then they’ll add milk to that. This is what you want! It works great.

I topped the cake with mini gingerbread houses and made trees out of rosemary dusted in powdered sugar BC Christmas.

Horchata Cake

Horchata Cake

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 1 (eight-inch) cake



  • 2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting pans
  • 1/4 cup almond meal, sifted (any big bits of almond meal can be discarded)
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 egg whites, will equal to a scant 3/4 cup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla


  • 2/3 cup homemade horchata or restaurant-bought horchata cooked down to 4 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


To make the cake layers:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Flour, grease and line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the cake flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. At a slow speed, add the cubed butter and mix until it resembles soft crumbs. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg whites and vanilla. Add about 1/2 of the milk/egg white mixture and continue beating for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1/2 of the milk/egg white mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds or so, scrape down the sides and give it one last mix.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter to pan walls, smooth the tops and give the pans a gentle bang on the kitchen counter. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart (this will help with proper cake circulation, yes this is a thing). Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes. (If you're using nine-inch cake pans, the cake might take around 25 minutes to bake, just keep that in mind.)
  • Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely,

To make the frosting:

  • Add the horchata to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then immediately turn the heat down to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, until it measures out to be about 4 tablespoons. Remove the milk skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk and discard (this is a normal thing to happen).t Set the horchata aside and allow to come to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, add the butter. Sift in the powdered sugar and then add the salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Next, pour in 2 tablespoons of the cooked down horchata and mix until fully incorporated. Add a tablespoon more if desired. Frost cake as desired.

Horchata Cake


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  • Avatar
    Reply steph December 14, 2016 at 12:50 am

    that last shot of amelia looking at the cake is exactly how i feel. give me all da horchata cake please. maybe with a side of guisados tacos?!?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 14, 2016 at 11:38 am

      the best part of about having to go to guisados to get this horchata was that i had tacos for b’fast haha.

  • Avatar
    Reply heather (delicious not gorgeous) December 14, 2016 at 1:10 am

    oooh yes love that you maxed out all the horchata-ness. and those mini gingerbread houses plus those rosemary branches are the perfect trees, especially for that size of gingerbread house!

  • Avatar
    Reply Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands December 14, 2016 at 5:09 am

    Nothing like a cake with that cinnamon kick for the holidays 🙂

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    Reply Michelle @ Hummingbird High December 14, 2016 at 5:29 am

    those little gingerbread houses up top are just so cute. can’t wait to try this frosting, it sounds BOMB. xo

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    Reply Tori//Gringalicious.com December 14, 2016 at 5:41 am

    I adore this sweet little festive cake! I’ve also never thought to use horchata as a cake flavor but it’s brilliant, YUM!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

      i want to make everything horchata-flavored now!

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    Reply Sarah | Well and Full December 14, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Genius to add cinnamon and almond flour instead of just the horchata itself. This cake looks amazing!!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Susan December 14, 2016 at 6:29 am

    This cake is so flippin’ adorable! I love cakes with wintery scenes.

  • Avatar
    Reply Rachael December 14, 2016 at 8:44 am

    This cake is so cute 🙂

    Rachael xx.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lindsey Love December 14, 2016 at 10:28 am

    this cake, and your photos are gorgeous! love how you incorporated some spice and almond flour for those horchata feels 🙂 ahhh, guisados! it will forever be my fave pit stop when i’m in town.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 14, 2016 at 10:54 am

      thank you! i live so close to it i have to stop myself from going and getting their quesadilla every single day.

  • Avatar
    Reply alana December 14, 2016 at 11:40 am

    ahhhhh, was waiting for this one. looks like i’m walking my lazy self over to guisados to grab some horchata cause i def want to make this!!! also, those little houses are TOO CUTE. and more alsos, i love that you added almond meal to the batter. genius!!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Linze December 14, 2016 at 11:49 am

    You have awakened a long dormant taste desire and with a cake bonus! Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply Joanna December 14, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I used to be safe from Guisado’s…but now they’re open in Burbank.

  • Avatar
    Reply Carlos At Spoonabilities December 14, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I love cakes and combine with horchata must be super delicious!
    The cake looks so perfect and beautiful!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kimberly December 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    I am so in love with this! I love your creativity and beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  • Avatar
    Reply Laura (A Beautiful Plate) December 14, 2016 at 4:34 pm


  • Avatar
    Reply Ashley Nathalie December 14, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Hahaha la nata! It really is so nasty lol

  • Avatar
    Reply DanDan December 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    This cake is so magically beautiful! But am I the only person in the world who has no idea what horchata is? Feel like a dope! Will be looking it up, but if you have explanations would love to know. Thanks

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 15, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      It’s a drink that can be often times found in Mexican restaurants. It’s made from rice. Rice is soaked in water with cinnamon and other spices overnight and then blended together with a bit of sugar, strained and then consumed. It’s really really good! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Melissa L December 17, 2016 at 7:34 am

    What do you think about using almond milk horchata? There is a brand sold in my grocery store that I really like, but not sure about the cooking it down factor??

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 18, 2016 at 8:26 am

      I would add equal parts whole milk to it. Or you can try and boil it down and see what happens and if doesn’t work then add the whole milk. I’ve never boiled down almond milk before!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gabriella December 18, 2016 at 5:18 am

    A horchata cake? I am SO in.

  • Avatar
    Reply Leigh December 18, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Do you have to sift the powdered sugar for the frosting first?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 18, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      you should measure it out and then place a sieve over the bowl and sift it in 🙂

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    Reply Charlotte December 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Can I substitute the almond meal with regular cake flour, or do you think the almond flavor really makes the cake?


    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 20, 2016 at 8:34 am

      if you don’t have it and it’s like a drag to get, then you can totally substitute it with more cake flour. i looooved it in this cake. the flavor is subtle but it gives it a nice texture. your call! i think the frosting makes this cake 🙂

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    Reply Jill January 5, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Oddly, I am interested in the hotpad you have pictured. Is it handmade? I would love to make some if you have a pattern to share?

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    Reply Elise Miller November 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    you’re my favorite food blogger and i can’t WAAAAIT to spend my christmas break cooking/baking through a long list of your recipes!!!

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    Reply Grace December 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Is the almond meal supposed to be 1/4 sifted or what remains after a 1/4 has been sifted? You know what I mean? Just put these in the oven and my batter seemed really runny, wondering if that’s what I did wrong… ‍♀️

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Yes, sorry for the confusion. So you should take 1/4 cup of almond milk and then sift it. Any big bits (they shouldn’t be that big) then those can go. How did it turn out?

  • Avatar
    Reply Grace December 12, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Just pulled them out of the oven a few minutes ago and they look great! Should’ve trusted the process! 🙂 Can’t wait to finish it off for my husband’s birthday on Thursday!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Okay great! YAY! Please let me know how it goes! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Therese Brion November 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Have you tried these in cupcake form? Looking to make it for my cousins engagement party!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme November 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

      I haven’t but it should work! I think they’ll prob need to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Casey December 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Has anyone ever tried making this in cupcakes? I have made the cake and LOVE it– but wanted to break it down into cupcakes.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kelly December 8, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Adrianna! I have been wanting to make this cake for a long time and am finally gonna do it! However, I really want to make it in a 9×13 pan instead of the two rounds. Do you know how I should adjust the cooking time?

    Also, my husband and I really love the combination of horchata and Dr. Pepper so I think I’m going to cook down some DP and drizzle it on top. Sounds crazy but I think it’ll be good.

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    Reply Laura February 19, 2019 at 7:05 am

    5 stars
    Do you think that a whipped cream frosting would be good on this cake? with a little cinnamon and horchata in it as well of course!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme February 19, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      I don’t know what whipped cream frosting is? Just whipped cream?

      • Avatar
        Reply Laura February 19, 2019 at 7:25 pm

        haha yes, what I meant to say was whipped cream as frosting. that might not have been worded exactly right!

        • Adrianna Adarme
          Reply Adrianna Adarme February 21, 2019 at 9:39 pm

          I wouldn’t because whipped cream doesn’t hold up like a frosting! I suggest this frosting. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Ally March 1, 2019 at 6:18 am

    5 stars
    Thank you SO much for the recipe. I made my nephew and his bride a Horchata wedding cake using your recipe and it was fabulous! I tried one recipe and the flavors were there but the cake was like bread dough. I tried your recipe and it was SO light and yummy. I did add 1/2 1/2 cup Horchata and took out 1/2 cup of whole milk and it was PERFECT for the flavors I needed. Your cake recipe was such a blessing for me to find. I’d love to share a photo . Thanks again!

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