Juju’s Birthday Cake

Juju’s Birthday Cake

Pastel de chocolate de Juju
10 to 12 non-hungry people
Pati Jinich
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cake, Chocolate, pati's mexican table, sour cream, vanilla
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Juju’s Birthday Cake recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 2, Episode 2 “School Lunch with a Mexican Twist”


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).

75 comments on “Juju’s Birthday Cake

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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

  1. Patients love your show and this cake! My wife made it for my birthday and used Dark Chocolate Cocoa. Wow! Out of this world. Thank you for the beautiful spirit you bring to cooking.

  2. Today l made your Jujus Birthday cake l have been wanting to do so for a long time , it’s really really yummy. I replaced the water with coffee. And l live in the high desert, so l added an additional 1/4 cup of flour. This will be my new favorite! Thank you Pati

  3. Hi Pati, my family and I are big fans of your show. My two year old daughter always asks to watch “Dame Dame show” (because of the song). One question: can I substitute the sour cream? Or just leave it out of the recipe? Thank you!

  4. I made this cake for my friend Judy’s birthday two years ago and she asked for it every year. she loves it and so dose everyone

  5. You posted a picture of Juju’s Birthday cake, 2 layers with a white buttercream frosting. I’d like your buttercream frosting. Please post it.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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

  9. 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.

    1. 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!!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!!

  12. 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!

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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?


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

  17. 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 :))

  18. 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

  19. 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.

    1. 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.

  20. 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.