La Panaderia's Mexican Pink Cake

Pan Dulce~Favorite Mexican Bakery Treats

Today’s blog post is dedicated to Pan Dulce, Mexican sweet breads and cookies. Trips to la panaderia (mexican bakery) were a Sunday ritual in our house.  Warm bolillos, pan de huevo, cuernitos, marranitos, hojarascas and semitas  were just some of the tasty fresh baked goods to choose from. My first job was at a Mexican panaderia, El Mejor Pan Bakery in Houston, Texas. I learned all the names and still remember that distinct aroma of breads baking when I walked in the door to go to work. 
After getting married and moving to central New York, la panaderia, and all of it’s delicious treats soon became a distant memory. No Mexican bakeries for hundreds of miles, ha ha!! It soon became my quest to try and recreate some of the recipes I loved the most. And because of the popularity of Mexican food, there are many, many recipes being published. It’s a great trip down memory lane! My first entry is Polvorones de Nuez…
Polvorones de Nuez, also known as the Mexican Wedding Cookies when rolled round and dredged in powdered sugar. My Mom would prepare an almost identical version of this cookie, but we grew up knowing them as hojarascas. The flavors and textures are all the same. The original recipe was prepared with pork manteca (lard), but my Momhas always prepared them with vegetable shortening. For this recipe I used butter. This is much different than the big pink, yellow and chocolate cookies you see, also called polvorones.
Polvorones also known as Wedding Cookies when left round and rolled in powdered sugar.
Polvorones also known as Wedding Cookies when left round and rolled in powdered sugar.

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter or shortening 
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/3 teaspoon anise seeds
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 full teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 cups all purpose flour

* 1 cup finely crushed pecans, optional

Polvorones remind me of the holidays, but they are a great cookie for anytime!
Polvorones remind me of the holidays, but they are a great cookie for anytime!


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream the butter, add powdered sugar, anise, cinnamon, salt and vanilla bean paste. Mix until smooth and creamy. Gradually mix in the flour until dough forms. It will be crumbly. if adding pecans, add them in now and fold them in as best you can.

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll 30 dough balls and divide between the two baking sheets. You could leave the polvorones round, or you could flatten them slightly as I did. I used the bottom of a glass.

3. Bake in preheated oven, one sheet at a time, for 13 to15 minutes, turning pan halfway through the baking time. This will help them bake more evenly.

4. If using sprinkles, they must go onto the cookies before baking. For cinnamon and sugar, gently dredge them in a mix of cinnamon/sugar while they are still slightly warm out of the oven. For powdered sugar, sift over cookies, or roll them in the powdered sugar once cooled. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Yields 30 cookies


Polvorenes~Galletas  Mexican Shortbread Cookies. This is an older recipe and my first attempts at preparing the colored polvorones.

Polvorones Mexican Shortbread Cookies
Polvorones Mexican Shortbread Cookies

Polvorones, Mexican Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. mexican canela(cinnamon), optional
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
red food coloring
yellow food coloring


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar,apple pie spice,baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour. If dough is crumbly, gently knead the dough with your hands.

2. Divide the dough in half. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring and work it in with your hands until desired color of pink. Add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring to the remaining dough.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in th 1/2 cup of sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and gently flatten with the bottom of a glass.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a storage container, once cooled. Makes about 24 cookies


Gorditas  de Azucar-Sweet Griddle Cakes

Gorditas de Azucar



Gorditas de Azucar
Gorditas de Azucar


La Panaderia’s Mexican Pink Cake, My Version…. #welovecake #I LovePinkCake

La Panaderia's Mexican Pink Cake
La Panaderia’s Mexican Pink Cake

La Panaderia Mexican Pink Cake 


For Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 lemon, optional
1 cup milk

For Light Pink Frosting (Thicker)
3 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 drops red food coloring
You will also need candy sprinkles


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or oil a 9X9 (for thicker cake) or a 9X13 (for thin cake), set aside.

2. In one bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine, set aside.

3. In another bowl, cream together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until creamy. Add in the lemon zest, if using. While the mixer is running, alternate adding some flour, then some milk until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center of cake. If you over bake, it will be dry. Remove from oven and let cool.

4. Once cake has cooled, prepare frosting. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Add the food coloring and stir until well combined. Frost the cake in the pan and add sprinkles. The frosting will firm up as it sets. Yields 10 to 12 servings.




“Marranitos”….molasses and ginger….soft…


2/3 cup butter,softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour


1. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar,ginger,baking soda,cinnamon,orange zest,salt and ground cloves. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lighty greas a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper, set aside.On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough at a time to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with a lightly floured 4 to 5 inch pig shape cookie cutter. Place cutouts 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, let cool.Makes 18 to 24 cookies.

4. To store, layer cookies between wax paper in an airtight storage container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for 3 months.


Variation: To serve cookies, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar or take the orange, leftover from zesting, combine the fresh juice with some powdered sugar to make a glaze. Lightly glaze cookies when ready to serve. Note: I used a smaller cookie cutter this day(about 2 1/2 inches), made about 55 to 60 small cookies.


Traditional Holiday Hojarascas

Holiday Hojarascas

 This is more like the hojarasca that I grew up with. Most times Mom would cut them out into heart shapes or simply round.
Conchas-Pan de Huevo
Conchas-Pan de Huevo
Empanadas de Piña. These perfect little empanadas filled with homemade pineapple filling is a family recipe that was shared with me by my Tía Minerva. On my last trip to Mexico, in 2011, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a whole month with her. We cooked together and she told me stories of my grandparents and their life together that I had never known. These family recipes hold a very special place in my heart. Also included is the recipe for Empanadas de Ca;abaza(Pumpkin). Click onto link to see full recipes.
Empanadas de Piña Dredged in Cinnamon and Sugar
Empanadas de Piña Dredged in Cinnamon and Sugar

Empanadas de Calabaza

 Empanadas de Calabaza(Pumpkin)


16 thoughts on “Pan Dulce~Favorite Mexican Bakery Treats”

  1. I just noticed my shout out! Ha 🙂 They arrived perfect and tasted AHHHHHmazing! I am going to attempt to make my own batch today along with the pumpkin ones! Wish me luck! You’re awesome, Sonia! Love the page!

  2. Hi, do you happen to have any recipes for pan fino? I usually see it made into cuernitos topped with sugar or the ones shaped like corn.

  3. Wow! Amazing how you have everything so very detailed in this page. My grandmother passed away about a year ago and I wanted to make
    Gorditas de Azucar in her memory. And I can’t wait to make some. 🙂

    1. Hi Cristina! I am so happy you found the recipe for gorditas. This is a variation on how my Mom used to prepare them, but still delicious. My Mom would use regular sugar with no anise added. But as you can see, I like to add my own touch to the traditional recipes. I believe that the traditional gorditas were prepared with manteca instead of butter or margarine, but I do prefer the butter. Let me know how they turn out.

  4. Thank you for posting these recipes..they are hard to find and now I’m happy I can pass down my childhood traditions
    to my children 😊😃

    1. Oh, you are so welcome Joanna! I too want to keep part of my childhood memories alive. By learning to bake these at home, it makes me feel close to my family and all those wonderful times we shared pan dulce. Thanks for following along!

  5. My father-in-law has stage 4 cancer. Everytime I go to visit him, now, I bring him something to brighten his day and break up the boredom of lying in his bed. Today I thought I would like to find a recipe for Pan Dulce, so I can really surprise him with a taste of home. You have given me so many wonderful recipes to make for him. I cannot wait to see the smiles your recipes are going to bring him. Thank you so much.

    1. Wow Pam! You really blew me away with that. I often will ask myself why I started this whole journey and if I should continue. Then I open up my page and find comments like this. This is exactly why I continue doing this. It brings my heart and soul so much joy when I hear of nice people sharing their love through food. That was one of the ways my parents shared their love with us. God Bless You and Prayers for you and your father-in-law.

      1. Just made the pineapple empanadas yesterday with my hubby. We substituted lard for shortening and used a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. The crust was like a hard pie crust and the filling was delicious! You can taste the spices really well. We’ll have to try the gorditas con azucar next. Thanks for posting these recipes! Now I won’t be blowing four dollars on four pan dulces every week at the tienda :-).

  6. Just made these yesterday with my sweet hubby. We substituted lard for shortening and used a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. They were delicious! We will have to try to the gorditas de azucar next. Thanks for posting these recipes! I’ve been spending too much money on pan dulces at the tienda!

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