Anna Olson’s Nacho Cornbread Layer Cake

A slice of Anna Olson's Nacho Cornbread layer cake.
Baking Wisdom
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
25 min

This surprising cornbread cake is layered with a chili cheese filling and salsa and then the entire cake is covered with a guacamole “frosting” with shredded lettuce on top. Every bite has all the flavours of a platter of nachos, but in a beautiful layer cake.

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Excerpted from Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker (with 150+ Recipes) by Anna Olson. Copyright © 2023 Olson Food Concepts Inc. Photography by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.




cups all-purpose flour
cups cornmeal
cup granulated sugar
Tbsp baking powder
tsp chili powder
tsp fine salt
cups 2% milk
large eggs
cup sour cream
cup unsalted butter, melted

Chili cheese filling

cups coarsely grated Cheddar cheese
cup sour cream
green onions, thinly sliced
Tbsp chili powder

Guacamole frosting

large ripe avocados
oz cream cheese, softened
Tbsp fresh lime juice
cloves garlic, minced
cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper

To serve

cup store-bought tomato salsa
cups shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Step 2

Make the cornbread. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, chili powder and salt together in a mixing bowl to blend. Add the milk, eggs and sour cream and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter and pour the batter into the pan. Bake the cornbread for about 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the bread comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Step 3

Make the chili cheese filling. Beat the cheddar with the sour cream, green onions and chili powder until well bound (the grated cheese may break down a little). Set aside.

Step 4

Make the guacamole. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh into a food processor. Add the cream cheese, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and green onions and pulse until smooth. Season to taste and set aside. If the guacamole seems soft, chill it for an hour before using.

Step 5

Assemble the cake. Carefully place a cornbread layer on a platter or cake stand. Spread half of the cheese filling over the top, spreading to level it. Top with a third of the salsa, spreading it almost to the outside edge. Place the second cornbread layer on top and repeat with the remaining half of the cheese filling and a third of the salsa. Place the last cornbread layer on top and press gently to ensure the cake is level. Cornbread is more fragile than sweet cake layers, so handle the layers gently as you stack them.

Step 6

Frost and decorate the cake. Dollop and spread enough guacamole on the top of the cake to reach the sides, spreading to level it. If you wish, you can spread guacamole on the sides of the cake to cover the cake completely, or use a cake scraper to pull away excess guacamole, revealing the cornbread and cheese layers (naked cake style). Scoop some guacamole into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe decor detail around the top edge of the cake. Spread the remaining salsa within this piping and crown the top of the cake with the shredded lettuce. Chill the cake for at least 3 hours before serving.

The cake will keep, loosely wrapped, in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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