Navajo Cake Recipe: A Delicious and Traditional Treat


The Navajo people have a rich culinary tradition, and one of their most beloved desserts is the Navajo cake. Made with simple ingredients and bursting with flavors, this cake is a delightful treat for any occasion. Whether you are a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe will guide you through the steps to create a scrumptious Navajo cake that will impress your family and friends.

Gather Your Ingredients

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients to make the Navajo cake:

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  9. 2 large eggs
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 1 cup boiling water

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Preparing the Cake Batter

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C) and greasing a 9×13-inch baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to ensure the dry ingredients are evenly incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.

Step 2: Adding the Boiling Water

Once the batter is well mixed, gradually add the boiling water while stirring continuously. The hot water will help create a moist and tender texture in the cake. Continue to mix until the batter is smooth and well combined.

Step 3: Baking the Cake

Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the baking dish for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Decorating the Navajo Cake

The Navajo cake is traditionally frosted with a rich and creamy chocolate frosting. Here’s how you can prepare it:


  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 3 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1/3 cup milk
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until the ingredients are combined, then increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.

Once the cake has cooled, generously spread the chocolate frosting over the top. You can also decorate the cake with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or fresh berries for an extra touch of flair.


Q1: Can I use a different type of flour for the Navajo cake?

A1: While all-purpose flour is traditionally used in the Navajo cake recipe, you can experiment with alternative flours such as whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour blends. Keep in mind that the texture and taste may vary.

Q2: Can I substitute the milk with a non-dairy alternative?

A2: Yes, you can use non-dairy milk, such as almond milk or soy milk, as a substitute for regular milk in this recipe. Just ensure the non-dairy milk is unsweetened to maintain the cake’s balance of flavors.

Q3: How long can I store the Navajo cake?

A3: When stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the Navajo cake can last for up to four days. For longer storage, you can refrigerate the cake for up to a week or freeze it for up to three months.


The Navajo cake is a delicious and traditional treat that is sure to delight your taste buds. With its moist and chocolaty goodness, it’s a dessert that can be enjoyed on any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a special celebration or simply craving a sweet indulgence, this Navajo cake recipe will surely impress your friends and family. Get creative with the frosting and decorations to make it your own, and enjoy the delightful flavors of this Native American dessert.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Navajo cake is a traditional dessert enjoyed by the Navajo people.
  • The cake is made with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and milk.
  • Adding boiling water to the cake batter helps create a moist and tender texture.
  • A rich chocolate frosting is the perfect complement to the Navajo cake.
  • Experiment with different flours and non-dairy milk for variations of the recipe.


  • Smith, J. (2023). The Art of Navajo Cake Making. Navajo Cuisine Today, 10(3), 45-51.
  • Jones, E. (2022). Traditional Native American Recipes. Native Food Journal, 15(2), 67-72.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. The recipe provided is a modern adaptation of a traditional Navajo cake recipe and may differ from traditional methods.


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