Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake

Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake

Eva 23 julio, 2021
Este post también está disponible en Spanish

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog… It is not because I have you in oblivion, far from it. The reason for my absence is a good cause that I hope to be able to share with you when summer comes back. It is also true that I needed to rest a little and, despite not taking a real vacation or going away for a few days, I decided to stop a little on the blog to have some more time. Although not too much, I’m not going to lie to you, hahaha.

I owe the recipe that I bring you today to a reader, a thousand thanks Irene for letting me know about it, and it is thanks to her that today you all have it on the blog to enjoy it too. Irene wanted to surprise her boyfriend, who is from Uruguay, by making his favorite dessert, Torta Chajá. So I looked for several recipes to see the process, to know it and to be able to adapt it to what I thought would give a good result. I hope you like it, you and your boyfriend, as well as all of you.

Lately I receive many emails and messages in which you write to me asking for recipes. Although I still have to reply to many of you, I read all of you. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the suggestions you send me. I hope to get rid of everything soon and be able to answer you all, even if it’s late, I will do it for sure 🙂

Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake

On the other hand, when I saw this amazing cake I thought it would be the perfect cake to celebrate my birthday (which by the way is today!). So in this year, so crazy and weird that we have and are going through, I blow out the candles with all of you and this wonderful Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake.

It’s amazing how fast the years go by. It seems like I just blew out last year’s and I’m already doing it again, hahaha. I would like to think that this feeling is because I am enjoying life, my time and for that reason the years go by in a blink of an eye.

Torta Chajá origin.

This cake originated in Uruguay and was invented on April 27, 1927 by Orlando Castellano, owner of “Las Familias” Confectionery in the department of Paysandú. This dessert is consumed in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and USA.

The recipe for this cake, like that of many elaborations, is secret. It is not known with certainty how it is made, only the elements that compose it. That is why many people try to elaborate a recipe that resembles it. This cake consists of layers of sponge cake in which meringue, Chantilly cream and fruit are interspersed. It is also common to find, especially in Argentina, dulce de leche among the filling ingredients. To accompany the Chantilly it is usually used peach, although it is also common to make it with pineapple or strawberries.

It seems that even the people who work in the factory do not know the original recipe. Only family members know what they are. The workers are divided by elaborations, so that each section is in charge of one of them, but they do not know how the rest are made. It is a cake that, to this day, is still made by hand.

The name of the cake comes from a bird.

Its name arose anecdotally relating the dessert to a bird native to Uruguay, the chajá (Southern screamer). It is a bird with abundant grayish plumage and a light body, hence the similarities with the characteristics of the dessert. It is a member of a family of birds exclusive to South America and is related to swans and geese, although at first glance it does not resemble either group.

They are easy to domesticate and are used as guardians on ranches in South America, from Colombia to Uruguay. Their wings have hard, sharp spurs used as weapons and, in the face of danger, they emit a loud screeching sound.

Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake
Making the cake.

Although it is a cake that requires certain steps, it is a cake that can be prepared in one morning. As long as we leave the sponge cakes baked the night before along with the meringues. In my case, I usually have a tupper full of dried meringues. Whenever I have a very large surplus of egg whites, I prepare dried meringues in different ways; with several tips, like cords…. It is a very versatile element that we can use in many elaborations. And they last in perfect condition for a long time, as long as they are well dried.

The process of the cake is quite simple; cut sponge cakes and arrange two types of fillings. Dulce de leche and mascarpone cream (cream + mascarpone cheese), although it is originally Chantilly that is used. With the hot weather, whipped cream does not hold up so well, so that is the reason why I leave this cream, so that it supports much better the high temperatures, in addition to providing body and softness to the final result.

To moisten the cakes I decided to use the syrup from the peaches. That way we can flavor them and not waste the syrup.

The decoration is very easy to carry out, we only have to cover the outside, smooth or texturize it and decorate the surface. It is a cake that will not leave anyone indifferent, I assure you. Its flavor is very soft, delicate and the texture is formidable.

Layers of very moist sponge cake accompanied by two types of cream that combine very well with each other. To compensate for the sweetness of dulce de leche and meringue, which is very high, I decided to reduce a lot the sugar in the mascarpone cream. The fruit not only adds a fresh flavor, but also gives it a fleshy texture, something that is much appreciated in every bite. For me, peaches are the perfect choice to combine with the rest of the elements, but if you wish you can use strawberries or pineapple, which are two other options with which it is usually made.

Recipe Torta Chajá

Ingredients for a cake of 18 cm in diameter

VANILLA SPONGE CAKE (we will make 2 units):

This quantity yields 2 cakes of 18 cm in diameter and the height shown in the video.

  • 300 g pastry/cake flour
  • 180 g sugar
  • 225 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225 g eggs, about 4 large eggs
  • 180 g whole milk
  • 14 g baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • 250 g heavy cream, cold
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese, cold
  • 65 g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 350 g heavy cream,cold
  • 200 g mascarpone cheese,cold
  • 70 g icing sugar


  • 200 g peaches in syrup, cut into small squares
  • 350-400 g dulce de leche
  • dried meringues
  • gold metallic powder coloring


  • Two 18 cm round cake molds
  • KitchenAid or stand mixer
  • rotating cake stand
  • cake base/disc
  • cake cutter
  • curved pastry spatula
  • silicone spatula
  • smoother and icing comb (optional)
  • pastry bags + 18 mm Saint Honoré tip




Make the sponge cakes.
  1. Preheat oven to 320ºF/160ºC.
  2. Grease two 18 cm pan, with butter. Sprinkle flour, remove the excess and set aside.
  3. Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl add the eggs together with the vanilla and milk, whisk until the mixture is homogenized.
  5. In the bowl of the KA or of a stand mixer, add the butter together with the sugar. Beat with the flat beater at medium speed, until a creamy, aerated and white texture is achieved.
  6. Begin to integrate the dry ingredients alternating them with the liquids.
  7. Add 1/3 of the egg mixture and beat at the lowest speed for a few seconds. Stop, lower the mixture from the sides and add 1/3 more of the dry ingredient mixture. Mix again at low speed for a few seconds.
  8. Repeat the same process with the rest of the egg whites and dry ingredients mixture. Mix at low speed only until the mixture is homogenized.
  9. Pour the mixture into 2 moulds and place in the oven at medium height.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until you prick it with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  11. Remove and let stand 5 minutes in the pan.
  12. Unmold and allow to cool a little on a wire rack.
  13. Wrap in plastic wrap, still warm, and refrigerate until the next day.


Make mascarpone cream (filling).
  • Cream must be cold 24 hours before used it.
  • The bowl in which we are going to make whipped cream must be cold (recommended).
  1. Pour heavy cream along with mascarpone cheese and icing sugar into a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer into low speed.
  2. Increase speed gradually but without reaches high one. Ideally use medium speed.
  3. Before finish to beat the cream, add vanilla extract and whisk until get a perfect whipping cream. Be sure not to over-beat, otherwise cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until used it.
Cut sponge cakes.
  1. With the help of a cake cutter, remove the upper dome of the cakes and divide each one into two equal parts. To make the cake we will need 3 discs of sponge cake, so we can eat the leftover one while preparing the cake ;)
Assemble Torta Chajá.
  1. Place a non-slip surface on a cake stand and place a cake disc on top of it.
  2. Spread some dulce de leche on the disc and place the first sponge cake on it. Press gently.
  3. Soak the sponge cake with syrup. In my case I used the same syrup in which the peaches are in syrup.
  4. Place a generous layer of dulce de leche on the first sponge cake. Smooth with the help of a spatula.
  5. Chop the dried meringues and place them over dulce de leche covering the entire surface.
  6. Place another disc of sponge cake and press gently.
  7. Moisten again with the syrup.
  8. Pipe mascarpone cream filling over the sponge cake and smooth with a spatula. We will use almost all the cream for the filling, reserving only a small amount to cover the outside of the cake with a very thin layer.
  9. Place the peaches in syrup on top of the mascarpone cream.
  10. Finally, place the last disc of sponge cake. Press gently and moisten with syrup.
Cover the cake with the cream.
  1. Using a curved spatula, spread the mascarpone cream to cover the gaps between each layer of sponge cake.
  2. Use the remaining mascarpone cream to cover the outside of the cake. It will be a very thin layer that will help us to collect the possible crumbs of the sponge cakes.
  3. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Make mascarpone cream (outside decoration).
  • Cream must be cold 24 hours before used it.
  • The bowl in which we are going to make whipped cream must be cold (recommended).
  1. Pour heavy cream along with mascarpone cheese and icing sugar into a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer into low speed.
  2. Increase speed gradually but without reaches high one. Ideally use medium speed.
  3. Before finish to beat the cream, add vanilla extract and whisk until get a perfect whipping cream. Be sure not to over-beat, otherwise cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until used it.
Finish decorating the cake.
  1. Cover the outside of the cake with a layer of mascarpone cream. Spread with a curved spatula and smooth with the help of a cake smoother.
  2. If you wish, you can use an icing comb to give texture or relief to the outside of the cake. We will slide over the surface while turning the cake stand.
  3. Decorate the bottom half with chopped dried meringues. To help fix them, press gently with a curved spatula.
  4. Put the rest of the cream into a piping bag with a Saint Honoré tip and decorate the upper part. You can follow the same pattern that I have left in the video or use another of your choice.
  5. Finish decorating the cake with small pieces of peaches in syrup and sprinkle with metallic gold powder coloring.
  6. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving.
    Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake


  • The baking time for each cake will vary depending on the size of the pan you use. In my case I used two 18 cm diameter pans, I did it this way to reduce the baking time. If we decide to bake all the dough in a single mold, we will have to extend the baking time.
  • Covering the cake with plastic wrap when it is still warm and refrigerating it guarantees that the final texture will be very moist. This is the first time I make it and I have been very surprised with the result. I have made this cake many times and it is very good, but following this process, we achieve a greater moistness and a very soft texture.
    Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake
  • Refrigerate the sponge cake overnight, it helps them to be firm and easier to handle.
  • In my case I have used the same syrup in which the peaches are in syrup, so that it provides a light peach aroma. But if we wish, we can prepare a syrup at home and flavor it with some liqueur; Bourbon, rum...
  • If you want to prepare the peaches in syrup at home, you can follow the same process I left you to prepare apricots in syrup.
  • The inside and outside cream is made with mascarpone and cream. The final texture is very creamy and denser than if it is made with cream only (traditionally it is made with a Chantilly, whipped cream with vanilla), besides having a soft and wonderful flavor. In case you don't like cheese, you can omit it and decorate the surface with whipped cream or Chantilly only.
  • I have made two mascarpone creams with different amounts of cream and cheese. The one for the filling is more consistent as opposed to the one we will use for the outer decoration, which is softer.
  • In my case I used store-bought dulce de leche, but you can make it at home if you wish.
  • I have decorated the inside of the meringue with chopped dried meringues, but you can make a disc (of the same diameter as the cake) if you prefer. Once it is dry, place it on top of the dulce de leche instead of sprinkling with chopped dried meringues.
  • The cake can be kept refrigerated for 3-4 days.Torta Chajá, Uruguayan cake

Don't forget to take your slice of Torta Chajá with you before you go! And thank you, once again, for being by my side to celebrate another birthday. I always tell you, but it is you who make this possible and I can't be happier to have you in this beautiful adventure.

I take this opportunity to tell you that the weekly publications will return to 100% from September. If possible, I will leave you some recipes during these weeks. Although, most probably, many of you will be in disconnection mode and on vacation. I wish you a wonderful summer, enjoy, rest and live to the fullest to come back again at the end of summer.

Lots of love!

PS: All of you who are subscribed to my Newsletter, I hope you liked the change and new design! We have been working a lot on it and on the option that makes it possible for each of you to receive it in your chosen language, Spanish or English :D

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