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Torta Chaja (Chaja Cake)

A single slice of torta Chaja on a dessert plate.
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Torta Chaja or Postre Chaja Uruguayo is made with soft and fluffy layers of sponge cake, smooth Chantilly cream, rich dulce de leche, and a light and airy meringue topping. This cake is perfect for any celebration.

Ingredients

Scale

For the sponge cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (120 g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 4 1/2 tablespoons (120 g) all-purpose flour

For soaking:

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) canned peach syrup

For Chantilly cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (355 g) heavy cream, 30% fat
  • 2 tablespoons (15 g ) icing (powdered) sugar

For filling and decoration:

  • 5.3 oz. (150 g) meringue
  • 8.8 oz. (250 g) drained canned peaches
  • 8.6 oz. (245 g) dulce de leche

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge cake,  preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Brush an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan with melted butter, flour it, and refrigerate the prepared mold. 
  2. Beat eggs with granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a hand whisk. Bring the bowl over a bain-marie or water bath to warm the mixture to 104°F (40°C), whisking constantly. 
  3. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie or water bath. Whisk the egg mixture with an electric or stand mixer for 10-15 minutes until the volume is tripled and the ribbon stage is achieved. Just lift a small amount of batter with the whisk. The ribbon stage is reached if the batter falls and the pattern maintains its shape for at least 3-4 seconds. 
  4. Sift the flour in a few additions and gently mix with a rubber spatula, working from the bottom to the top, slightly rotating the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the doneness of the cake with a toothpick or a cake tester: it should come out clean out of the center of the cake. 
  5. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the switched oven (keep the door slightly open using a wooden spoon) to prevent deflating the sponge cake. Remove the sponge from the oven, and let it cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan by flipping it upside down and cool it on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake back and allow to cool completely. 
  6. To make the Chantilly cream, chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Pour the cold heavy cream into the bowl and beat at low speed for a minute. Continue to beat, reaching the soft peaks. 
  7. Add icing sugar and continue whisking. Gradually speed up the mixer and beat the cream through medium to stiff peaks. Check the cream's consistency each 3-5 seconds to avoid over-whisking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
  8. To assemble the cake, strain canned peaches and let them drain on a paper towel. Then cut peaches into 1/2 inches (about 1 cm) small cubes. Reserve the syrup. 
  9. Warm up dulce de leche in a bain marine or water bath. Break the meringue into medium and large enough pieces (you will need both sizes of the crushed meringue).
  10. Place the first sponge layer on a serving plate or a cake board and soak it with peach syrup using a pastry brush. Next, spread a layer of dulce de leche and sprinkle with medium-sized crushed meringue.
  11. Place the second layer of the cake, and press it down gently but firmly with your hands to make sure it sticks to the first layer. Soak it with the syrup. Spread 1/3 of the Chantilly cream and place the diced peaches, reserving a small amount for decorating.
  12. Place the third cake layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with the cream. Top the entire cake with the crushed pieces of meringue. Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining peach slices. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

Notes

  1. Consult the recipes for classic sponge cake and creme Chantilly for step-by-step photographed explanations, helpful tips, and tricks.
  2. To ensure a neat application of dulce de leche, use a pastry bag with a cut tip (about 1/5 inches (5 mm) diameter). Pipe a spiral from the center of the cake layer.
  3. Ensure to lightly press each new layer to maintain adherence to the preceding layer.
  4. Make-ahead option: Prepare sponge cake in the evening, wrap it with cling film, and store it at room temperature. The next day, whip the cream and assemble the cake.

Nutrition

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