This simple Uruguayan cake based on a light vanilla sponge with layers of toffee, covered with tender cream and crunchy meringues is very easy to make and it will surely compliment any tea party. It was created by the owner of one of numerous family restaurants in Uruguay. He called this dessert “chajá” after an indigenous bird of the same name, whose abundant white plumage reminded him of the meringue 🙂
Since over 80 years ago, when it was invented, the recipe for Postre Chajá Cake has always remained in the family, and the same family is still, third generation now, making this desert! In its origin, it was made with strawberries, but as they couldn’t be found fresh in Uruguay in certain months of the year, they decided to use peaches instead. Many times other people have tried to copy now there are a few variations of it now. One of them I will describe below 🙂
If you have store-bought ready toffee and meringues on hand, it shouldn’t take you longer than 1,5 hrs to make this cake. I’ve substituted peaches with mangoes here, but you also may pick any other fruit you like.
The recipe I’ve followed said it made 20 cm round cake. I used 15 cm cake pans for a taller cake. The cake can be assembled without the cream, meringues and fruit, wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge, up to 2 days ahead. 15 min. prior to serving, just frost the cake with the cream and decorate with meringues and fruit.
The recipe from Indulgent Cakes book.
– 6 eggs, separated
– 75+35 g/ ½ c sugar
– 1 t vanilla essence
– 2 t warm water
– 75 g/ ½ c all-purpose flour
– 35 g/ ¼ c cornflour (corn starch)
– pinch cream of tartar
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and 75 g/ ¹⁄³ sugar with a mixer for ~5 min. until thick, pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and water, beat again until just incorporated.
Sift both the flours over the yolk mixture but don’t stir in.
In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually, in small batches, add the sugar, continuing to whisk until stiff peaks from.
Using a spatula, gently mix in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into yolk mixture until starting to combine. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining egg white mixture.
Prepare 2 cake tins: line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/ 320ºF.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans (I had 260 g in each of the pans), carefully level the surface.
Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for ~30 min. (times may vary depending on the size of the pans) or until done.
Remove the pans from the oven, turn them top side down on a cooling rack and leave to cool. Remove the sponges from the pans, level down uneven tops (if any), split the sponges in half horizontally using a sharp knife.
– 55 g/ ¼ c sugar
– 60 ml/ ¼ c water
– 1 T rum or any other strong alcohol
Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan, set over low heat, without simmering, until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum.
– 300 g store-bought toffee
– 300 ml heavy cream
– 1 T icing sugar, sifted
– 120 g store-bought meringues (or you can make them at home using recipe from here), crushed
– 1 medium mango (or any other fruit of choice) for decorating
Beat the cream and icing sugar in a small bowl until medium peaks form.
Place the first sponge layer on a serving dish. Brush generously with the rum syrup. Evenly spread 1/3 (100 g) of the toffee. Brush the bottom of the next sponge layer with the rum syrup, place it over the first finished layer. Repeat the layers, finishing with the sponge.
Spread the whipped cream evenly all over the cake sides and top. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with the crushed meringues.
Peel the mango and slice it into thin long wedges. Top the cake with the mango wedges. Serve immediately. The cake is best eaten on the same day.