Chaja cake is the famous lucious and naughty cake of Uruguay. Layers of sponge cake, peaches, dulce de leche , meringue and cream make this cake the perfect treat for any celebration. Might look a little bit complicated to make but if you follow all the steps of my recipe, you’ll achieve the perfect celebration cake ever! Plus, you can use canned peaches, perfect option for winter when fresh peaches aren’t available.
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You can make this cake into 3 6-inch cake pans (your cake will look tall like mine) OR
Use a 8 -inch round cake pan with high edges and then you cut 3 layers
For the meringue
3 egg whites, at room temperature – very important
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the cake
5 eggs, at room temperature- very important
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted . If you can’t find cake flour, use all-purpose flour
a tiny bit of butter and flour to prepare your pans
For the filling and frosting
1 can of peaches . I bought a can of 29 oz.
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, very very cold
1 cup powdered sugar
1 can of dulce de leche
For the meringue
This step can be done one day before you make the cake. Meringues have to bake in low temperature for about 2 hours and then cool off completely so we can use them. If you don’t feel like making your own meringues, you can buy them at the store (Trader Joe’s has them).
1.- Preheat oven to 210 F.
2.- Grab a pencil/pen and trace a circle of the same size of the pan you will use on parchment paper, turn it over and place it on a baking sheet.
3.- Mix the egg whites into a bowl of a mixer. Add in salt and cream of tartar. Mix in low speed until it looks foamy, this will take one or two minutes.
4.- Then, add your sugar gradually and in high speed beat the mixture until it’s glossy and you can see peaks, this will take about 5 minutes. Be careful to not overmix .
5. When your mixture is stiff and shinny, fold in your powdered sugar with a spatula. Be very very gentle while doing this.
6.-Using a plain pastry tip and a pastry bag, pipe meringue in a circular motion around the circle you draw on parchment paper. Single layer, not too thick.
7.- Also, pipe small meringues . For this, I used Wilton 1 M tip.
8.- Bake for 2 hours BUT during the last 5 minutes increase the heat to 270F and finish baking.
9.- Take out the baking sheet from the oven and let the meringues cool completely. They should be hard and slightly toasted.
For the cake
1.- Preheat oven to 400 F.
Prepared your pans: Flour and butter your pan(s), bottom and sides. Also, line the bottom(s) with parchment paper.
2.- If you have a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment, if you have a hand mixer just use your regular beaters. Add the eggs into a bowl and mix for 1 minute. Add in the granulated sugar in slow motion and beat in high speed until the mixture whitens and triples in volume. This process will take max. 5 minutes. Now, sift the flour on top of the egg-sugar mixture and using a spatula fold the flour very gently.
3.- Pour batter into your pan. If using 3 pans, divide the batter evenly.
4.- Time to bake!
*If using 8 inch high pan: Bake for 12 minutes with 400 F. Then, lower the temperature to 350 F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
*If using 3 6-inch cake pans: Bake for 10 minutes with 400 F. Then, lower the temperature to 345 F and continue baking for another 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
IMPORTANT: All ovens are different, so please keep in mind that because this is a sponge cake, they bake fast and you have to keep an eye of it.
Let them cool competly.
For the filling/frosting cream
1.- Place your cream into the freezer for 20-30 minutes before you start making the frosting. Also, place your bowl and whisk attachment/beaters in the fridge.
2.- When ready to start making the frosting, take out the cream from your freezer, pour it into your chilled bowl and mix for one minute.
3.- Add the powdered sugar and mix in high speed until the mixture reaches high peaks.
Now, it’s time to put this cake together:
1.- Place one layer on a cake dish. Poke some holes on the top using a fork, just some holes, not too many. Then, brush some syrup (from your canned peaches) and let it soak for 2 minutes. Spread some dulce the leche on the top, about 1/2 cup if making a 6 inch or 3/4-1 cup if using an 8 inch cake pan. I love dulce de leche so I always want a good amount in my cakes.
2.- Place the second layer on the top and poke some holes using a fork, brush some peach syrup on the top, let it soak for 2 minutes. Then, cover with a generous layer of the cream. Sprinkle some diced peaches on the top. Place the meringue disk and press down lightly.
8.- Spread some cream on the top of the meringue disk and cover it with some diced peaches.
9.- Place the third layer on the top. Press down slightly . Cover the top and sides of the cake with the leftover cream.
10.- Place cake in the fridge and let it chill for 1 hour.
11.- After 1 hour, crush all the small meringues and stick them to the frosting, specially all the sides. Place the cake back into the fridge and let it set for about 4 hours.
12.- Before serving, Decorate with more peaches, cherries and more crushed meringues or you can make cream dollops like you can see in my picture. I used the tip Wilton 1 M.
13.- Slice and enjoy!
After serving, keep the rest of the cake in the fridge.
If you have any question about this recipe, send an email to email@example.com