Peach Meringue Cake (El Postre Chaja)

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Prep 1hr15min (+2hr chilling and 1hr cooling time)Bake 1hr20minMakes 10 serves

This blissful combination of sponge cake, cream, meringue, dulce de leche and peaches takes its name from a native Uruguayan bird – apparently the meringues resemble the features of a chaja bird. I must admit I find it hard to see the resemblance and feel this wonderful cake has been dealt a slight disservice in its naming!


400g tin sliced peaches in juice
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
2 tablespoons peach-flavoured liqueur or schnapps
300ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
2 x 20cm sponge cakes
225g (¾ cup) dulce de leche, warmed gently to a spreadable consistency
    2 egg whites
    110g (½ cup) caster sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence


      1. To make the meringues, preheat oven to 110°C. Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir with a spatula until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is heated through.
      2. Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk with an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until very thick and glossy and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Spoon the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a plain 1 cm nozzle. Pipe small 'kisses' about 2.5cm in diameter and 2cm apart on the lined tray. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until the meringue is crisp and hard to touch, but not coloured. Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar and cool completely in the oven (this will take about 1 hour).
      3. Drain the peach slices, reserving 100ml of the juice. Set the peach slices aside. Combine the reserved juice in a small saucepan with the sugar and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the peach-flavoured liqueur or schnapps.
      4. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or a balloon whisk to whisk the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
      5. To assemble the cake, turn the sponge layers upside down and brush with half the peach syrup. Turn the sponges right side up and brush with the remaining syrup. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread with half the dulce de leche. Spread with half of the whipped cream. Crumble over about 12 of the meringues and then top with the reserved peach slices. Cover with the remaining sponge layer. Spread the top with the remaining dulce de leche and then the remaining cream. Decorate the top with the remaining meringues. Serve immediately.

      Baker's Tips

      • The assembled cake, without the meringues on top, will keep in the fridge for up to 3 hours before serving. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

      This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Latin American Cakes.

      CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

      Photography by Alan Benson.