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!
- 400 g tin sliced peaches in juice
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tbsp peach-flavoured liqueur or schnapps
- 300 ml thickened cream
- 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
- 2 x 20 cm sponge cakes
- 225 g (¾ cup) dulce de leche, warmed gently to a spreadable consistency
- 2 egg whites
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 2 hours (optional)
Cooling time 1 hour
Preparation and cooking times include Anneka's sponge cake recipe.
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.
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 2.5 cm in diameter and 2 cm 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).
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.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or a balloon whisk to whisk the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
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.
• 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.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Kerrie Ray.
For more recipes, view our online column, Bakeproof: Latin American cakes.