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Recipe for Uruguayan chaja: the famous sponge cake from Uruguay

Recipe for Uruguayan chaja: the famous sponge cake from Uruguay

Chaja is the famous luscious and extremely naughty cake of Uruguay.

It is often described as a Uruguayan sponge cake filled with peaches and whipped cream.

This is our recipe for Uruguayan chaja from our friend Charles Santos who has an excellent restaurant in Rocha called Parador Puerta de Rocha.

Chaja was invented by Orlando Castellano, owner of a tearoom in Paysandú, Northern Uruguay in 1927. He prepared this very sweet concoction, invited his friend to try, who responded saying it was light and soft, just like the South American indigenous Chajá bird (also called silent screamer). The light, airy texture of the dessert resembles the fluffy exterior of the chajá bird.

Chaja bird Latin America inspired Uruguayan chaja cake

The cake is inspired by the appearance of the indigenous Latin American bird called Chajá


  • 14 eggs
  • 100g of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 700g of sugar
  • 500g of canned peaches in syrup
  • 500ml of whipped cream mixed
  • 6 tablespoons of sugar
Uruguayan chaja cake Charles and Seb

Seb with Chef Charles in Rocha modelling this very sexy freshly made Uruguayan chaja cake


1. Pre heat the over to 180 degrees celsius and grease 3 small round baking pans.

2. To prepare the 3 cake mixture layers: in a mixer, combine 6 eggs, 200g of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until the sugar dissolves. Then fold in 100g of flour.

3. Place the cake mixture into the 3 baking pans so that they are round and flat. These will form the 3 cakes layers of the chaja later. Bake for 7 minutes. When done, remove from oven, set the 3 cake layers aside and let them cool.

4. Reduce oven to 110 degrees celsius and prepare another greased baking pan to bake the meringue.

5. With the remaining 8 eggs, separate the egg whites and disregard the egg yolks. In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites well for at least 10 minutes to get them meringue like and very frothy. The test to see if they’re done is to turn the mixing bowl upside down: the meringue should not move.

6. Add 500g of sugar and whisk again for 2 more minutes.

7. Place the meringue mixture in the baking tray and bake for 1 hour. When finished, crush the meringue into small pieces and set aside.

8. Mix 500g of whipped cream with the 6 tablespoons of sugar.

9. Divide the canned peach and syrup into 3, ready to assemble the cake.

10. To assemble the cake, place the first cake layer on a plate and pour the first third of the peach syrup and lay the peaches on it, spread a third of the whipped cream mixture and finally a third of the crushed baked meringue.

11. Repeat this for the middle and top layers of the cake and cover the final cake with the remaining whipped cream and broken pieces of meringue.

This delicious cake goes down very well with our favourite Uruguayan alcoholic drink, the very sweet and yummy butia liquor:
Uruguayan chaja cake butia liquor

We love Butiá liquor: it’s sweet and the perfect compliment to a slice of chaja cake

For more inspiration:


Recipe for Uruguayan chaja cake by the Nomadic Boys

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Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born.

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