Recipe

Postre chajá cake

Postre chajá was created by the owner of a family restaurant in Uruguay. He called his meringue-based dessert 'chajá' after an indigenous bird of the same name, whose fluffy white neck and head plumage reminded him of the meringue. The ability to spot the resemblance seems to be unique to the cake's creator.

  • 2 hrs 45 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
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Ingredients

Postre chajá cake
  • 395 gram canned sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon warm water
  • 1/2 cup (75g) cake flour or plain flour
  • 1/4 cup (35g) cornflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 300 millilitre thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 120 grams bought meringues shells, crushed coarsely
  • 2 (160g) golden kiwifruit, peeled, cut into thin wedges
  • White edible flowers
Rum syrup
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons underproof rum

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced)
  • 2
    Pour condensed milk into a 1.5-litre (6-cup) ceramic ovenproof dish. Cover dish with foil; crush excess foil upwards. Place ceramic dish in a medium baking dish; add enough boiling water to baking dish to come halfway up side of the ceramic dish. Bake for 1 hour. Stir mixture; cover. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until a golden caramel colour, adding extra boiling water to baking dish as needed to maintain water level during cooking. Remove dish from water; cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until mixture is cold.
  • 3
    Reduce oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease two 20cm round sandwich cake pans. Line base and sides with baking paper; grease and lightly flour the paper.
  • 4
    Beat the egg yolks and ⅓ cup (75g) of the caster sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes or until thick and pale. Add extract and the warm water; beat until just incorporated. Sift flours over egg, mixture but don't stir in.
  • 5
    Beat egg whites in a large bowl of an electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining caster sugar, beating until firm peaks form.
  • 6
    Using a large balloon whisk or metal spoon, gently mix one-third of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture until starting to combine. Gently mix in remaining egg white mixture until just combined. Divide mixture evenly between pans; spin pans on a work surface to level mixture.
  • 7
    Bake cakes for 30 minutes, rotating and swapping cakes on shelves halfway through cooking time, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Carefully turn out cakes onto a wire rack; remove lining paper. Place cakes, top-side down, onto wire racks covered with greased baking paper. Cool.
Rum Syrup
  • 8
    Meanwhile, stir the sugar and the water in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat, without simmering, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in rum.
  • 9
    Level tops of cakes; split cakes in half. Place base of one cake on a cake plate, brush generously with syrup. Using a metal palette knife dipped in hot water, evenly spread one-third of the caramel on cake. Repeat the layering twice more with cake, syrup and caramel, finishing with the remaining cake.
  • 10
    Beat cream and sifted icing sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Spread cream thickly all over cake. Using cupped hands, press crushed meringue on top and side of cake. Top with kiwifruit and flowers.
  • 11
    Serve cake immediately or refrigerate, uncovered, for up to 4 hours.

Notes

For even cake layers, weigh the cake batter and put exactly half into each cake pan. Cake can be assembled without the cream, meringue and fruit, up to 2 days ahead.

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