An epicurean adventure to: Argentina
Chocotorta is a delectable no-bake chocolate dessert that holds a special place in Argentinean cuisine.
This delicious cake is made with chocolate biscuits, dulce de leche (or Carnation caramel), cream cheese and strong coffee.
The significance of chocolate in this dessert is emphasised by its name, Chocotorta, which translates to 'chocolate cake' in Spanish. It's the most Argentinian of cakes and is often served at birthday celebrations.
With its layers of creamy filling and coffee-soaked biscuits, Chocotorta is like a cross between tiramisu and cheesecake, but with fewer steps and less hassle.
Argentina - Fast facts
|Argentina is located in the southern part of South America. It is bordered by Chile to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast and Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east.
|The official language of Argentina is Spanish. However, due to its diverse cultural heritage, other languages such as Italian, German, and indigenous languages are also spoken by minority communities.
|Circa 45 million people.
|The tango and football aren't the only passions in Argentina. The country also has a vibrant theatre scene. Buenos Aires is known as the "Broadway of South America" with numerous theatres and a thriving performing arts community.
What's to love about this recipe
- With just four basic ingredients, this Argentinian Chocotorta recipe is delightfully easy to make.
- It's the perfect solution for when you're pressed for time and can't spend hours baking a cake.
- The best part? This dessert gets better with time, so you can prepare it in advance and it will taste even better.
- The impressive layering effect is sure to wow your guests and make it a hit at any party.
- For a more child-friendly version, simply dip the biscuits in milk instead of coffee.
- To add a touch of sophistication, dip the biscuits in liqueur for a more adult twist.
Key ingredients and substitutions
*Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients.
We recommend using full fat cream cheese as it enhances the indulgent flavour and texture of the tart.
Dulce de leche
If jars of dulce de leche are available in your nearby supermarkets, you can use them, but if not, Carnation caramel can be used as a suitable alternative. Or, make your own! See below.
How to make dulce de leche the easy way:
- Remove the label from a can of sweetened condensed milk. Make sure there are no dents or punctures in the can.
- Place the can in a large pot and fill the pot with water until it completely covers the can. Make sure the water level is at least an inch above the top of the can.
- Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the can simmer for 2 to 3 hours. The longer you cook the condensed milk, the thicker and darker the dulce de leche will be.
- Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully remove the can from the pot and let it cool to room temperature. Do not open the can while it's still hot.
- Once the can has cooled down, use a can opener to open it. The condensed milk should have turned into a thick, caramel-coloured sauce.
- Transfer the dulce de leche to a container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks
- You can also do this in a pressure cooker. It will need to be cooked for 30-40 minutes from when the pot comes up to pressure.
Plain chocolate cookies
The traditional recipe for Chocotorta is made with Chocolinas cookies. They are Argentine chocolate cookies with a rich cocoa flavour and a slightly crunchy texture.
You won't easily find them outside of Argentina, so you can use any plain chocolate biscuit of similar texture from your grocery store, like chocolate maria cookies.
You can even use sandwiched chocolate biscuits like Bourbons or Oreas. Simply separate the biscuits and scrape the filling off.
We use Bourbons for our Chocotorta. For four layers of cookies, we used between 3-4 packs of Bourbons.
Top tip: To prevent breaking the chocolate biscuits sandwiched with icing, microwave the biscuits on a plate for 30 seconds on high. This softens the icing, making it easier to separate the biscuits and scrape off the icing.
We use freshly brewed strong, cold coffee in our tart. Make the coffee slightly stronger than you would for drinking.
If you're making it for kids, dip the biscuits in milk instead. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try adding a splash of Kahlua, or your favourite liqueur for a grown-up flavour.
The serving dish
You will need a dish or baking tin of 20cm x 20cm (8'' x 8''). If you'd like to remove the tart from the dish before serving, you will need to use a loose-bottomed cake pan.
How to make Chocotorta cake - Quick summary
It's as easy as 1-2-3!
- Beat the cream cheese until creamy.
- Mix in the dulce de leche until well combined.
- Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
- Start layering by placing a single layer of coffee-soaked biscuits, followed by a thin layer of dulce de leche mixture.
- Repeat the process, ending with a layer of the dulce de leche mixture.
- Cover with plastic wrap or aluminium foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
- We prefer using the cream cheese straight from the fridge, it makes the filling a bit firmer and easier to control during the layering process.
- When it comes to serving, there's no need to remove the tart from its dish, unless you intentionally used a loose-bottomed cake pan for this reason.
Displaying the layers is impressive but not necessary. Slicing and serving directly from the dish is equally good.
- To ensure a neat and sturdy tart, it's important to pack each cookie layer tightly in the dish. Gaps on the sides can lead to filling leakage and sagging edges.
So, be sure to press the biscuits firmly into place, creating a snug fit for each layer. This will result in a beautifully assembled and structurally sound tart.
- If you want the tart to look perfect, it can be helpful to weigh out the filling for each layer. This recipe yields 1kg of filling, which can be divided into four dulce de leche layers of approximately 250g each, or five thinner layers of around 200g each (but you might struggle to spread it that thin).
If you're doing four layers, it's recommended to use slightly less than 250g per layer to account for the small amounts left on beaters or in the bowl. And, let's admit it, a few tastes along the way to ensure perfection might have happened too! *Wink wink*.
- For perfect slices, a useful trick is to dip a sharp knife in hot water, dry it off, and then use it to slice the tart. The heat helps to smoothly cut through the layers without causing them to crumble or stick to the knife.
Just remember to wipe the knife clean and repeat the process for each slice to maintain clean cuts.
Ways to decorate your Chocotorta
- Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder or grated chocolate.
If you are dusting it with cocoa powder, don't do it until the very last minute before serving it. In our experience, the cocoa powder will draw moisture from the tart very quickly, making it look 'wet' instead of 'dusty'.
- Top with fresh berries or sliced fruit.
- Pipe whipped heavy cream or whipped chocolate ganache on top of the tart.
- Drizzle with caramel or chocolate sauce.
- Sprinkle with chopped nuts or chocolate shavings.
- Arrange chocolate curls or chocolate decorations on top of the cake.
- Add a sprinkle of sea salt or edible glitter for some extra sparkle.
Nutella Chocotorta - Use Nutella instead of dulce de leche to make a hazelnut-flavoured version of the cake.
Strawberry Chocotorta - Add a layer of sliced strawberries between the biscuit layers to give the cake a fruity twist.
Mint Chocotorta - Add a few drops of mint extract to the cream cheese mixture for a refreshing, minty flavour.
Cookies and Cream Chocotorta - Use crushed Oreo cookies instead of plain chocolate biscuits for a cookie and cream version of the cake.
Coconut Chocotorta - Mix shredded coconut into the cream cheese mixture for a tropical twist on the cake.
Individual cakes - Make these into mini cakes by layering the ingredients into individual bowls.
Any leftover Chocotorta can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
Interestingly, the flavours tend to meld together and reach their peak around day 2, making it even more delicious. That's why making it ahead of time can be quite convenient.
More chocolate recipes
Chocotorta - Argentinian chocolate birthday cake
- 500 grams cream cheese
- 500 grams dulce de leche - or Carnation caramel
- 750 grams plain chocolate biscuits - If you only have chocolate biscuits with a filling, like Bourbons (UK), separate the biscuits and scrape the filling off. See notes in blog post
- 250 millilitre freshly brewed coffee
- cocoa powder for dusting - optional
- Line a 20cm x 20cm (8'' x 8'') dish with baking paper. Leave a slight overhang on all sides. This will make it easier to lift the tart out later.If you don't want to lift the tart from it's dish, you can skip the baking paper and just serve the tart directly from it's dish.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy.
- Add the dulce de leche, or caramel, to the cream cheese. Beat together for 1-2 minutes, or until well combined.
- Dip a chocolate biscuit in the coffee and place it in the bottom of the dish. Repeat the process until you have a good solid layer of coffee soaked biscuits across the base. You might have to break some of the biscuits to fill any gaps.
- For four layers, spoon a quarter (250g) of the dulce de leche mixture onto the biscuit layer and spread it out across the base. Make sure to fill in all the corners too.
- Repeat the first step by soaking and placing another later of biscuits on top of the dulce de leche layer. Spread another layer of the filling. Repeat twice more, ending with a layer of the dulce de leche filling.
- Place the tart in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours. Overnight is better.**Tip: The tart is really at it's very best after 2 days
- Carefully lift the tart out of the baking dish and place it on a serving plate. You can also serve the tart directly from the dish.
- Optional: Dust the surface with cocoa powder just before serving.
**Nutritional data disclaimer**
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is calculated by a third party and we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We try our best to give you the most accurate information, but we do not take responsibility for errors that may be present. Also, the nutritional value of the recipe may change depending on the exact brands and products used. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised advice on your dietary needs.