Nut Caramel Cake from Argentina: torta Balcarce for my Seventh Blog Birthday

Today I am going to introduce a speciality from Argentina: torta Balcarce or postre Balcarce. This cake consists of sponge cake layers, the caramel cream called dulce de leche, chopped marrons/sweet chestnuts (often replaced with walnuts), meringue, and whipping cream. The cake originated in the town Balcarce (hence the name). It was created by the pastry chef Guillermo Talou in 1950 and quickly became famous throughout the country. To the present day the town Balcarce celebrates a festival. One event is to actually assemble a gigantic cake and eat it. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to eat this cake when I went on holiday in Argentina in 2018. However, I figured, why not try making it at home in Germany? I decided to make this cake for my seventh blog anniversary, today exactly seven years ago my first blog post went online, so I wanted to celebrate with you with this delicious cake.

So once I served the first slice to my husband, he looked at me with big eyes and said that this cake made it to the top of his list. What, seriously? Once he had devoured a second slice, he mentioned that this cake would have been perfect for our wedding. When I inquired why, he said that it checks all the boxes, it is white, it looks gourgeous, and it does contain the peanut butter of Latin America, the caramel called dulce de leche. I was speechless and didn’t know what to say. I mean, he has tried an endless amount of cakes. I mean, for a year I practiced making a three-tiered wedding cake, so yeah, he has eaten his share of cakes. Amd of a recipe so out of the blue makes it to his top 10, this means somebthing. So I hope I can make you interested in this speciality from Argentina!

Torta Balcarce: Nut-Caramel Cake from Argentina

Serves: One 18cm/6 inch ∅ cake
Prep Time: 1hr Cooking Time: 30min Total Time: 1hr 30min

Torta Balcarce: This is a cake that consists of a sponge cake, dulce de leche, nuts, meringue and heavy cream. It is often served on special occasions.

Ingredients

  • Sponge Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 grams of regular sugar
  • 65 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 package vanilla pudding

  • Sugar Syrup
  • 30 grams of regular sugar
  • 30 grams of water

  • Filling
  • 100 grams of meringue, homemade or bought
  • 250g dulce de leche, homemade or bought
  • 100 grams of walnuts or pecans (you can replace with marron/sweet chestnuts)
  • 100g cooked marron/sweet chestnut (you can replace with walnuts/pecans)
  • 500 grams of heavy cream
  • 50 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Decoration
  • 50 grams of regular sugar

Instructions

1

You can see how I make the cake in this reel. For the sponge cake line the bottom of two 18cm springform pans with parchment paper, heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2

Separate the eggs into two bowls, add 50 grams of sugar to each. First beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Without cleaning the mixer, mix the egg yolks until thicker in consistency and paler in color, this takes a few minutes. Sieve flour and pudding on top of the egg yolks and add one third of the meringue. Mix this, then add the second third of the meringue. Once you fold in the last third, be sure to be careful, you don't want your meringue to deflate too much. Once you have a homogeneous batter, divide evenly into the two springforms and bake for about 25-30min. Let cool and then release from pan.

3

For the sugar syrup heat sugar with water until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

4

Beat 400 grams of heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla extract. Chop the walnuts and sweet chestnuts, rub the meringue between your fingers until you have crumbs. Then divide the cake layers so that you have four cake layers total. We will only need three cake layers, you can freeze the fourth layer or use it separately for e.g. cake pops.

5

Now we are going to assemble the cake. Place the springform around the first cake layer, then brush it with the sugar syrup. Spread half the dulce de leche on it, then sprinkle with half the nuts and meringue. Spread about five tablespoons of whipping cream on top. Then place the next cake layer on top and repeat procedure: syrup, dulce de leche, nuts, meringue, and whipping cream. Place the third cake layer on top upside down so that you have a straight edge. Chill the cake prepared like this for a few hours or overnight. Also chill the remaining whipping cream.

6

Release the cake from the springform the next day and be sure to frost with the remaining whipping cream. Now crush the remaining meringue into fine crumbs and pat on the side of the cake. I also did a ring on the top. For decoration melt the sugar on medium in a frying pan until you have amber caramel. Cover the remaining sweet chestnuts in it. Beat the remaining 100 grams of heavy cream. You will use it to pipe swirls on the top. Place one caramelized chestnut on each swirl. The cake will keep for a few days if chilled.

I find this elegant cake perfect for my seventh blog birthday. I already have more than 400 recipes on the blog, more than 70 are from Latin America. If you would like to see more Latin American recipes, check this out. Another Argentinian favorite is chocotorta, I have a recipe on the blog as well. So, have a slice of this delicious cake with me. For many more blogging years to come!

P.S.: Sponge cake, dulce de leche, whipping cream and meringue are a combo that is loved in Latin America. My hometown Paysandú in Uruguay is famous for its postre chajá, one main ingredient is peaches. I have successfully made this cake with canned peaches, so maybe you are also interested in making this delicious treat:

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Anne
    Thursday February 15th, 2024 at 10:03 AM

    Liebe Jenny
    Happy birthday zu deinem 7. Bloggeburtstag. Das ist etwas Besonderes. Geniess den Tag und feiere das Leben :-).
    Herzliche Grüsse aus der Schweiz
    Anne

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Thursday February 15th, 2024 at 10:54 AM

      Liebe Anne, ganz lieben Dank dir! Grüße, Jenny

  • Reply
    Lisa
    Wednesday April 3rd, 2024 at 04:23 PM

    Die Torte ist ein cremiger Karamell-Nuss Traum und schmeckt einfach fantastisch oder mit den Worten meines Mannes „espectacular“! Damit konnte das Heimweh nach Argentinien etwas gestillt werden…

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Wednesday April 3rd, 2024 at 05:12 PM

      Das freut mich sehr zu hören!

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