Chileans are famously sweet obsessed. We have a long tradition of sweets, and many are still made at home. Sugar was introduced by the Spaniards and was very expensive until the local production of sugar beets took root.
The biggest influences on cakes came from Europe. First, the Spanish nuns and the adoption of the dulce de leche (called Manjar in Chile), Huevo mol, and merengue. The Milhojas cake and all the pastries known as Dulces Chilenos: Chilenitos, Alfajores, Conejos, Palitas, Mil Hojas manjar huevo mol, berlines, Pear Empanadas, and Merenguitos con manjar.
In the late 1800s, several waves of immigrants from Germany and East Europe brought traditional cakes like Black Forest Cake, kuchens, fruitcakes, and strudels.
During the 1900s, Arabs came to Chile, especially Palestinians, and brought their pastries. There are excellent baklavas and Aristelos (Namoura semolina cake) to be had in Chile too.
Today going to a bakery to get a cake is a fun adventure. Birthday cakes are hugely important, and it is not weird to tell people what cake you are having or debate it with family and friends. You need to decide if you want:
- Torta de milhojas Thousand layer cake, Pompadour, Cielo (Heaven), Amor or Mixta
- Torta de Panqueque, a cake with thin layers of spongy cake with many different fillings Panqueque Naranja (orange), Panqueque Trufa, Panqueque manjar nuez (Dulce de leche and walnut), etc
- Bizcocho (soft cake with Chantilly cream and fresh fruits), Torta de Frutillas (strawberries) con crema, Torta de Piña (pineapple).
- Torta de Merengue, meringue layers with Chantilly cream and fresh fruits Merengue Lucuma, Merengue Frambuesa (raspberry or strawberry), Merengue Castaña (Chestnut).
- or other: Alfajor cake, Tres Leches cake, and much more.
In Chile, buttercream and fondant cakes are not popular, but some bakeries will do it upon request.
The word Torta in Chile applies only to layered cakes. Torta in Mexico is a sandwich.
Popular sweets to make at home for Once are: Brazo de Reina, Pie de limón, Panqueques con manjar, and any pound cake or bundt cake your imagination can picture.
Some recommendations for bakeries in Santiago, Chile:
- For Dulces Chilenos Dulcería Montolín
- For Tortas de Panqueques and Merengue Dulcería Las Palmas
- For Milhojas Tortas Angélicas
- Other bakeries: Riesco.