Milhojas or Thousand Layers or Thousand sheets Cake is the most traditional of the Chilean cakes. This particular recipe is from my Great Aunt, who would always bake this cake for my birthday. So, this is yet another of my recipes that feels like home! My Aunt usually makes this cake at least a day in advance, and it will still hold its flavor and texture for 3-4 days.
For the traditional Chilean Thousand Layer Cake or Torta Milhojas, you must fill your cake with Dulce de Leche and walnuts. But, if you like variety, pastry cream and whipped cream “Chantilly” are also used. If you’re looking for something less sweet, jams like plum or rhubarb are also excellent. The tart contrast enhances the overall flavor.
What is Milhojas cake made of?
The fillings vary a lot, and even the dough can be different. Some are puff pastry (butter, liquid, and flour). Others like this recipe also include egg yolks and reduce the butter. Most likely, this is due to the butter being more expensive than eggs.
Easier versions for Milhojas can be made using store-bought puff pastry (see this recipe) or crackers (see this recipe).
Where is Milhoja from?
Milhojas cakes are ubiquitous in all Latinoamerica. Like many recipes introduced by Spaniards, almost every country has its version. Still, the Chilean version is one of the most famous ones, and it’s called Torta Chilena (Chilean cake) in Central America.
How to store the cake?
I will depend on the fillings: if using a pastry or whipped cream, it must be stored in the fridge for no more than a couple of days. Freezing is not recommended. If doing this recipe with Dulce de leche and walnuts, it can store at room temperature for three days or in the fridge for up to a week. And can be frozen for up to 3 months.
What Dulce de Leche do you recommend?
This is an important question; the most traditional will be a canned Dulce de Leche, La Lechera brand (made in Chile) Amazon affiliated link. Easy to find in Latino markets in the USA. I don’t recommend using Argentinian Dulce de Leche; they are very heavy on vanilla flavor and distracting for Chilean purposes.
Where and when do Chileans eat Torta Milhojas?
Being this cake is the most loved and traditional, you can buy it in almost any bakery in Chile. They will also have slices (usually rectangular shape) to buy. Many families have old recipes and will make this cake for special birthdays or Fiestas Patrias (Independence celebrations in September). It’s eaten at birthday parties and Sunday Once (tea time).
You may also like this recipe: Easy Dulce de Leche FlanPrint
For the dough,
- 3 cups sifted flour
- 250 grams/ 8 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 egg yolk, room temperature
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon rum or pisco
- 1 pinch of salt
For the filling,
- 3 cups of dulce de leche or caramel (available in Latin supermarkets, I like La Lechera brand sold in cans, usually right next to the condensed milk)
- 2 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter in chunks, egg yolks, milk, and liquor, work to form a dough of medium consistency.
- Do not work with your hands. Use a fork or 2 knives, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Do not use your hands because the body heat will melt the butter, and bits of butter remaining in the dough give its crispness. Wrap in plastic wrap and let stand in the fridge overnight for at least 6 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
- Divide the dough into 14 equal portions. Roll each piece on a floured baking sheet or parchment paper or Silpat until very thin. Using a paring knife, cut circles of 8 – 9″ of diameter. I usually use a plate as a guide. Pierce the circle of dough with a fork across almost the entire surface.
- Bake each circle over an un-greased baking or cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes until golden. Let cool.
- Assemble the cake filling in between each layer with dulce de leche (3-4 tablespoons). Every three layers, add ground walnuts also, saving 1 cup for decoration.
- Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of dulce de leche and sprinkle with a mixture of walnuts, powdered sugar, and crumbs.
- Let it rest well, covered in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Chilean
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 420
- Sugar: 25.1 g
- Sodium: 182.3 mg
- Fat: 24.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 9.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 43.6 g
- Fiber: 1.5 g
- Protein: 8.1 g
Keywords: mil hojas, thousand layer cake, chilean cuisine