The last thing I should be thinking about is cake. Well, anything other than king cake, that is. But no matter how hard I try to stop thinking about it, chocotorta has been on my mind. It’s been two years since I first saw it (Emmy made one during the pandemic) and it’s stayed up there in my gray matter, floating about, rearing it’s delectable looking head every time I had a chocolate craving.
When I began chanting it (chocotorta, chocotorta, chocotorta) last week, John quickly chimed in and before long we were both on the chocotorta train, so what else could I do? I went to the grocery store to get the four ingredients required (six, cuz I got a little fancy). As it turns out, it was not as easy as it sounds.
An Argentinian ice box cake made from chocolate cookies (specifically Chocolinas), dulce de leche (a milk caramel), coffee, and cream cheese, chocotorta has to be one of the easiest dessert recipes ever, if you can find the ingredients. Obviously, the coffee and cream cheese were non-issues, but the other two were a touch more difficult to come by. You can make your own dulce de leche, but it takes forever ie. 2-3 hours. If I had an Instant Pot, I might have attempted to make it myself because that way only takes 35 minutes, but the method still makes me nervous. Most of the recipes say to cook it in the can, and they’re pretty adamant about safety precautions like ensuring the water level stays at least an inch above the can, waiting for the can to cool completely before opening, and for heaven’s sake, don’t jostle the pot!
TLdr: I decided to buy the dulce de leche.
I did find it at Rouses near the condensed milk, but it was made by Nestle. Full disclosure, I have some major issues with that company and try to avoid purchasing any of their products. So, I went to Hong Kong Market, but they also had Nestle brand dulce de leche, and another brand with “low lactose,” which didn’t taste good at all. Finally, I found a jarred brand at Ideal Market, and it was not only gorgeous, it was the perfect quantity, and not made by Nestle. If I ever remember the brand, I promise to let you know.
Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there aren’t many simple chocolate cookie brands out there. I couldn’t find the Chocolinas anywhere, but I assumed there would be an easy substitute. Wrong! I considered making them myself, but thankfully, I scored some round, chocolate cookies by Goya. Strangely enough, they were the only ones I could find.
With all the ingredients in hand, at last, I cobbled together a couple of recipes I found online, including this one by Paz Baker, and I made my chocotorta . . . I ate it, too! If you are able to find these ingredients (or are brave enough to make them yourself), I highly recommend making this super-simple, ultra-decadent cake. If you don’t, you might find yourself chanting, too. Chocotorta, chocotorta, chocotorta!
Seeing as I do not want to be one of those blogs with a huge story before the recipe (TOO LATE), I’ll get to it! Good luck and please let me know if you’ve ever made dulce de leche and lived!
16 oz (or two bricks) cream cheese, room temperature
16 oz dulce de leche
2-3 large packs of chocolate cookies (Goya, Chocolinas)
1 C strong coffee, cooled to room temperature (I used a packet of coffee I got from Coffee &)
2/3 C semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips)
2/3 C heavy whipping cream
I used a 6 inch springform pan, but I’ve seen it done with a deep, square brownie pan, too. Use what you’ve got! Just be sure to line it with parchment paper.
Make your fresh cup of coffee and while it cools, whip together the cream cheese and dulce de leche. Stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes before assembling your cake.
Get ready to assemble! Dip each cookie in the cooled coffee before placing it in the pan, break the cookies apart (before dipping!) to get good coverage and close any gaps. Then add about 1/3 of the dulce de leche mixture, leveling it out to approximately the same thickness of the cookie layer. Repeat layers, finishing with the dulce de leche mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least five hours, or overnight.
In an effort to make it pretty, I added a chocolate ganache layer on top and attempted to pipe some flower-like blurbs around the edge (John said it looked like a big boob). The ganache was easy. Just heat the heavy whipped cream on medium until it simmers, right before it boils, then pour it over the chocolate chips, wait a minute or two, and mix until it’s glossy and smooth. Cool the ganache down to room temperature and pour it on top of your chocotorta after the cake’s been chilled for several hours. Then chill it for a couple more!
The goo I piped badly on the top of the ganache was just a cup of heavy whipping cream whipped with about 1/2 cup of some extra dulce de leche I had laying around. But you could do anything! Sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder or powdered sugar, use plain whipping cream, or just put it in your mouth. Enjoy!
*At some point I will set up a studio-of-sorts with better lighting and dishes – then perhaps my home cooking images will start looking a whole lot better. Until then, please enjoy my faux marble, 70’s-era Formica countertop with plates to match!