This is not technically a specifically Peruvian dessert, however you won’t find a pasteleria here in Lima without their version of chocolate cake. Also, you might have heard that cacao here is a big deal so, you know, it’s only fair to include the cake in my list of Peruvian desserts. Oh, and I love chocolate cake.
Are you, like me, one of those people that always has hope at any parties or weddings that you attend that the cake is going to be a chocolate one? Yeah, thought so.
Chocolate cake here in Peru comes in many forms. From a two or three layer dense and sticky cake to a one layer chocolate packed wonder. From a manjar blanco-y (that is a word btw), fudgy icing, to a simple chocolate ganache. And just about everything in between. Oh yes, everything. On the bad side, I’ve eaten chocolate cake that just tasted of cake….no chocolate, just cake. On the positive, some bakeries like to twist it up a notch adding truffles, liqueurs, and other fancy items, which do not often disappoint.
However, I have decided that for my recommendations I want to focus on the old favourite of chocolate cake + icing. Now in my search for said perfect cake, I have found that there were certain criteria.
1. The cake must be moist. (It actually pains me to use that word, but I literally cannot find another way to say it. ‘Sticky’ isn’t always a perfect enough word to use, ‘damp’ just reminds me of rain, and ‘humid’ isn’t really for describing food. Therefore, I am stuck with this word.) It cannot be dry and crumbly, it doesn’t make for a good chocolate cake.
2. If it has icing, it needs to be a good layer of icing. It can be sandwiched in the middle or just on top, and I don’t mind if it is buttercream, ganache or fudge, but it needs to have chocolate in it.
3. A damn fine chocolate taste. It needs to be rich and chocolatey. It doesn’t have to be too sweet or too heavy, but boy it needs to taste like chocolate. None of this, I-look-amazing-but-when-you-eat-me-I-taste-of-nothing malarkey.
So here goes. And in advance…you’re welcome.
Where would I recommend in Lima to find my favourite Torta de Chocolate?
1.La Casa de Gloria // This is a favourite place of mine for so many reasons, and one of the items I always return for is their chocolate cake. It comes served an a huge slice (for s/.10) covered in a rich, chocolate sauce. It’s the only cake I’ve tried so far that has a dark, almost bitter, chocolate taste. I love it so much because it’s not overly sweet due to the dark chocolate, but it satisfies my sweet tooth perfectly. Also, it’s just the right texture; dense but not too heavy (which means you get a great amount of cake). It’s amazing!
Punta Hermosa (address easiest to find following the map on Facebook)
2. Dolce Capriccio // A large cafe, with an even larger array of cakes and tasty treats. They have different kinds of chocolate cake including Nutella, but the regular chocolate cake here is amazing. Two layers of soft cake covered in a silky chocolate icing. It was jam packed with flavour but at the same time it felt really light, making you feel like you could have more than one slice. (See main picture)
Av. Dos de Mayo 701, Miraflores (on the corner with Calle. Arica)
3. Mariate // A small pasteleria fina close to where Caminos del Inca meets Higuereta. You can see the sign and a doorway but nothing else outside. However a pathway, with small tables and chairs so you can eat-in, leads you to the counter. The chocolate cake here is lovely. A moist cake with a smooth ganache-like icing, and like Dolce Capriccio, it feels much lighter than it should.
Av. Caminos del Inca 590, Surco
4. Probarte // I tried this cake at the V Salon del Cacao y Chocolate in the Parque de la Reserva (the one with the fountains). It is a 2 layer fudgy cake with a thick layer of chocolate buttercream-esque icing covering the outside. I say thick, because it is not the fluffy buttercream that you find on a cupcake but a much denser and harder affair. So, so tasty, and for this cake to stand out during a day purely devoted to chocolate, it must have been something special. Get your order in for the next celebration you have!
No location. Order over the phone (details in the link)
These do not really cover the criteria of ‘cake’, but the chocolate muffins with chocolate chips from Don Mamino, are so, so good, and because they are muffins, you don’t feel bad about eating them for breakfast. Double win. (So many locations in Lima!)
This is not a top favourite but Pastipan has the best value slice at just over S/.4 (you can buy a whole one too). It is a large, rich slice of three layers of sweet chocolate cake with a fudgy, manjar blanco-y icing that covers and fills it. It has a high level of fudgy richness, and I have been known to almost not finish a slice (I said almost). There are 4 locations (one of these is Av. Casuarinas 293, Surco)
What about outside of Lima…..?
There is but one winner and that is the chocolate cake from Jack’s Cafe in Cusco. Jack’s is a little, but extremely popular, cafe a few blocks from the main square in Cusco. I have fond memories of this rich, sticky chocolate cake, and the mugs that they serve their hot drinks in (see left). I believe I ate the large muffin shaped cake, warm with no ice cream, and I was happy. Enough said really.
Choquechaka 509, Cusco (on the corner with Cuesta de San Blas)
This post was originally published July 12th 2014 but has been updated and altered to reflect new opinions!