Easy Marquesa de Chocolate No-Bake Cake, From Venezuela

Marquesa de Chocolate Cake Venezuela

This marquesa de chocolate cake brings up sweet and sad memories for Maria Adela Gonzalez-Hussey, especially on Day of the Dead, beginning November 1. Making it helps her honor the memory of her father and childhood in Venezuela. Her dad died when she was very young — she was just 13 — and this was one of her favorite desserts that her mom made for their family during that time.

Maria Adela now lives in Chicago with her own family. When her son’s class at Sacred Heart school in Chicago announced they would be celebrating Day of the Dead this year, this is the cake she volunteered to make for their feast. “Dia de los Muertos is traditionally celebrated in Venezuela by going to church, perhaps lighting a candle for your loved one(s), and maybe eating your loved one’s food. It is not a big beautiful celebration like it is in Mexico or Guatemala. It is not a big, beautiful and colorful tradition filled with great food and music, but mostly a day to pray and go to church,” says Maria.

Marquesa de Chocolate Cake Venezuela
It all starts with chocolate, of course. First step: Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan.

Maria, who also works at Sacred Heart as an events and engagement manager, is proud to pass on her family recipe to her three kids, who love this easy-to-make, no-bake cake. “This recipe makes me think of home: The home I lived together with my whole family in Venezuela when my dad was alive.” And now it’s become a part of her children’s memories of home and familia. Full circle.

Galletas Maria or Maria Cookies, for Marquesa de Chocolate Cake Venezuela
Spread a layer of traditional Maria Galletas or Maria Cookies, which are easy to find in the Latino aisle of most grocery stores.
Marquesa de chocolate cake from Venezuela
Cover the layer of Maria Cookies with the melted chocolate-and-butter mixture. Repeat this layering three times, before putting the cake pan in the freezer for at least 2 hours. It’s ready!

When did she first learn to make this family chocolate cake recipe?

“My mom would make it all the time, and she taught my sister,” she remembers. “When I moved to the U.S. and felt a craving for it, I called my sister to share the recipe with me. My mom did tell me she sometimes changes the flavors and adds crushed peanuts or shredded coconut on top to vary its taste.”

One of the best things about this cake is that it is no-bake and easy to learn for chocolate enthusiasts of all ages. “It is a very easy recipe for kids to learn to make, so I’ve let my kids make it themselves. My daughter made it for her classmates for a country project, and it was a hit!”

Marquesa de Chocolate Cake Venezuela
The marquesa de chocolate cake is chilled in the freezer for 2 hours and it’s ready to serve. Everyone will love it, promises Chicago’s Maria Adela Gonzalez-Hussey. Best of al, it’s so easy to make.

This is a popular dessert back in Venezuela. How is Maria’s family recipe different from other versions of this traditional cake? “I honestly have mostly or only had the one my mom or sister made, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. I think my mom’s touch of adding a splash or brandy or other liquor gives it a nice touch.”

Ready to Make This Easy Marquesa de Chocolate Cake?

Easy Marquesa de Chocolate No-Bake Cake, From Venezuela

Recipe by Maria Adela Gonzalez-Hussey
5.0 from 1 vote
Cuisine: Venezuelan

8 to 10

Prep time


Cooking time


Chilling Time




  • 2 1/2 packages Maria Galletas or Maria Cookies (easily found in the Latino aisle of most grocery stores)

  • 2 bars semi-sweet chocolate (or 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips)

  • 1 stick butter

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 Tbsp liquor of your choice, divided. Maria recommends rum, brandy or Bailey’s Original Irish Cream.


  • Melt the butter and the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, breaking the chocolate into pieces and stirring constantly.
  • Add the condensed milk to the butter and chocolate mixture. Mix well.
  • Stir in 1 Tbsp of your liquor of choice. The consistency should be not too thick, not too runny. Add a splash of milk, if you need to thin the mixture.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the milk, vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp of liquor.
  • Dip each Maria Cookie into the milk–vanilla-liquor mixture and place in a single layer In a 9 x 13” glass baking dish. Be careful not to dip the cookie for too long or it will break. Fill in the spaces between the cookies with smaller, broken pieces.
  • Pour and spread ⅓ of the chocolate mixture over the cookie layer, making sure it is spread evenly across the top of all the cookies.
  • Repeat steps 5 and 6 two more times, so there are 3 layers total of Maria Cookies and the chocolate mixture.
  • Take the remaining cookies and break them into tiny pieces, using a food processor or put them in a zip bag and crumble them by hand. Pour an even, final layer of cookie crumbles evenly on the top-most chocolate layer.
  • Put the cake in the freezer for at least 2 hours before taking it out and cutting into squares. Enjoy!


  • Maria tells Familia Kitchen she likes to use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate bars to make this dessert.

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