English has several specific words for different types of sweet, baked products:

  • cake
  • pie
  • pastry
  • tart
  • torte
  • cobbler

Does Spanish have the same level of detail for describing these sweets? What would be the best translation of each of the words above?

  • Those words vary A LOT from region to region. Do you have a specific region in mind? – Dr. belisarius Jan 28 '13 at 3:31
  • @belisarius: Examples from any region would be helpful for future reference. – jrdioko Jan 29 '13 at 21:34

A lot of Central and South American countries actually now use English terms. These are the terms used in Guatemala, from personal experience:

- cake --> pastel
- pie  --> pie
- pastry --> pastelito, postre
- tart - torta

We also have a very popular type of cake that I believe is specific to the region, called magdalena. It's a sweet muffin-type baked bread kinda, in the shape of a cake, with a hole in the middle. I don't think we have a term for cobbler, but maybe something like *dulce de manzana", for apple cobbler, would be appropriate.

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In Spain I would say:

   cake   --> bizcocho      
   pie    --> pastel    
   pastry --> pasta   
   tart   --> tarta    
   torte  --> torta

I do not know about cobbler.

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I agree with F.Tusell, although I would add that this words vary from one country to another. I've heard people from Argentina call "torta" to things that a Spaniard would consider "empanada" (something like a salted pie). To a Spaniard, "torta" is usually something sweet.

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  • The usual word for "empanada" (Spain) in Argentina is "tarta", not "torta". The rule is broken for the "empanada gallega" (a tarta with tuna filling) – Dr. belisarius Feb 3 '13 at 7:19
  • Also strangely in Argentina they eat a lot of "facturas" – aris Mar 24 '17 at 23:52

I'd say that if it's sweet, you could use "pastel" for most cases, I'd use "tarta" for cakes or pies and depending the size, a pastry could be a "pastel" or "pastelillo".

"bizcocho" is definitely for sponge cakes, and a cupcake is a "magdalena".

If the pastry or pie is salty, like shepherd's pie or chicken pot pie, that would be "empanada" or if it's small, "empanadilla".

"Torta" doesn't sound familiar to me, it's probably the more localized term of all meaning that it would be probably different depending on the country and even the region.

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