Bizcocho (Spanish pronunciation: [biθˈkotʃo] or [bisˈkotʃo]) is the name given in the Spanish-speaking world to a wide range of pastries, cakes or cookies. The exact product to which the word bizcocho is applied varies widely depending on the region and country. For instance, in Spain bizcocho is exclusively used to refer to sponge cake. In Uruguay, most buttery flaky pastry including croissants are termed bizcocho, whilst sponge cake is called bizcochuelo. In Chile, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia bizcocho refers to a sweet dough (masa) baked with local ingredients, similar to the bizcocho from Spain. In Ecuador the dough of a bizcocho can either be sweet or salty. The US state New Mexico is unusual in using the diminutive form of the name, bizcochito, as the name for a locally developed and very popular cookie.
Some of the most usual types of bizcochos are:
In Costa Rica, bizcochos are made with masa, spices, and/or cheese. They are eaten as a snack, especially during coffee breaks.
In Mexico, bizcocho is commonly used as a synonym for pan dulce. It can also be used as a flirtatious compliment to a good looking woman or, less commonly, a handsome man ("Goodbye, bizcocho!"). In some parts, however, it is a very vulgar term, referring to a person's genitals (mainly female) and not used in polite company.
In the Philippines, biscocho (also spelled biskotso) refers to class of breads (usually stale) that is baked again into a crunchy pastry.
Bizcochos are one of the most intrinsic traditions of the Uruguayan culture. They are the inseparable "companions" of mate, coffee, café con leche, or tea for breakfast or the merienda (afternoon tea). They are also common in meetings with friends, especially those taking place in parks, squares, beaches or along the coastline in ramblas (an avenue bordering the coast with pedestrian areas on each side) such as the ones in Montevideo.
Bizcochos are sold not only at panaderías (bakeries), but also at specialized shops called bizcocherías.
Any type of cake, unless otherwise having a specific name(example: tres leches), is termed a bizcocho.