A tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish, made of masa or dough (starchy, and usually corn-based), which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The wrapping can either be discarded prior to eating or used as a plate. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.
Tamale is an anglicized version of the Spanish word tamal (plural: tamales). Tamal comes from the Nahuatl tamalli. The English tamale is a back-formation of tamales, with English speakers interpreting the -e- as part of the stem, rather than part of the plural suffix -es.
Torta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtoɾta]) is a Spanish, Italian, Greek, Albanian, Bulgarian, Maltese, Hungarian, Portuguese, Bosnian, Croatian, Swedish, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovene and also Slovak word with a wide array of culinary meanings, such as a cake, or flatbread.
The word comes from the Spanish torta, itself from Late Latin torta, an abbreviation of torta panis (“twisted bread”). The English word "tart" is related.