Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Yield: one 9-inch 3-layer cake
Dulce de Leche cake truly lives up to the Spanish translation of “sweet milk.” This cake is super easy to make and comes packed with intensely complicated flavors. This cake was made to say thank you to Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods; a wonderful community partner who donates over 100,000 pounds of food each year to the local food bank.
The silky, vanilla cake is an excellent base to fill with layers of thick, sweet caramel-flavored dulce de leche filling. When covered with smooth caramel frosting and finished with a drizzling of more dulce de leche this cake is definitely one for the record books of flavor. Another great part of this cake is the dry ingredients do not need to be sifted before mixing. This is because the recipe is what I call a “reverse cake batter,” which means you begin by mixing the flour then adding in the butter and other liquid ingredients.
1 batch of Dulce de Leche Filling
For the Dulce de Leche cake:
3-1/3 cups cake flour
1-1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
9 large egg whites, room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, diced and softened
For the Caramel Frosting:
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
1 package (16 oz. powdered sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Step-by-step Directions with Pictures:
Preparing the Cake.
1. Place both oven racks in upper-middle and lower-middle levels of the oven. Preheat to 350° F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper.
2. Place cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Mix at low speed until blended. Add the butter and continue mixing until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Place milk, egg whites and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk to the flour mixture and mix at high speed (medium speed with a stand mixer) for 1-1/2 minutes. Add the remaining milk and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of the bowl and continue mixing for another 20 seconds.
4. Add the remaining milk and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of the bowl and continue mixing for another 20 seconds.
5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Use a rubber spatula to evenly smooth cake batter across top of the pans.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. For even baking, be sure to arrange pans in the oven so they are about 3-inches apart and air can clearly circulate around them. Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove from pans to completely cool on wire racks.
7. Carefully slice the domed tops off each layer to make smooth cakes. Set one layer on a cake plate and generously spread about 1/3 of the dulce de leche filling on top. Top with the second layer and spread another 1/3 dulce de leche filling. If your filling is a little runny (like mine was) it works to pipe a bead of caramel frosting around the cake’s edge.
8. Frost the top and sides of the cake with caramel frosting (recipe follows). Drizzle the cake with any remaining dulce de leche filling.
Preparing the Caramel Frosting.
9. Place butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes; until it melts and turns nut-brown in color. Remove from heat and pour butter into a bowl; allow it to cool. Be sure not to scrape the pan and leave any burnt milk fat in the pan.
10. Place powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and melted butter in a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Mix on medium speed (low speed on a stand mixer) until combined. Add cream and continue mixing until smooth. If the frosting seems too thick, add a little extra cream until it reaches the right consistency.
- Try to avoid overmixing the cake batter. You really only want to mix the flour and milk mixtures just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- There is no need to sift the dry ingredients with this recipe. By mixing the dry ingredients first, you can mix the flour until the clumps are sufficiently eliminated before adding the milk mixture without fear of overworking the batter.