This is a vanilla layer cake filled with gooey dulce de leche and covered in an easy chocolate frosting. If you haven't tried the magic that is a cake filled with dulce de leche, you're in for a treat!
Growing up, all birthday cakes had dulce de leche in the middle.
Though the layers usually came from a box, having this wonderful milk jam so readily available solved the eternal what-should-I-fill-the-cake-with question.
However, it made all cakes pretty much the same.
The thing is that it is such a fantastic combination, both with chocolate and vanilla. If you're new to dulce de leche, you're in for a sweet surprise of the best kind.
It can even be made in stages since the layers can be wrapped up for a few days, and the frosting kept in the fridge.
Dulce de leche filling
Dulce de leche is a sweet milk jam, a cousin to caramel, made with milk, sugar, and baking soda, the latter being accountable for its dark color.
If used as a filling, you need to use what we call pastry dulce de leche.
It's much thicker than the regular kind. Look for the word Repostero on the label.
Type of chocolate: you can use the two types of chocolate specified in the recipe, or just one.
Cream cheese: it adds richness and smoothness. The frosting is unctuous.
It's the combination of flavors that make the cake.
Tender vanilla buttermilk layers with a hefty dose of dulce de leche and an even heftier dose of double chocolate cream cheese frosting.
I sometimes add hazelnut praline in the filling and decoration, but the cake doesn't need it to shine.
It's a really good cake, for a birthday or just because.
Let me know in the comments below if you made this recipe and loved it and if you had issues so we can troubleshoot together. I love to hear what you think, always. Thanks for being here. It's much appreciated.
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For the vanilla cake:
- 1 ¾ cups (200g) all-purpose or cake flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5.5 oz (155g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups (260g) sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups dulce de leche
For the chocolate frosting:
- 5 oz milk chocolate
- 9 oz bittersweet chocolate
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
For the buttermilk cake:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC. Butter and flour or spray a 9inch (24cm) round springform cake pan.
- Sift flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Reserve. Mix buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl or glass cup.
- In a large bowl beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar, and beat for 4 or 5 minutes, until very light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth between additions. Beat for 1 minute after adding the third egg.
- Add dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with liquids in two additions. Don't beat this too much, it should only be mixed until well blended. Over beating will make the cake tough.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for for 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes and inverto onto a rack and let cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Cut the cake in half, trying to cut it as even as possible. To achieve this, start by using a large thin knife, and cut while rotating the cake. With each turn, the knife should go deeper, until you reach the center. At that point the cake will be completely cut in half.
- Spread dulce de leche on top of one half, spreading evenly but without touching half an inch from the edge. (That way, when you press the second layer on top, the dulce de leche will reach the edges but not spill).
- Top with the other cake layer, press lightly and frost with chocolate frosting.
- The best way to frost is to take about half the frosting and make one layer covering the whole cake. Then take the rest of the frosting, and even it out as best as you can.
- Sprinkle chopped toffee or praline on top if you want to, or decorate any way you want. Serve.
For the chocolate frosting:
- Melt both chocolates on top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Be careful not to burn it.
- Let cool until lukewarm, then add to the room temperature cream cheese.
- Add the salt and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and shiny.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: dulce de leche birthday cake
Frosting adapted from Cakes, by Maida Heatter