This cake has brought me tender caramely chocolate moments of happiness during our strict lockdown here in Barcelona. The dulce de leche caramel notes lift the melted milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate cake and the chocolate drops folded in provide satisfying little chocolate bites contrasting with the moist springy crumb. The first prototypes were made with a shop-bought gf blend or 00 flour but these became even more difficult to find than toilet paper so I created a new homemade glutenfree flour mix! It’s so flavoursome and perfect texture-wise that it’s now my go-to flour for this cake. Meanwhile there’s been loads of time for experiments at home so some prototypes were made with shop-bought crema and dulce de leche while others had homemade dulce de leche made from a can of unsweetened condensed milk sat in boiling water two and a half hours, later added to liquid whipping cream. It all worked brilliantly. The silky light buttercream is simply dulce de leche whisked with unsalted butter. It’s optional but makes this cake extra swooningly delicious. I’ve already tested four versions and loved them all. I really recommend you give it a go – it’s so easy to make, seems pretty fail-proof and to my surprise turned me into a dulce de leche and chocolate cake lover. I’m daydreaming about a slice now…
Dulce de leche
In case you don’t know, dulce de leche is a very popular confection from Latin America made by slowly heating sweetened milk until you get a caramel-like substance. Dulce is Spanish for sweet and leche means milk. You can read more about it on Wikipedia here.
Mona de Pascua
Continuing on an international note, I made one version as a typical Catalan Mona de Pascua cake for Easter Monday. The cakes are traditionally decorated with colourful feathers and a chocolate egg or sculpture. It provided some nice chocolate caramel cheer during lockdown Easter. 🙂 It’s also now my screensaver! Ahem.
Here are some earlier cakes made with shop-bought crema de leche and glutenfree mix. Delicious. You can make little bundt cakes too but I prefer the loaf cake.
The Stay Homas
But before we start maybe you’d like to listen to some music? Songs are great for lifting the mood and this group has done loads to raise their fans’ spirits.
They’re three flatmates who’ve been playing their own lockdown songs with humourous lyrics on their terrace in Barcelona. They’re also cooperating with other musicians to play together online and sing in English, Catalan, Spanish and even Portuguese.
They were already in other bands but as the recently-formed Stay Homas they’ve become so popular their forthcoming July concert at Sala Apolo in Barcelona sold out in 10 minutes! Not sure if that will go ahead though. You may have heard of them as they’ve become known worldwide. They’ve just sung one of their songs online with Manu Chao and Michael Bublé has done a version of their ‘Gotta be patient’! Though I agree with my students: the Stay Homas version is better… 🙂
The girl is singing in Catalan by the way, in case you’re wondering. To hear more check out YouTube or Instagram @https://www.instagram.com/stay.homas/. And yes, as an English teacher (now online) I worry about ‘confination’ being used instead of ‘confinement’ or ‘lockdown’ but never mind. Apparently ‘confination’ isn’t totally incorrect, just rare or non-standard.
Anyway back to baking, another therapeutic activity helping keep people sane…
Glutenfree gum-free flour mix
This blend is fairly flexible and for more information on adapting or doing research into substitutions please go to my basics gf flour page here.
- 80g/1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 80g/1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 80g/1/2 cup + 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour)
- 40g/1/3 cup buckwheat flour
- 80g/2/3 cup tapioca starch (tapioca flour/mandioca)
- 40g/1/4 cup cornflour (cornstarch/Maizena)
As you can see from the illustration the blend has been successfully tried out on various bakes! In future I might play with reducing the buckwheat and brown rice flour a little to get a lighter colour and flavour but it’s very neutral and tasty in this chocolate cake, which is nicely moist but with a springy rise.
THE RECIPE – for a smallish loaf cake (10-12 slices)
This recipe is an adaptation of the Cake de Chocolate y Crema de Leche in Mi Dulce Tentación’s Spanish blog.
I made the cake glutenfree, decreased the quantity of baking powder, used more milk chocolate (because I find dark chocolate a bit bitter), made my own crema de leche and added dulce de leche buttercream, which you can leave out for a healthier simpler cake.
If you can find it, it’s convenient to use Lidl’s Crema de Leche used in Mi Dulce Tentacion’s recipe. I tracked some down to analyse and it appears to be dulce de leche lightened with added cream. So in case it’s sold out or you have no Lidl near you, I created a homemade ‘crema’ which is very similar but with no slight trace of chemical addditives. Perfect!
Here are some early prototypes made with the shop-bought stuff. Delicious. You can make little bundt cakes but I prefer the loaf cake.
1 smallish-medium loaf tin – approximately 20cm/8in long x 9-10cm/3.5-4in wide x 7cm/2.7in high
or a round cake tin (around 20cm/8in diametre and 4cm/1.5in high) or similar cake tins.
- 1 or a few days before making the cake: make dulce de leche (5 mins work; 2.5 hours boiling) and crema de leche (5 mins work). Or buy them.
- Day 1: make sponge (20 mins work; 20-30 mins baking); cool completely (2-3 hours); optional – make buttercream to assemble immediately (20 – 25 mins) OR
- OPTIONAL Day 2: make buttercream to assemble immediately with sponge made previous day.
The sponge keeps really well so it’s worked great either filled with buttercream on the same or the following day. Choose the option that fits in with your schedule. But once the buttercream is made use immediately to fill the cake.
1 OR MORE DAYS BEFORE
Dulce de leche
Shop-bought works fine but to make it you can use an unopened 370g/13oz can of sweetened condensed milk. Place in a pan of constantly boiling water, covered with at least 1 or 2 inches of water, for 2 and a 1/2 hours – if your pan is like mine and not very deep keep topping up with boiling water to make sure the can is always covered and doesn’t explode! After 2.5 hours take out of water and wait until cooled before opening. Surprise! It’s dulce de leche! Works great!
Transferred to an airtight jar or container it keeps in the fridge a week or so.
Crema de leche – creamy dulce de leche
To make this cream for the cake first stir 60g (3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp) dulce de leche until smooth (warm a little on a bain marie if it’s clumpy), allow to cool a while then stir in 40g/ml liquid whipping cream (35% fat). It depends on your dulce de leche but you want something more or less like the cream in the photo below. Refrigerate in an airtight container 1 day or overnight to set slightly before using.
- 66g/2.32oz good-quality chocolate (chips or pâtisserie chocolate). I’ve used good-quality milk or dark chocolate, or a combination – the delicious Belgian Callebaut brand
- 66g/1/2 cup + 2 tsp glutenfree flour mix, homemade but in some prototypes Doves Farm GF self-raising flour (alternatively use 1/2 cup + 1 and 1/2 tsp plain all-purpose/00 flour)
- 5g/1 tsp baking powder
- small pinch of salt
- 44g/3 tbsp unsalted butter, preferably good quality French-style and softened at room temperature
- 20g/4 and 1/4 tsps caster sugar (I used unrefined golden caster sugar)
- 13g/1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup (or sugar)
- 88g/3.1oz crema de leche: creamy dulce de leche made with 60g/3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp dulce de leche and 40g/ml liquid whipping cream (35% fat) – use the whole mixture less 1.5 – 2 teaspoons (eat this for testing purposes, wink)
- 77-80g beaten egg (from 1 and 1/2 medium large free-range eggs less half a teaspoon)
- scant 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla powder
- 35g/3 and 1/2 tbps chocolate drops, milk or dark semi-sweet
- A little extra milk or cream if your mixture is too stiff
You can adjust quantities slightly, to your taste
- 100g/1/2 cup less 3 tsp unsalted butter, good-quality French-style and softened at room temperature
- 173g/9 tbsp or 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp dulce de leche
This is optional and can be just nice buttercream piping or include: dulce de leche macarons; mini meringue kisses; mini chocolate bars or other shapes; any other decorations you like.
- Preheat oven to 145ºC/295ºF (fan/convection oven) or 165ºC/330ºF (static non-convection)
- Butter and flour loaf tin or use baking paper lining
- Melt larger quantity of chocolate on bain marie (or with quick short spurts in the microwave), stirring until smooth and just melted. Don’t overheat. Allow to cool a little.
- Meanwhile whisk flour, baking powder and small of pinch of salt to combine in a small/medium bowl.
- In a separate large bowl whisk softened butter with sugar and maple syrup until creamy and smooth.
- Whisk in vanilla and crema de leche (creamy dulce de leche).
- Gradually whisk in beaten egg until incorporated.
- Use your whisk to slowly stir in the melted chocolate.
- Fold in the flour mixture from the smaller bowl. If necessary use a whisk to slowly stir into a smooth mixture. Don’t overmix.
- Finally use a rubber spatula to gently fold in chocolate drops. Don’t overmix. If the mixture is too stiff fold in a little milk until it’s ‘dropping consistency’ (lifted up with a rubber spatula the mixture will drop down into the bowl with a plop).
- Pour into tin and spread evenly.
- Bake 20 to 30 minutes (maybe longer, it depends on your tin and oven, and don’t open the oven door for the first 20-25 mins). It’s ready when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and if you press the top lightly with your finger the sponge springs back a little.
- Allow to cool 10 – 20 minutes in tin then take out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before assembling the cake.
Here’s the printable illustrated recipe (click on the images)
DAY 1 OR 2
Make sure the butter and dulce de leche are both at the same room temperature. Whisk softened butter until creamy then add the dulce de leche and whisk 10 minutes by hand (or 5 minutes on the standmixer) until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
If it looks too liquid you need to keep whisking until it holds its shape. If it starts separating and looks ugly it’s because the two ingredients are at different temperatures so warm up together slightly over a bain marie then whisk vigorously until the buttercream becomes smooth again. This will eventually happen!
If you use the buttercream as soon as it’s made the process is fairly simple and hassle-free. But it’s a real pain if you try to chill this buttercream or loosen it up later – it starts seriously separating and needs loads of cajoling, bain marie treatment and whisking to look okay again.
So once your buttercream is perfect use immediately.
- optional decorations: chocolate shapes, white, milk or dark chocolate drops, dulce de leche macarons, mini meringue kisses, etc.
Slice the loaf or round cake in half horizontally with a long bread knife. Use buttercream to fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle like Wilton’s 1M (see middle photo) but they also recommend 2D for roses. For the piping method I followed the simple photo instructions by Passion for Baking.
You can leave the cake swirled with buttercream.
Or decorate like an Easter Mona cake…
Or adorn with any bits and pieces you have around.
Storing and eating
Wait 1 or 2 hours before eating for the buttercream to set a bit. Stored in airtight tupperware at reasonably cool room temperature this cake keeps up to 5 days and maybe more. If it’s warm and the buttercream starts softening store in the fridge then leave out 20 minutes or more before eating. You can freeze slices up to a few months – first freeze slices on baking paper then place in plastic wallets or tupperware (defrost a few hours at room temperature before eating).
So delicious with a beautifully springy and chewy moist texture and lovely silky buttercream. Please have a slice or two of this dulce de leche chocolate cake.
Even better, make one! 😉
Bye for now dears and thanks for stopping by! Hope you’re all doing well and having happy baking and eating moments! 🙂 Stay safe. Lili x
P.S. Here are the related recipes for the optional decorations: