Do you like Dulce de Leche? I love the stuff. I could sit and eat it with a spoon. Dulce de leche is a South American confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from the Maillard reaction of the product, changing the flavour and colour to a deep rich caramel. You can buy it ready made from a variety of sources, but it's also very easy to make your own. (See note below.)
One of my favourite ways to use it is in this fabulously moist and rich Dulce de Leche cake. That lovely rich caramelized sweetened milk is used not only in the batter but also in it's indulgent and delicious filling and frosting.
The batter also uses soft light brown sugar. Any time you use brown sugar in a batter, it will result in a terrifically moist cake. There is also ground almonds in it (almond meal.) This also helps to make a moist cake into a light cake.
The Dulce de Leche is used as well to help create a fabulously rich filling and frosting for the cake. It's absolutely delicious. Just look at the richness of that filling and that moist crumb . . . and then that frosting over the top. Just beautiful. Rich flavours, beautiful textures . . . moist caramel deliciousness! In any case, it makes full use of one tin of dulce de leche without any leftovers. (I would have had to eat it with a spoon, and we can't have that!)
A bit of crunch is added by scattering a handful of toasted flaked almonds over top, adding to the pleasure of this cake. By all means leave them out if you are not fond of them, but if you are . . . then do add them. They add yet another depth of flavour and texture to what is already a beautiful cake.
Do give your cake plenty of time to cool down prior to frosting it. I was a bit impatient and so my frosting got a bit warm and didn't say on the top like it should have done, but never mind . . . it tastes just as good oozing down the sides as it does laying on top. It's just not as pretty as it could have been. You will want to enjoy this with either a nice cold glass of milk, or a nice warm cuppa. Either way, frosting dripping down the sides or not . . . this is a cake that pleases on multiple levels. Go on . . . make it for Dad. It's his weekend after all!
*Dulce de Leche Cake*
Makes one 7 inch layer cake
A deliciously scrummy cake stogged full of the richness of creamy caramel flavoured Dulce de Leche. Moist and rich, and yet so light. A Dulce de Leche filling and Frosting, along with the crunch of toasted almonds sprinkled on top completes it.
175g of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
100g soft light brown sugar (8 TBS)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
200g of Dulce de Leche (see note) ( 7 ounces)
2 large free range eggs
100g ground almonds (1 cup plus 3 TBS)
175g of self raising flour (1 1/4 cups)
For the filling and frosting:
50g of butter, softened (3 1/2 TBS)
175g Dulce de Leche (6 ounces)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150g of icing sugar, sifted (1 1/4 cup)
25g of flaked almonds, toasted, to decorate (4 1/2 TBS)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter two round 7 inch cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper. Butter the baking paper.
Cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and dulce de leche until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the ground almonds and the flour until the mixture is well combined. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake in the heated oven for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for five minutes before running a sharp knife around the edges and tipping out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Carefully remove the baking paper once cold.
To make the icing and filling, beat the butter with the dulce de leche until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and then gradually beat in the icing sugar until you have a smooth somewhat thick mixture.
Place one cake layer upside down on a plate. Spoon about one third of the filling/frosting on top of it and spread it out almost to the edge. Place the second layer of the cake on top, right side up. Spread the rest of the filling/frosting over top just to the edges. Sprinkle with flaked almonds. Cut into wedges to serve.
Note: Dulce de leche is boiled sweetened condensed milk. You can buy ready made Dulce de Leche, which is sold as Dulce de Leche or caramel, or if you wish you can make your own. To make your own, boil unopened tins of condensed milk for 2 hours. Cool completely before opening. You can prepare a few tins at a time and keep them in the cupboard unopened. They will keep for a long time.