My father has a weakness for dulce de leche; well, pretty much everyone I know does. :) So it was easy to choose his birthday cake.
His birthday is today, but we celebrated it last Saturday – a small group of great people, good food... I’m glad Dad liked it.
I laughed my heart out when he arrived and looked at the cake – there were two big candles with the numbers “6” and “0”.
“Not anyone needs to know I’m turning 60...” he said.
“Apparently, my sister thinks they do – she’s the one who bought the candles and, not only are they huge, but they’re also covered in glitter!” :)
Happy birthday, Dad!!
Dulce de leche cake
adapted from The Whimsical Bakehouse and from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
1 1/3 cups (233g) packed light brown sugar
1 2/3 cups (233g) cake flour*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
¼ cup (50g) vanilla scented caster sugar
½ cup (120ml) water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Dulce de leche cream:
2 cups (480ml) heavy cream
1 cup dulce de leche
Make the cake: preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Line the bottoms of three 20cm (8-inch) round cake pans with rounds of parchment or waxed paper, but do not grease the pans.
In a large heatproof bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Gradually whisk in the brown sugar. Set over a pot of barely simmering water and whisk constantly until the brown sugar dissolves and the mixture warms to body temperature. Remove from the heat and, with an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until the mixture holds slowly dissolving ribbons when the beaters are lifted.
Put the flour and cinnamon in a sifter and sift about 1/3 over the top of the eggs. Gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining flour, folding only until mixed, with no trace of flour.
Drizzle the melted butter over the batter and fold in, now with a rubber spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter or to leave pockets of butter not folded in. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean – mine took 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans. Run a blunt knife around the edge of each cake to release it from the pan. Turn out onto a wire rack and carefully peel off the paper.
Now, the syrup: boil the sugar and water over medium heat until the mixture reduces to ½ cup. Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract and allow to cool before using.
Prepare the dulce de leche cream: Place the cream in the freezer for 4 minutes.
In a large chilled mixer bowl with chilled beaters, combine the cream with the dulce de leche. Beat on low speed to combine and dissolve the dulce de leche. Raise the mixer to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the cake: place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush it with the rum syrup to moisten evenly. Cover the layer with about 2/3 cup of the dulce de leche cream, spreading it evenly to the edges. Repeat with the next layer, moistening it with the syrup as well.
Top with the third layer. Moisten it with the syrup. Frost the top and sides of the cake completely with the remaining dulce de leche cream (there was about ¼ cup left in the end). Then, using a cake comb or the cutting edge of a serrated knife, run it around the side of the cake to make a grooved pattern all around – I melted 100g dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids) and drizzled it over the cake, Jackson Pollock style (idea from here).
* there’s no cake flour here in Brazil, so I used the following: 1 cup cake flour = 7/8 cup (123g) all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons corn starch