If you’re a caramel lover, you’re going to love this stunning Dulce de Leche cake! This caramel cake is all about that caramel! Three cans of dulce de leche are used in this recipe: one for the cake layers, one as a filling and one for the salted caramel buttercream! The salted caramel buttercream is my favorite part – it rounds off all the sweetness of the cake layers. This epic cake is finished with crystalized sugar garnishes, which are so fun to make! It’s the perfect caramel cake for a special occasion!
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Watch my video recipe for step-by-step instructions and learn how to make the caramelized sugar garnish! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
How to Make Crystalized Sugar
And let’s talk about the spectacular garnish! I had this crazy idea to add broken pieces of crystallized sugar on the sides and the idea turned out even better than I imagined! It takes this dulce de leche cake to a whole new level, making this cake simply epic! To make the sugar garnishes, you’ll need just 2 ingredients: sugar and water. The sugar is cooked over medium heat until it reaches a deep amber color, then it’s poured over a baking sheet and allowed to cool. It’s super easy and fun to make! Here are a few more tips:
- Do not stir the sugar and water! Just pour both into a small saucepan and let the heat do the trick. Stirring the sugar will cause the crystals to form.
- Caramelized sugar will be VERY HOT! Handle the syrup with extreme care! Allow the sugar to cool completely before breaking it into smaller pieces.
- Add the crystallized sugar garnishes to the cake when you’re ready to show it off! Don’t leave them on overnight, otherwise they will start to melt.
All About the Caramel!
For this recipe, I used three cans of dulce de leche! This thick caramel sauce is made by cooking sweetened condensed milk in the can over low heat for several hours. You can by the caramel premade and ready to use.
- If you can’t find dulce de leche for this recipe, I recommend using my ‘Homemade Caramel Sauce’ recipe instead.
- It will also work well for the ‘Salted Caramel Buttercream’. I have a separate video recipe for the buttercream if you want to get more details!
Love all things caramel and looking for more? Check out these delicious caramel recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Caramel Coffee Macaron Cake – essentially a huge macaron in cake form!
- Almond Roca Cake – I love everything about this stunning caramel and toffee almond cake!
- Apple Pie Caramel Cheesecake – caramel cheesecake topped with the best apple pie filling!
- Raspberry Caramel Mousse Cake – stunning caramel mousse cake with raspberry center!
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The Best Dulce de Leche Cake Recipe (video)
For Caramel Cake Layers:
- 3/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 14 ounce can dulce de leche
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
For Salted Caramel Buttercream:
- 2 cups butter; softened at room temperature
- 14 ounce can dulce de leche
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For Sugar Garnish:
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 14 ounce can dulce de leche, for filling
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line three, 8-inch cake rounds with parchment paper; or, two, 9-inch cake rounds. Set aside.
- Prepare the cake layers. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and dulce de leche. Microwave the caramel for 30 seconds to soften it. Mix all ingredients together until creamy, then pour in the milk. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour into the batter in small amounts and whisk after each addition. Whisk only until flour is incorporated.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from pans and allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, use a long, serrated knife to level the cake layers.
- While cakes are baking, prepare the crystallized sugar garnish. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, not stirring, until sugar caramelized into deep amber color. Pour the sugar syrup over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to spread the syrup as it cools. Allow the syrup to cool completely and harden before handling. Break the candy into shards of different sizes.
- Prepare the buttercream once layers have cooled. Place softened butter into a stand mixer bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Then add the dulce de leche and a few pinches of salt. Add less salt first, then taste and add more to taste. Whisk buttercream until it's light and fluffy.
- Assemble the cake. Spread each layer first with a generous amount of dulce de leche, then add the caramel buttercream. Frost the top and sides of cake and smooth over with a flat spatula. Transfer the remaining frosting into a pastry bag tipped with tip #4FT. Watch my video for decorating the top. Decorate the sides with the broken sugar.
- Keep cake refrigerated and remove from fridge about 1 to 2 hours prior to serving to allow the cake to soften.