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Dulce de Leche Cake

The ultralight white cake, layers of decadent dulce de leche and fluffy marshmallow-like frosting make this a melt-in-your-mouth dream.

Ingredients:

For the vanilla chiffon cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

For the filling:

  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the 7-minute frosting:

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with parchment paper (do not butter the pan or parchment).

To make the vanilla chiffon cake, in a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, egg yolks and water. In a third bowl, using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. When the egg whites get frothy, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating just until stiff peaks form. Whisk the flour mixture into the oil mixture, then fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake pans to loosen the cakes, then invert the cakes onto the racks, peel off the parchment, and let cool before filling and frosting.

To make the filling, in a bowl, whisk together the dulce de leche and cream until smooth.

Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half horizontally to create 4 thin layers total. Place one layer, cut side down, on a flat serving plate. Spread with one-third of the filling (about 1/3 cup). Top with a second layer and spread with half of the remaining filling. Then top with a third layer and spread with the rest of the filling. Top with the fourth layer.

To make the frosting, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Set the bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in a saucepan. Using a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from over the water and continue to beat until the mixture cools, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and beat until blended. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thick layer of the fluffy frosting. Serve immediately. Makes one 9-inch layer cake.

Baker’s note: You can easily turn this into a lemon chiffon cake by swapping the dulce de leche filling with the same amount (or a bit more) of lemon curd. Add a few teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest to the cake batter for extra zing.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).