This Dulce de leche chocolate cake is an easy, delicious recipe and requires no frosting, making it fuss-free. The perfect cake to feed a crowd!
This cake is an homage to the cakes my mom bought from home industries when I was a little girl. Home industries (or Tuisnywerheid in Afrikaans) are small shops that sell cakes, cookies, pies and tarts made by local cooks and bakers. These businesses allow family’s an extra source of income and are quite popular where I grew up. The cakes specifically are always amazing. Light, fluffy and impossibly moist with simple buttercream frosting and more often than not, a thick layer of dulce de leche (or as it is also called, Caramel Treat). Simple indulgence in its best form.
Table of Contents
Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Flour. I use cake flour but all purpose will work just as well.
- Sugar. Caster sugar or regular granulated.
- Baking powder.
- Baking soda. (Bicarbonate of soda)
- Cocoa powder. I used a very rich, dark cocoa which is why my cake turned out so dark so don’t be alarmed if yours is lighter.
- Boiling water. I add a teaspoon of instant coffee to the water to intensify the flavor of the cocoa but this step can be omitted.)
- Vegetable oil.
- Vanilla extract.
How to make dulce de leche chocolate cake
- Make the batter: Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the wet ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until the batter is smooth and thick.
- Bake the cake: Preheat the oven and grease and line a rectangular cake pan with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the oven. Allow to bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.
- Decorate the cake: Once the cake has completely cooled, whip the dulce de leche to make sure its completely smooth. Spread/pipe the caramel onto the cake then decorate with sprinkles (optional). Slice and serve.
What is dulce de leche?
Dulce de leche is caramelized, slow-cooked sweetened condensed milk. Traditionally, it is made cooking milk and sugar very slowly until it is rich, dark and thick. It can easily be made yourself by cooking a sealed can of condensed milk in a pot of water over a long period of time (there are many articles on doing this yourself all over the internet). I, however, choose to use the ready-made, canned version because it is absolutely delicious and requires no effort on my part.
In South Africa, Nestlé manufactures cans of caramelized condensed milk called Caramel Treat so I’m not sure of the names of similar products globally but I know dulce de leche is a readily-available ingredient in most supermarkets.
Are caramel and dulce de leche the same thing?
No, they are not. Caramel has a base of water, sugar, butter and cream while dulce de leche is milk and sugar cooked slowly until thick, darkened in color and caramelized.
For this cake you want dulce de leche which is thicker than caramel and is used as the topping.
Chocolate cake recipes
Easy Dulce de leche chocolate cake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 cup boiling water/coffee
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
For the topping
- 2 cups dulce de leche
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm cake pan with parchment/baking paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
- Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl/measuring jug and pour into the dry ingredients.
- Mix until just combined then pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Place into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven once baked and allow to cool completely on a wire-rack.
- Whip the dulce de leche to make sure it's smooth then spread onto the cooled cake. Top with sprinkles and serve.