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!
Every 6 months or so I have this intense chocolate cake craving that can only be satisfied by one thing: a rich, moist chocolate cake topped with dulce de leche. And so I thought it was about time I shared my easy dulce de leche chocolate cake recipe with you.
When I was growing up, bakeries were few and far between and the bakeries we had mainly sold fresh bread and pastries, not so much cakes, etc. We bought cakes (and a lot of other delicious goodies) from home industries where housewives/retired bakers would supply a shop with home-baked cakes, tarts, pies and sticky, syrupy koeksisters (I will share a recipe for these South African delights soon).
The cakes my mom bought from the home industry (Or Tuisnywherheid, in Afrikaans) were always square or rectangular. They almost always had a simple chocolate/vanilla buttercream topping, piped into squares with every other square topped with Caramel Treat or Dulce de Leche. I ALWAYS, without fail, went for the dulce de leche-topped pieces because there is just something about chocolate cake topped with that caramelly goodness.
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.
The chocolate cake recipe I used here is very similar to my peanut butter chocolate cake recipe. I stumbled upon this recipe when one day I wanted to make my peanut butter chocolate cake but realized I had very little PB left. I played around with the recipe and came up with this version which is SO easy. No buttermilk, no butter and you only need a bowl, a measuring jug and a whisk.
I used a good quality cocoa powder which is why the cake turned out so dark but as cocoa powders differ. Yours might be less intense and your cake will turn out lighter. I love the dark cocoa with the sweet dulce de leche because the combined flavor isn’t too sweet or overbearing. Which also incidentally makes it a lot easier to eat a lot of this cake.
How to make dulce de leche chocolate cake
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.