Beautiful soft, fluffy Dulce de Leche sponge filled with a silky smooth clementine flavoured swiss meringue buttercream. This Dulche de Leche Clementine Cake not only looks beautiful but will also blow your mind in flavour with the sweet caramel flavoured cake and citrus orange from the buttercream.
I love a layer cake for the holiday season. There is always at least one occasion when you you’ll need to bring out that show stopper and this is one of them. At this time of year, caramel and clementine flavours embody the Christmas season. There’s a double hit of Dulce de Leche in this recipe which gives it such a divine rich, caramel taste, it’s mixed into the sponge but also has a good thick layer in the centre of the cake. Winning!
Clementine zest is added into the swiss meringue buttercream and the citrus flavour compliments the dulche de leche perfectly.
To decorate the cake I sprinkled light crispy Feuilletine flakes from Waitrose & Partners, that add the perfect caramel crunch to the top. Then I decorated with rosemary sprigs and festive dried orange slices.
What's the difference between Dulce de Leche and Caramel?
I’ve heard a lot about Dulce de Leche from my Latin American friends and thought it was about time I tried this delicious sounding sauce. I wasn’t disappointed! For this recipe I used a jar of Dulce de Leche from Waitrose & Partners and all I can say is WOW. It's thick, luxurious, rich and scrumptious. I’m a big fan! If you’ve never tried it before then I urge you to head out, grab yourself a jar and try some.
But for those that are curious, here’s the difference between the two:
Caramel is made quickly in under ten minutes on the stove top using a combination of sugar, butter and cream.
Dulce de Leche, whilst still made on the stove top, is made by slowly boiling a can of condensed milk. This method takes a couple of hours but will turn a beautiful golden brown and thicken into a gorgeous spread.
How to make my Dulce de Leche Clementine Cake
The first step is to make your sponge. For a four layer cake you need a good quantity of batter, so I use the same amount that I would for a sheet cake. Top tip is to cream the butter and sugar for a good 3 to 4 minutes so that the sugar crystals dissolve and the butter aerates. This results in a super fluffy light cake.
The batter gets poured into two 9 inch round cake tins and baked for 55-60 minutes. Once cooled the two cakes are cut in half to create four separate layers.
Instead of a normal buttercream that can be overly sweet with the amount of icing sugar, I used a swiss meringue buttercream instead. If you’ve never made Swiss Meringue Buttercream, your mind will be blown. It's light as air, silky smooth and not too sweet. It carries flavours really well and here I added clementine zest and orange extract.
Once the cake is cooled and cut and the buttercream made, it's time to construct!
To construct this layer cake
Place the first layer on your cake plate. (TIP add a blob of buttercream on the plate and then place the first layer of cake- this will stop the cake from slipping)
Pipe the buttercream starting from the outside of the layer and working your way right to the middle. Then with a palette knife smooth that layer flat.
Add the second layer of sponge. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the sponge (shown in my image above). Fill the inside of the ring with a thick layer of Dulche De Leche and smooth flat.
Add the third layer of sponge and repeat the process of piping a full layer of buttercream and smoothing flat.
Lastly add the final layer of sponge. TIP use one of the bottom layers and flip it over to ensure a totally flat top to your cake.
Pipe buttercream onto the top of the cake and smooth flat with a palette knife. I like the look of a ‘naked’ layer cake which is where there is barely any buttercream on the sides of the cake and the sponge shows through.
Use a palette knife to add as much or as little extra buttercream around the sides of the cake and smooth flat around the sponge. You’ll be able to see all those beautiful flecks of clementine zest.
Finally to decorate, sprinkle a ring of Feuilletine flakes around the edge, then add a ring of rosemary and then dried orange slices.
You are now the proud owner of one divine Dulce de Leche Clementine Cake that not only tastes great but looks fabulous too!
For more cake recipes make sure to checkout the following:
Dulce De Leche Clementine Cake
Dulce de leche sponge
- 240 g unsalted butter , room temperature
- 340 g granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 485 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp fine salt
- ¾ cup Dulche de Leche
- 360 ml whole milk, room temperature
Clementine swiss meringue buttercream
- 5 large egg whites
- 300 g granulated sugar
- 440 g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 3 clementines, zest
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- ½ cup Dulce de Leche
- Dried orange slices
- Rosemary sprigs, optional
- Feuilletine flakes
Dulce de leche sponge
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease x2 23cm (9-inch) round cake tins and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and clementine zest until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating until fully incorporated after each addition. Add vanilla extract and dulche de leche and mix until combined. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Alternating between the flour mixture (3 additions) and the milk (2 additions), mix until fully combined. Make sure to not overbeat.
- Pour the batter into your prepared cake tins and spread out evenly. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the centre comes out clean. If the sponge starts to brown too much, then cover the cake pans with foil. TIP: from 45 minutes keep an eye on the sponge, ovens range in temps. These are thick sponge cakes and require a long time to get the centres baked.
- Remove the pan and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 25 minutes before turning out onto wire racks.
Swiss meringue buttercream
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk until combined. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water ensuring the bowl does not touch the water and whisk the egg whites and sugar continuously until the temperature reaches 70°C (160°F). Sugar granules should feel totally dissolved when mixture is rubbed between finger and thumb.
- Remove from the bowl from the heat and carefully wipe the bottom with a cloth and place on the stand mixer. With the whisk attachment fitted, beat on medium to high until the egg white mixture is completely cool, and the bowl is cool to touch. This can take 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with the paddle attachment. At medium speed, start adding the butter one tablespoon at a time, only adding the next when the butter is fully incorporated. Once completely added then continue to beat for another 3-5 minutes until the mixture is whipped and of thick consistency. Note: if it's lumpy then continue to whip until smooth.
- Add orange extract and clementine zest and whip until fully combined.
- When the cakes are completely cool, if they are domed, then slice the top off to form a level layer. Then slice each cake in half. You’ll be left with four even layers.
- Spoon a blob of buttercream onto your cake plate and place your first sponge cake layer, This will stop it from slipping. Using a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain piping nozzle, pipe the buttercream starting from the outside of the cake round working your way right to the middle. Then with a palette knife smooth that layer flat.
- Add the second layer of sponge. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the sponge only (shown in my image above). Fill the inside of the ring with a thick layer of Dulche De Leche and smooth flat.
- Add the third layer of sponge and repeat the process of piping a full layer of buttercream and smoothing flat.
- Lastly, add the final layer of sponge. TIP: use one of the bottom layers and flip it over to ensure a totally flat top to your cake.
- Pipe buttercream onto the top of the cake and smooth flat with a palette knife. I like the look of a ‘naked’ layer cake which is where there is barely any buttercream on the sides of the cake and the sponge shows through.
- Use a palette knife to add as much or as little extra buttercream around the sides of the cake and smooth flat around the sponge. You’ll be able to see all those beautiful flecks of clementine zest.
- Finally to decorate, sprinkle a ring of Feiuelletine flakes around the edge, then add a ring of rosemary and then dried orange slices.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.