Hello friends! Today we are making a super special cake to me! It was my birthday last week and I made this Dulce de Leche Mocha Cake to celebrate!
Layers of Chocolate Cake, filled with Dulce de Leche, frosted with a Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and topped with a delicious Chocolate Ganache.
Also, make sure to watch the video on this page or on Youtube, showing you exactly how I made each step of this cake! Well, except for the dulce de leche.
I didn’t record how I made my homemade dulce de leche. You can either use store-bought dulce de leche, or make your own.
Making your own dulce de leche is super easy! All you need is a can of condensed milk!
How to make homemade dulce de leche
Simply start with a can of condensed milk. Here are some options:
- Oven– Pour the inside of the condensed milk can in an oven-proof pan, and bake over a water bath for about 2-3 hours, stirring in between, covered with foil, at 350F.
- Stove top– Use a regular large pot, filled with water, and make sure the can will be submerged the whole time. Boil the sealed can for about 2 1/2 hours. Let the can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.
- Pressure cooker– This is the fastest way, and my favorite. Place the sealed can in a pressure cooker full of water, covering the can by at least 2 inches. Cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and let can and water both cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.
In all three methods, the longer you cook, the thicker the dulce de leche will be.
Regardless of the method you choose to make your dulce de leche, make sure to always let it cool down before handling it. And leave it in the fridge for a few hours before piping so dulce de leche will be cold and have proper texture.
Covering our delicious Dulce de Leche Mocha Cake, we have a Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Here are some tips for making the buttercream:
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Not cold, and not too warm. It has to still be sturdy, without losing its shape, but not chilled.
- Heat the egg whites and sugar to 140ºF so the egg whites are safe to be consumed.
- Whip the meringue to stiff peaks. Make absolute sure it’s been whipped to stiff peaks.
If the buttercream is soupy and not coming together, it could be because of two reasons: the meringue wasn’t stiff enough, for which there is no fixing. Or because the butter was too soft. If the case is that the butter was too soft, you can place the bowl of buttercream in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes, and try to whip the cream after that, and see if it comes to the right consistency.
And if the butter is cold, it won’t incorporate into the buttercream, and will leave little lumps of butter in your frosting.
Another important thing to discuss is the ganache. Here are some tips on how to make the best ganache drip for our Dulce de Leche Mocha Cake:
- Don’t overheat the cream and chocolate, or the ganache will separate.
- Make sure the ganache is at room temperature.
- Test if it’s dripping nicely on the back of the cake, or the side of a bowl.
- If the ganache is dripping too slowly, or not dripping at all, insert it in the microwave for a few seconds (2 to 3 seconds).
- Use a spoon or a piping bag (watch the video to see how I did it).
Here are some product recommendations for making this cake, my favorite dulce de leche brands, and the crispearls used for the top of the cake. Click the images below to be directed to the products on Amazon.
Dulce de Leche (the BEST in the world)
The mini crispearls I got at a website called Flour Confections (not affiliate).
Here are some more desserts you might enjoy, between cakes, and other dulce de leche goodies:
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
- Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cake
- Dulce de Leche Vanilla Cake
- Dulce de Leche fudge (pictured in the photos in this post)
- Alfajor Cookies
- Walnut Chocolate Cake
I hope you enjoyed today’s post and my Dulce de Leche Mocha Cake! Thank you for being here!
Click here to watch the video on Youtube.
Dulce de Leche Mocha Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 183 grams, 5.4 oz
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 39 grams, 1.38 oz
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 113 grams, 4 oz
- 1 cups sugar 200 grams, 7 oz
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk 157 ml
- 2/3 cup hot brewed coffee 157 ml (or hot water read notes*)
Dulce de Leche
- 2-14 oz cans of condensed milk to make dulce de leche
- Or about 1 1/2 cups of store-bought dulce de leche for the filling and frosting
Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 2 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (56 grams, 1/3 cup)
- 20 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature (283 grams, 10 oz)
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar 200 grams, 7 oz
- 1/4 cup Dulce de Leche store-bought or homemade, recipe above
- 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
- 2/3 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (113 grams, 4 oz)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream 78 ml
- 1 tsp Kahlua optional
- This recipe makes for 4-6” round cakes, or 2-8” round cakes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350Fº.
- Butter 4-6″ cake pans and place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of pans. Butter parchment. You can also use spray oil instead. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder, if using it instead of the coffee. Set aside.
- Cream the butter at medium-high speed for 1 minute.
- Add sugar slowly, cream for another 2 minutes.
- Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, scraping the bowl in between and making sure the first egg is incorporated before adding the second one.
- Add vanilla extract and mix.
- Slowly add milk, mix to combine.
- Pour dry ingredients over wet mixture.
- Fold with a spatula slowly, until ingredients are just combined.
- If you see big clumps of cocoa powder, you can use the whisk to try to gently smooth the batter out.
- Once batter is incorporated, pour hot coffee in the bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Pour batter evenly onto baking pans.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 15-20 min. After the 12 minute mark, keep checking regularly, because you don’t want to burn your cakes or over bake them. Remove them from the oven once a toothpick comes our clean once inserted in the cake.
- Once you remove it from the oven, wait 10 minutes, flip cakes onto a cookie cooling rack and let cakes cool.
Once cool, wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to leave my layers in the fridge for quite a bit so they can firm up and make it easier to assemble and decorate the cake.
Dulce de Leche
You can use pre-made dulce de leche, or make it at home. To make dulce de leche at home, you take many different approaches.
My favorite way to make dulce de leche starts with an unopened can of condensed milk. Place the sealed can in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover it plus at least 2 inches.
- Then, bring the water to a boil and cook under pressure for 35 minutes.
Let the pressure release naturally and let the condensed milk can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can. You can cook 2 cans at the same time.
- When you open the can, it will be a thick darkened caramel inside.
Place the contents in a container and put it in the fridge until cold and firm.
Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Remove the butter from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before you start to make this recipe (depending on how warm the kitchen is). We are looking for the perfect butter temperature and consistency. It shouldn’t be hard cold, and it shouldn’t be so soft that is almost melting or losing shape. Cut the butter into thin slabs and set aside.
Melt the chocolate or chocolate chips in a small bowl by microwaving it for 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Let it cool until no longer warm.
- Meanwhile, put the whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl.
- Place the bowl on top of a small pot with simmering water.
- Whisk the whites and sugar until they temp 140 Fahrenheit. Basically you are looking to melt the sugar granules, and also make it so the egg white is in a safe temperature to be consumed.
- Once you achieve that temperature, transfer the syrup to your mixer bowl.
- Whip with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes at medium speed, until the mixture looks white, and thicker. At this point, raise speed to high and continue to whip until fluffy and doubled in size. The meringue should have stiff peaks. It can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to obtain stiff peaks.
- Stop the mixer and check the peaks, so you don’t over whip it.
- Once the peaks are stiff, start adding the butter that should be slightly softened.
- Add one slab of butter at a time.
- Wait for one piece of butter to be incorporated before adding the next one.
- This whole process could take about 15 minutes. At this point, the buttercream should be thick with a frosting consistency. If not, refer to the troubleshooting below on the notes.
- Once the butter is all incorporated add the dulce de leche, melted chocolate, and espresso powder to the buttercream.
- Then beat for another minute or until completely incorporated.
Make ahead: This frosting can sit at room temperature for up to 1 day. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer, for up to 2 months. Remember to package it really well in sealed air tight containers, or in a zip loc bag, before freezing.
To use it again, simply let it thaw until it comes to room temperature and beat it briefly to make it creamy again.
Place one layer of cake on a plate.
Pipe a ring of frosting around the edges of the cake.
Spread about 1/3 cup of dulce de Leche in the middle of the cake (depends on what size cake you’ve baked. I like a very thick layer, and I used about 1/3 cup on my 6 inch cake)
- Top with another cake.
- Pipe a ring of frosting around the edges of the cake, fill it with dulce de leche. Keep doing this until you reach the last cake layer.
- Frost the cake with a thin layer of Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream, to seal the crumbs of cake in, this is called Crumb Coating.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the crumb coating has a chance to set.
- Frost with a thick layer of Dulce de Leche Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Place the cake back in the fridge for at least 1 hour before doing the ganache drip on top of the cake. While the cake chills you can make the ganache.
- Chop the chocolate finely and place it in a bowl. You can also use chocolate chips instead.
- Heat the heavy cream until it almost comes to a boil.
- Take it off the heat. Pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute.
- Use a whisk to gently mix the heavy cream and chocolate until all the chocolate melts, and the mixture is smooth without any chocolate lumps.
- If you still see chocolate lumps in, place the bowl in the microwave for a few seconds.
- Don’t mix the ganache too much, because if you add too much air to it, it will have air bubbles when you pour it over the cake.
- Let the ganache cool down to room temperature. You are looking for the perfect dripping consistency, not too cooled down, but not warm either. You can test this by pouring one drop on the side of a bowl, or on the back of the cake, and watching how the drop falls. If it takes forever to roll down the side of the bowl/cake, then the ganache might be too hard. In this case, place it in the microwave for JUST a few seconds (literally 2-3 seconds), and stir. Test again. Repeat until the drop of ganache is slowly but effortlessly dripping a few inches down and stopping.
To do the Ganache Drip
Place the room temperature ganache in a piping bag and snip a small tip at the end with scissors.
- Pour the ganache around the edges of the top of the cake, letting it drip nicely down the sides. Then pipe some ganache on top of the cake. Use a spatula to spread it and smooth it out. Place the cake back in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight before cutting and serving.
After the ganache was cold, I topped the cake with a drizzle of Dulce de Leche, and Callebaut crispearls.
- Keep the cake refrigerated, preferably covered so it doesn’t dry out, for up to 4 days.
Chocolate cake: feel free to use hot water instead of coffee. You can also add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the cake batter if you want to enhance the chocolate flavor, the coffee helps bring out the richness in the chocolate.
Cake layers: the layers of the 6″ cake will be thin, and that’s because when you stack them, they can’t be too high, or the cake will be too hard to style and decorate.
Dulce de Leche: any leftover dulce de leche you might have will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months, or in the fridge for 1 week to 10 days. And I have a lot of Dulce de Leche recipes here.
Buttercream: if the buttercream isn’t coming together and is soupy, it could be that you didn’t whip the meringue to stiff peaks, or that the butter was too soft. If the butter was too soft, you can insert the bowl with the buttercream in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, and go back to whipping. If the case was that the meringue wasn’t stiff enough, there’s no way of fixing it. Read the post above for more information and troubleshooting.
Kahlua: the Kahlua in the ganache is optional, you can also add some to the Buttercream for more coffee flavor.