A phioto showing a dulce de leche cake on a pink cake stand with a piece being removed. The cake is covered in sugar shards

Dulce de Leche Cake

A moist vanilla cake filled with silky dulce de leche and covered in show stopping sugar shards.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 273 kcal
Author John Kanell


For the Cake

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain yogurt whole milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp bourbon

For the Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp bourbon you can use vanilla instead if preferred

For the filling

  • 26 oz dulce de leche

For the Shards

  • cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar


For the Sugar Shards

  1. Line 2 edged baking sheets with tin foil.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir and bring to a boil.
  3. Set a candy thermometer over the edge of the pan and continue cooking at medium heat until the mixture reaches 300F. This takes about an hour so be patient.
  4. Remove from heat and slowly pour onto the lined pans. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes then crack the sugar with a wooden spoon until you have pieces at the desired size.

For the Cake

  1. Butter and flour 3 eight inch pans. I use cake strips on my pans for more even baking as well. Preheat oven to 340F
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time while mixing then add in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Don't worry if the mixture isn't totally homogenous.
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Use a spatula to give the bowl a scrape and a final mix.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans
  6. Bake at 340 for about 30-35 minutes or until the centers are springy to the touch.

For the Buttercream

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, salt and bourbon and mix.

For the Assembly

  1. Pipe a circle of buttercream around the edge of the first layer. Fill center with dulce de leche and place next layer on top. Repeat.
  2. Cover outside with buttercream and smooth.
  3. Place sugar shards on the outside and serve.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you can't find dulce de leche just boil a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot with an inch of water for about an hour. 

To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set on the shop page or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!

Nutrition Facts
Dulce de Leche Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 273 Calories from Fat 95
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10.6g 16%
Saturated Fat 5.8g 29%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.2g
Cholesterol 74.3mg 25%
Sodium 224mg 9%
Potassium 89mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 39g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g 1%
Sugars 30g
Protein 7.4g 15%
Vitamin A 7.7%
Vitamin C 0.6%
Calcium 16.6%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.