Dominican cake is part of most especial events celebrated by Dominican families like birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, etc. It's characterized by its moist texture, fluffy meringue frosting and its traditional pineapple marmalade filling.
What makes a cake "Dominican"?
A Dominican cake, just like most butter cakes, has the usual ingredients; flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc. There are a few ways to make Dominican cake since every baker has their own "personal touch," but the most important steps are always the same. What makes a cake "Dominican" it's the way that the ingredients are put together, the amount of the ingredients used, and the inclusion of key indispensible ingredients.
The recipe calls for exact amounts of flour, sugar, and butter. Also eggs, a cup of liquid; this is where bakers get creative by adding milk, orange juice, or pineapple juice. Finally, the flavoring which consists of vanilla, rum and lime zest. The vanilla extract made in the U.S. is different than the ones from the Dominican Republic, so I use imported vanilla for a more authentic flavor. Same thing with the rum, my rum of choice it's always Dominican-made like Brugal.
A common way to describe Dominican cake is by "pound". A pound of Dominican cake means that the baker used 1 pound of flour, sugar and butter to make the cake. It yields about 25 to 30 servings depending on the size of your serving portions. Some people get this term confused thinking that the finished cake itself weighs 1 pound when in fact, after the cake has been torted, filled and frosted it may weigh up to 5 lbs.
The traditional filling for a Dominican cake is pineapple marmalade, however there are other popular fillings like guava, dulce de leche and crema pastelera (pastry cream). It's good to note that the subtle vanilla flavor of this cake lends itself to any filling your heart desires.
Lastly but definitely not least, Dominican cake has the distinctive icing called "suspiro" which is a variation of Italian meringue made with egg whites and sugar. This is the most recognizable feature of a Dominican cake and its taste is like no other.
The following recipe is my take on Dominican cake, it has worked very well for me. I hope you are able to try it and enjoy it as much as my family and clients do.
Dominican Cake Recipe
1lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 lb (2 cups) sugar
10 large eggs (5 egg yolks + 5 whole eggs at room temperature)
1lb (3 cups) self rising flour
1 cup milk (room temperature)
1 tbsp Dominican vanilla (preferably white)
1/2 tbsp dark rum
zest from 1 lime (optional)
1. pre-heat oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. grease two 9" or 10" round pans
3. cream butter in electric mixer on 2 speed and "shower" sugar in slowly. Once all the sugar is in turn mixer to 4 speed and mix until light and fluffy (about 7-10 min)
4. add egg yolks one at a time making sure each one is mixed in completely before adding the next one. Continue with the whole eggs the same way. Turn mixer off once all eggs have been incorporated
5. turn mixer on "Stir"add flour and milk alternating starting and ending with the flour. DO NOT OVERMIX
6. turn machine off before the last flour addition is completely mixed in and add vanilla and rum (also add the zest at this point of you choose). Mix on stir for 30 seconds
7. divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 35 minutes. Do not open oven door before the first 25-30 minutes so the cake doesn't collapse. To check if the cake is done insert a toothpick right in the middle, if it comes out clean the cake is done. Let the cake cool before removing from the pan and place on cooling rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.