photo: Instagram/zoesweettreats
Anyone who’s had Dominican cake understands all the hype that surrounds it. Even if you’re on a sugar fast, you won’t turn down a piece of this delicious bizcocho. There’s really nothing else quite like it. Everything about it is unique, from the airy and moist yellow cake, to the fruit filling (usually guava or pineapple), and the meringue icing that taste so sweet, you’d think it was made in heaven. It’s no wonder it appeals to so many people, not just Dominicans.

“Dominican cake is really popular because people like it’s soft yet resistant texture,” says Ana Baez, the founder behind Zoe Sweet Treat, a Dominican cakes and treats business in Long Island, NY. “Most of my clients aren’t even Dominican. They are from all over.” 

If you’re curious about what actually goes into all this goodness, hang tight! Baez shared with us some of the secrets that go behind this traditional Dominican dessert. 

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What are the most important ingredients?

Dominican cake, relleno d pina y dulce d leche, butter cream ????????

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“The key ingredients used in Dominican cake are vanilla extract and rum,” says Baez, who specifically uses black Dominican vanilla extract and Dominican Brugal rum to give it that unique and distinct taste.

How do you get the yellow cake so moist?

Antes y despues, Dominican cake, pina, butter cream

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“The secret is in the batter mix,” says Baez. "When you are combining the butter with the sugar, you must make sure that the sugar is mixed in well, until it starts to decrystalize.” The ingredients she uses to make the yellow cake (a.k.a masa) are butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla extract, and rum. 

How do you make the masa?

Dominican cake dulce d leche

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“First you whip the butter, then slowly mix in the sugar, add the eggs one at a time, then alternate mixing the ingredients with the milk,” says Baez. “At the end you’ll add the vanilla extract along with the rum." 

What’s the secret to the fruit filling?

Most Dominican cakes use either guava or pineapple for the filling. “The secret is to use 100 percent natural fruits to keep the filling as fresh as possible,” says Baez. For guava filling, she chops up fresh guayabas and cooks it with two cinnamon sticks, four cups of water, and a cup of brown sugar on a pan over the stove in medium heat. She cooks until the guava becomes soft and the liquid has come out and turned into a jam. She does the same with pineapple.

How do you make the dulce de leche filling?

Most people that make Dominican cake use the good ol' boiling a can trick, which usually entails boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk (with the label removed) in a pot of water. But Baez has a much easier tip which gives her very similar results. “I buy a can of already made dulce de leche, pour it into a pot over medium heat, and slowly add heavy cream until it reaches the thick, creamy consistency that I want.”

What’s the trick behind the frosting?

Totally in love

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Baez uses egg whites, sugar, and a couple of drops of lemon to create the meringue icing. She beats the egg whites for a minute or so at medium speed, until they becomes white. She puts that aside and mixes the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat to create the caramel. Once the caramel has turned a light brown color, she whisks it in a bowl with the egg whites until it turns into a white, airy frosting.