Cajeta Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

cajeta cake (10 of 3)

This week I finished the second round of edits on my new book. That’s about halfway through the process, but it still felt like a reason to celebrate. I like to celebrate, even the small stuff. Why wait? Celebrate along the way, since the process is the whole reason I do this. Cake seemed the right way to mark the moment. A slightly-over-the-top cajeta cake at that. Piping icing into flowers is a zen moment for me, it’s how I relax and the results are so satisfying.

The inside of this cajeta cake is a collection of things I had stocked up in my freezer, because I always feel a little more secure knowing there is a cake just a thaw away. I typically bake extra cake layers and make more buttercream than I need for a single cake, then I freeze them. This may be a result of years in the catering world, when a rush order would come in and we’d have to create something in minutes, not hours. Cake and buttercream freeze like a dream.

cajeta cake slice (9 of 2)

The cake is chocolate, the buttercream I flavored with cinnamon and for the filling I made cajeta flavored mascarpone cream. Cajeta is often called “Mexican Caramel,” even though it’s not really caramel at all, but a reduction of goat milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda. You cook it low and slow for a couple of hours until it is both the color and consistency of caramel. The baking soda (an alkaline) reacts with the milk (slightly acidic) and it quickly darkens. Without the addition of baking soda the milk/sugar would have to actually caramelize (burn) to darken and that’s not what we want. You can watch me make the cajeta cake in my instagram stories.

Cajeta has an earthy flavor that I love, but it definitely tastes of goat milk. It is related to the dulce de leche and is made in the exact same way, so you can swap out the cajeta for the cow milk version if you’re not a fan of goat milk. Or, you can combine the two types of milk to mellow out the flavor a bit. You decide.

Dulce de Leche and Cajeta
Dulce de Leche and Cajeta
cajeta cake slice (8 of 2)
Cajeta Cake with cinnamon buttercream

Cajeta Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Often called "Mexican caramel," cajeta is rich and flavorful, although it isn't truly caramel. Regardless, it works perfectly with chocolate cake, cinnamon buttercream and some mascarpone cream.
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Ingredients

Ganache

  • 10 oz cream
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate

Cajeta or Dulce de Leche

  • 1 quart goat or cow milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Cajeta or Dulce de Leche Filling

Instructions

Ganache

  • Heat cream to simmer, pour over bittersweet chocolate and stir gently. Let set until room temperature.

Cajeta or Dulce de Leche

  • Simmer the milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until sugar melts.
  • Add the baking soda and continue simmering until the mixture is thick and deep caramel color, stirring often. This can take up to 2 hours.

Cajeta or Dulce de Leche Filling

  • Whip ingredients to medium peaks in a stand mixer fitted with whip attachment.
  • Head to my Instagram videos to watch me assemble the cake.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3 thoughts to “Cajeta Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream”

  1. What a beautiful recipe. And just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Can’t wait to try it. Thank you.

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