Snowball Cake with Dulce de Leche

I am blessed to have a family that loves to cook. There isn't a family member who sits on the sidelines. Everybody takes part! On a recent trip home, my daughter determined that she wanted to try to replicate a cake that she had sampled from Bakery Nouveau in Seattle. She had served it at his birthday party. She said it was marvelous, to die for, delicious, and maybe a few other adjectives!

I had been to Bakery Nouveau with my daughter and son-in-law and had seen their luscious desserts. I had sampled some of their wonderful sandwiches. Let me take you inside so that you can see....

There isn't anything that one does not like in this bakery. So, she wanted to replicate a hard could that be? "Not hard," said she. It was coconut. It was like a big snowball. It had layers and between the layers was dulce de leche. It can't be hard. She found a few recipes for coconut cake. She analyzed, he wasn't sure. She wanted to make the cake. He thought we should try to find something else. She really wanted coconut cake! "Trust me," said she. "We will do it," said he.

Snowball Cake with Dulce de Leche
adapted from Baking in American by Greg Patent

Makes one 9 inch two layer cake, 12-16 servings

3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure coconut extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
8 large egg whites (6 whites in one bowl; the remaining two in another)
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well before measuring

4 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt 1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp water
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure coconut extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

Adjust oven rack to lower third position, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment. Butter the paper and dust the bottoms of the pans with flour.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the coconut extract and vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Beat in 1 1/4 more cups of the sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, beating for 20 to 30 seconds after each addition, then beat for 5 minutes. Add 2 of the egg whites and beat on low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

On low speed, add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour and beating only until smooth after each addition.

In a large bowl with clean beaters, beat the remaining 6 egg whites on medium speed until they form very soft peaks that droop at their tips. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in 4 installments, beating for about 10 seconds between additions, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the whites are thick and shiny like marshmallow cream and form peaks with lightly drooping points. With a large rubber spatula, transfer about one fourth of the whites to the batter. Gently fold in the whites, using 6 or 7 broad strokes; do not be too thorough. Gently fold in the remaining whites in 3 additions. Carefully divide the batter between the two pans, handling it as gently as possible. To level the batter, rotate the pans briskly on the countertop.

Bake for 35 minutes to 40 minutes, until the layers are golden brown and just beginning to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around the layers to release them from the pans. Cover the pans with wire racks and invert. Carefully lift off the pans and the papers, then replace the papers on the layers. Cover the cakes with other racks, invert, and cool completely right side up.

Place one of the cooled cake layers upside down on a cake plate and remove the paper; set aside.

Place the dulce de leche in a saucepan fill the saucepan with water about 1/3 of the way up the can. Warm the dulce de leche until it is spreadable.

For the icing, you'll need to construct a large water bath using a medium saucepan set in a large deep saute pan. Put about 2 inches of water in the larger pan and set it over moderate heat. When the water is hot, combine the egg whites, salt, corn syrup, water, and confectioners' sugar in the saucepan. Set the pan in the hot water bath and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 to 6 minutes, until the icing forms stiff peaks when the beaters are raised. Immediately remove the pan from the water bath and scrape the icing into a large bowl. Add both extracts and beat the icing on high speed until it is very thick, like a stiff meringue. You must use the icing right away; work quickly.

Spread the warm the dulce de leche over the cake layer on the cake plate.

Place the second cake layer right side up on top of the coconut icing.

Stir the icing to make sure it is perfectly smooth and spread a thick layer over the sides of the cake. Spread the remaining icing on top. Sprinkle 1/2 cup coconut on top of the cake. Using the palm of one hand, press the remaining 1 1/4 cups coconut all over the sides.

Let stand for about 1 hour (or up to 8 hours) before serving. To serve, rinse a knife in hot water and shake off the excess water before making each cut.


For myself, I am so glad they decided to make this cake. Coconut is one of my all time favorite flavors, the frosting is one that I rarely make and the dulce de leche filling, well....

This was an absolutely delicious cake! One worthy of a special occasion.

I love to cook with my family...but in this case, I watched!


  1. 'he' would like to wage a complaint that he isn't introduced. For all my mom's readers, 'he' is my husband, K. :-)

  2. OMG! That's a BEAUTIFUL, gorgeous cake!! Kudos to the 2 talented bakers!

  3. Beautiful snowball cake and I especially like the camellia with it. Gorgeous presentation.

  4. Does it even have to be delicious? It reminds me of that commercial"Don't hate me because I am beautiful:)"~!

  5. Yes, 'he' is my wonderful son-in-law, my cooking buddy! His mention was deleted along with an awkward sentence, my apologies! :) Cooking together is always a highlight of their visits!

  6. That's the most delicious cake I've seen in a very long time. I'm going to have to break down and make this because I am a coconut addict. My birthday is coming up - I'll make it for me. Now that's a present.

  7. Wow--what a cake, I would have to steal it, hide it and eat it all alone!

  8. Your cake looks amazing! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. This is a beautiful photograph of a gorgeous cake. I'll bet it was just wonderful.

  10. Kate, this reminds me of the coconut cake I grew up with, but all grown up with its dulce de leche filling! How much dulce de leche do you need for it?

    I love the story, with its 'he' and 'she'. It was sweet and touching.

  11. That cake is gorgeous! And I would never have thought to use dulce de leche as a filling- can't imagine why because I adore it. All by itself!
    Thanks for the super idea!

  12. That is a beautiful cake!!
    No more goodies here for awhile..:(

  13. @Kate -- we just spread a reasonably thick layer (~1.5-2 cm) over the cake. That took most of one Nestle can. There was some left over that we reserved for the cooks. :) Kathy suggested that "... it be thick enough that you would know that you had had some."

  14. That is one gorgeous fact one amazing cake. And I bet it was delicious too!

  15. Oh. My. Goodness. This is gorgeous! I can't even imagine just how wonderful it tasted! I'd like to make some cupcakes like this! :)

  16. Kevin, thanks for the clarification. We don't have dulce de leche here, so I wasn't sure how much you used. It's on my 'travel' shopping list!


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