Dulce de Leche Coffee Cake

by Kaylin


The great debate of the early morning vs snoozing in? I personally am an early bird and love getting my day started right after waking up. On weekdays I’m out the door by 5:30 AM for the gym, and working at 8. Weekends I like to really treat myself by sleeping in until 8 (yes that’s quite later for me). But on those weekends, I enjoy that iced coffee or breakfast to tell me to relax on a weekend. One of those is my favorite recipes I created on a whim, it has not dissapointed.

I stumbled upon making this recipe when I notice my makings dulce de leche had piled up in the fridge. I realized I needed to use more than I was planning to and I wanted to have my breakfast for the next day at the ready. I was making brownies while I brainstormed this and it popped in my head as I had my decaf evening coffee…coffee cake!

The fluffy texture of the coffee cake plus the brown sugar, buttery crumbled topping would all blend together beautifully. But a little thing I do ever since I could bake, I ALWAYS put some coffee in my coffee cake. I always thought it had coffee in it, and when I came to the defeating fact that it did not, I was very unsatisfied with this. Over quarantine, I got a lovely espresso machine from Breville that I love very much and it especially comes in good use for this. I put in a double shot of espresso, you can do up to 1/4 cup of liquid coffee in this or 2 tsp of espresso powder.

The all-star ingredient here is of course dulce de leche. It is a translation of caramel or candy of milk. I stock up on sweetened condensed milk for my pantry as it comes in handy for a few things in my kitchen. My boyfriend and I very much enjoy Vietnamese coffee so it’s a staple ingredient. But it’s also great for baking projects. I find dulce de leche very easy to make, it’s so easy you don’t have to open the can to make it! But it is also available in some stores to buy already made.

To make dulce de leche, you need a pot with tall sides whether it be a medium/large saucepan or stockpot. You take the label off of the can and place the can in the pot. Fill it up to 2 inches above the can and have it over medium/medium low heat for 3 hours. I check on it every half hour and lightly top off the water. I have never had a problem with this method, I’ve done it for over a decade and I love the convenience. It’s best to make this a night before using, letting it sit in the fridge to cool and thicken up more is the best stage. I try to do this right after I get home, then I can sit down and relax and when it is eventually bedtime, it’s done and in the fridge.

So to all you early morning peeps, or late night owls, I hope you enjoy making this recipe for whatever occasion. This is even a great late night snacked if you need a sweet tooth fix. Breakfast for dinner (or 2nd dinner) is always a win.

Dulce de Leche Coffee Cake

Serves: 6-8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


Crumb Topping

  • ¾ C All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅔ C Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted Butter, Softened

Coffee Cake

  • 1 Stick (8 tbsp or 4oz) Unsalted Butter, Softened, Plus More for Pan Greasing
  • 1 C Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, Room Temp
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • ¼ C Coffee in Liquid Form (I made Espresso)
  • ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 C All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C Sour Cream or Full-Fat Yogurt
  • 1 Can Dulce de Leche, Divided in ½



Medium Bowls, Stand Mixer/Hand Mixer, Square Cake Pan, Parchment Paper, Whisk, Pastry Cutter (Optional), Toothpick/Fork, Cooling Rack, Serrated Knife.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C. Grease a 9x9 pan with enough butter to cover the bottom and all sides. Add in your parchment paper and grease that for easier removal of your cake.
  2. For your crumb topping, in a medium bowl add all ingredients except butter. Use a fork or whisk to mix together until combined. Cut butter in small squares and toss into dry ingredient bowl. Use hands or pastry cutter to mix the butter well and form it into medium clumps. Wash hands and set the bowl aside.
  3. For your cake batter, in a medium bowl add your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, giving it a quick whisk with a fork or whisk. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer or large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Results should be a fluffy consistency. 
  5. Reduce speed to medium-low and add 1 egg at a time to ensure the batter is fully mixed through. Add vanilla to the batter.
  6. Remaining on a medium-low speed, have your dry ingredient bowl and sour cream/yogurt at the ready. You will add your flour in 3 batches (eyeball it, just don't dump it all at once), alternate starting with dry, combine and add a little yogurt. You can stop in between to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure ingredients are combined. 
  7. Once all dry ingredients and dairy have been added, finish with adding your coffee into the batter for a final mix.
  8. Divide your batter in 1/2. Add the first half to the greased pan and stop. Take 1/2 cup of your crumb topping and 1/2 of your dulce de leche to sprinkle on top of the batter. The dulce de leche doesn't have to be even. Then resume by adding the rest of your batter on top. Finish with the rest of the crumb coating, then remaining dulce de leche.
  9. Place in the oven for 55 minutes, a good checkpoint. To test with a toothpick or fork, if sticky or crumby texture sticks, it is not done and go for another 5-10 minutes, or until it comes out clean.
  10. Turn off the oven and remove the cake from the oven. Place on a cooling rack and let sit for at least 20 minutes in the pan. This will be a heavier cake and we want it to cool before we try to lift it out.
  11. After cooling in the pan, grab parchment edges and gently lift (you can take a butter knife and lightly graze the edges just to loosen the cake a bit, it won't be stuck to parchment but it relaxes it for easier removal).
  12. Serve warmed.


For storing: cut up into slices or wrap the whole coffee cake in a layer of plastic wrap and store in a large Ziploc bag. Stores up in refrigerator for up to a week. 1 month in the freezer.

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