Ever tasted a Dominican cake? If you are Dominican, then of course. If you have Dominican friends, then of course. But what are the key ingredients behind the delicious, massive confection? And what actually goes into the thickly layered icing the cakes are best known for?
We did a little digging to find out.
Below are the things you definitely should know about Dominican cakes - so you will never have to question it again.
Some of the quotes in this piece appear on the April 2013 issue of Latina Magazine.
1. Dominican Cakes: Vanilla
The Key Ingredient
The secret ingredient dropped within most Dominican-made cakes is Dominican vanilla. Carlos Torentino, manager of New York City's Pasteleria Nitin, says the extract is “behind the cake’s amazing flavor.” “The vanilla extract they make in the U.S. is different than the ones from the Dominican Republic,” he adds.
2. Dominican Cakes: Pineapple
The most popular filling in a Dominican cake is made from pineapple. Angela Rosario, owner of Angela’s Bakery in Brooklyn, NY, sums it up nicely: “Some filling flavors used are pineapple, guava, and tres leches.” She adds that strawberry filling isn’t as popular in her native Dominican Republic.
3. Dominican Cakes: Tiers
Tiers – Many Tiers
Okay, this isn’t a cake. It’s actually an Egyptian pyramid, but a Dominican cake boasts many tiers like pyramids do. The greater the occasion and the more guests you have, the more tiers your Dominican cake will have. Trust us - you can almost climb these things.
4. Dominican Cakes: Measuring Cups
If one of your measurements is off while piecing together a Dominican cake, it can throw off the whole thing. You don't want that to happen. “You have to do exactly what the recipe calls for and follow the measurements precisely,” Angela Rosario of Brooklyn’s Angela’s Bakery explains.
5. Dominican Cakes: Butter
Plenty of Butta’
We can’t forget the use of butter in Dominican cakes. We’re talking gargantuan amounts here. Danelia Jaquez, owner of Miami-based bakery Dominican Cakes, says the cake is based in butter, along with eggs, milk, flour – all of the best quality. “You have a little bite and it makes you want to have more,” she says.
6. Dominican Cakes: Bear Cake
Icing Like No Other
A Dominican cake isn’t a Dominican cake unless it is heavily coated with suspiro. Jose Velazquez, a baker for Gladis Homemade Cakes in Weehawken, New Jersey, describes the meringue frosting as the cake’s “biggest distinction” from other cakes. “It’s made with egg whites and sugar – it tastes better,” he says. “You have to really taste it to know what I’m talking about.”
7. Dominican Cakes: Balloons
This special cake is fit for all kinds of occasion. Your son turned 1? Let’s get a Dominican cake. Your mom finally got her papers and is arriving to the U.S.? A cake to celebrate. What to savor for Paola and John’s wedding? Forget the cake the venue comes with, we’re getting a Dominican cake. It's final.
8. Dominican Cakes: Shapes
Comes in All Shapes
If you want a classic box-shaped Dominican cake, we got you. You want a rectangle? We got that. What about a bear? We got that too. “You can make a media luna shape, the half-moon. You can make doll-shaped cakes, heart-shaped cakes,” Rosario says. “You can make huge wedding cakes – however people bring their designs is how we make them. The most popular are the round ones, the three-tiered or four-tiered ones.” So go ahead, let your imagination run its course – the Dominican cake-makers will figure something out.